How many times do we shout and scream in our churches that God is good all the time and all the time God is good? The irony is that as we jump and shout and clap, deep down our hearts we are not experiencing the goodness of God. We are bitter, depressed, broke, sad, angry, anxious and dejected. Why?
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This is because we don’t believe what we say. Most of what we say is based on head knowledge which has nothing to do with our beliefs or faith. Most of us live very desperate lives, yet we go to church every Sunday and we shout the right slogans and quote the right scriptures.
We should know that we don’t believe with our mind, but with our hearts (Romans 10:10). We need to reconcile what we confess with what we believe. Otherwise, we are just shouting empty slogans in church and reciting scriptures without experiencing the goodness of God.
The children of Israel refused to believe God’s word and did not trust His salvation, hence they failed to enter into His rest (Hebrews 3: 16-19). One of the basic fundamental beliefs every believer ought to have is about the goodness of God and His immeasurable love for them. Paul prays for the Ephesians that they would be able “..to comprehend the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:18).
God’s love is not one dimensional. How can we know the love of Christ, if it passes knowledge? The key to opening this mystery is to understand that there are different kinds of knowledge. There is mere intellectual knowledge and then there is an experiential knowledge. Paul is saying if we would experience God’s love in an experiential way, it would pass mere intellectual knowledge.
It is very sad to note that most of us have no idea about how much God loves us. The problem is that we look at our shortcomings and faults, instead of focusing on God’s love for us. Christ died for us while we were still sinners. His death had nothing to do with our good works or righteousness. It was through His grace and love for us.
Unfortunately religion has misrepresented God and told us exactly the opposite of who He is. We are told that unless you pay your tithes, He will curse you; unless you pray and fast, your life will remain miserable. While it is good to give to the Lord and pay tithes or pray and fast, that is not what will earn your salvation.
Most ministers of the gospel preach more about sin and not the love of God. Consequently, most people are more conscious of sin than the love of God. They live condemned lives, contrary to what the Bible says about a born again believer.
This is why I hate religion. Religion can’t stand the revelation of God’s goodness. Religion doesn’t value man. Christianity is not a religion. Religion is what man thinks he can do for God. Christianity is what God has done for man. In order for God to have created the world, all He had to do was to speak words. But to redeem man, God had to bleed.
That speaks commitment. God so loved the world that the He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Most of us have really taken this scripture for granted and yet it is super loaded with God’s love.
From God’s perspective, we were worthy everything that He had to pay to redeem us. This is the God who holds the whole universe in the “palm of his hand” and yet had to humble Himself and enter into a physical body for 33 years in order to redeem mankind.
This is a God, who walked with people He created but they did not accept Him. Instead, they hurled insults at Him and spat at Him. He could have called 10 000 angels and these unrepentant thugs could have been reduced to ashes within a split second. Yet, He never defended Himself. Why? The answer is in Hebrews 12:2 “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…” His focus was on you and I being delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light and He said it was worth the pain and suffering. Oh what a friend we have in Jesus! Thank you Lord.
The value of a thing is determined by how much one is willing to pay for it. I have seen people buy some antique goods for ridiculous amounts of money because they believe that it was worthy the value. I was shocked to see 18th century Chinese rhinoceros horn cups going for $1,8 million and people buying that because they believed it was worth it.
God Almighty thought we were so valuable and awesome that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. He counted us that precious and valuable.
Unfortunately, we have no clue about how much God values us. We have listened to how people have condemned us and told us that we will never amount to anything and have believed that. Religion has also come in and magnified our sinful nature and minimised the love of God for us. If only we knew the truth, we would be free indeed.
We should know that we have a father who really cares for us, who wants the best for us. Stop believing some of the religious teaching that God is angry with you. He is judging you, unless you fast and pray for 40 days. He will not answer your prayers. Indeed there is nothing wrong in doing good acts or praying and fasting but that is not what will earn you salvation. We are saved by grace through faith, not works, lest any man boasts.
Religion can’t stand the revelation of God’s goodness. No wonder Jesus always had running battles with Pharisees and scribes.
“Then all the tax collectors and sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained saying, This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:1).
How many of us are followed by sinners who want to hear us share the good news? In fact, the moment some of us finish preaching, we disappear lest “our anointing will be contaminated”. We are not even accessible to our flock. We are too special to mingle with “sinners” because we are the so-called men of God who are “highly anointed”. I wonder where we got that from. It is definitely not Jesus.
Jesus mixed with the worst of the worst sinners who were the publicans and tax collectors. That demonstrated His love for people. It is the goodness of God that leads man to repentance. The lost son decided to go back home after realising that his father was a good father and he would forgive him. His father’s love is what drove him back home.
Let’s preach about the love of God instead of condemning people.
We see in the parable of the lost sheep how the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep and goes to look for the lost one. When he finds it, he doesn’t beat it on the way home telling it to behave itself next time, and “never to backslide again”. Instead, he carries it on his shoulders. That is the love, grace and mercy of our God.
God is merciful, slow to anger and rich in love. He is willing, able and desires to treat us better than we deserve. We keep asking for things that He has already provided for us because of our unbelief.
There is no need to pray that He may be with us as we start our service because He said He would never leave nor forsake us. We ask for power and yet the power that raised Him from the dead is already within us. We pray that He would “rend the heavens and come down” and yet He came down more than 2 000 years ago. We still sing songs like The Days of Elijah in our churches. These are not the days of Elijah. We are now in a new dispensation.
We are now in a very exciting dispensation in which we now have access to the benefits associated with the finished work of Christ. You just need to renew your mind and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these truths to you about the goodness of God.
The solution is in believing, not sloganeering. Only believe.
Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @dougmamvura