Idle worship

2 Kings 17, Micah 6

The shouting is getting louder.

It’s the battle cry of the opposition.  They’ll tell you to your face they don’t oppose you, but to their friends and behind your backs, to the anonymous commentators on various news stories, they’ll sneer and shout and curse the Lord. They’ll call His Son a fake, the Bible allegorical or pure fiction, and prayer an exercise of delusion.

It’s possible that the proportion of Christians to otherwise hasn’t changed in a long time, but it’s true that it’s getting easier to hear the hostile crowd surrounding us.

But we do nothing about it — we go home and tell our family that the “enemy” is everywhere, and we go to church and worship God and listen to a pastor talk about the Bible, and we go about the week ignoring the accusations.

And we should indeed ignore the accusations. But instead of addressing the problem head-on, we return to our “high places”, sacrificing unto our false gods — ourselves.

We’ve stood by too long. Want to calm the crowds a bit?  Get down and do something. The Bible gives us a convenient little list:

Do justly

We have to be consistent. The best way to paint a picture of Christ with our lives is by doing exactly what He said: loving others, aspiring to serve one another (we should LEAP at opportunities!), and obeying what He says. This must be habitual, and it must be authentic. Christians are becoming known by reputation as pretentious and false, and it’s not just because of people on TV. We must reverse this immediately by the example of our lives.

Love mercy

Humanity allows me to be quite a nasty person, at the core.  For example, I like it when the good guy wins, but I really like it when the bad guy is utterly humiliated.

However, we’re asked to be the opposite: we should not only exercise mercy, whereas we perhaps show empathy for the “bad guy”, but we should LOVE it.  This is downright impossible without the Spirit, which is great, because we get to showcase God to others in a manner seen too infrequently.

Walk humbly with your God

“Humbly” implies subservience. I don’t think anyone can possibly be too humble, and it is always an effective method for demonstrating what God — the God that we serve — looks like.

I think the problem is that we get too busy to serve others.  We find other diversions and realign our priorities, making our way back up to those “high places,” continuing our pattern of consumption and ignoring opportunities to love others.

Please, go to church, and worship the Lord. But when you’re not at church, don’t be afraid to do justly, love mercy, and walk it out. It might mean you have to let go of a few things, but the impact will be profound, and perhaps the shouting will quiet a bit.

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