Where's the Love?
by Maria Votto
I am going to go somewhere that I try very hard to avoid at all costs. The only reason that I am addressing this subject is because it is becoming so prevalent that I feel God is laying it on my heart to expose it for what it is. This subject has to do with the End Times. This subject is the Apostasy- the Great Falling Away.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.”
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but at a time where more and more people are searching for the Truth, The Right Way, the Answers….they seem to be moving further and further away from it. It’s like a deadly game of “You’re getting Warmer”. People who had a hand in teaching me the beliefs I hold desperately to now seem to be stumbling around in a haze of doubt and uncertainty. Maybe I’m just stubborn, but I don’t see where the confusion is. I don’t understand why they don’t understand. The Truth that I was taught about Salvation, Heaven and Hell, The tricks of the Devil and the Love and Sovereignty of God are still just as clear cut and obvious to me now as they were when I was 5 years old. You know what? Strike that. I DO know where the confusion lies and why those who were steadfast in their beliefs now doubt what they know to be true.
It’s because they kept an open mind.
I’m not saying I have all the answers and nothing is ever lost on me. What I am saying is that what I know I know and what I don’t, that’s ok. I think one of the biggest compliments a person can give me is to call me close minded or say that I’m “one of those small minded Christians”. Yes, I am thank you! There is only room enough in my mind to hold so much and if it doesn’t line up with the Bible isn’t exactly on track with the Bible, then I have no room for it in my mind.
Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
We as Christians are supposed to have the mind of Christ. Not once did Jesus (in his earthly form) ever present His views on a subject based on his own human agenda, for his own carnal gain. Not once did He ever make a statement, then at the first sign of opposition shrink back in order to keep an open mind or to keep from offending those with opposing views. I don’t remember EVER reading in Scripture any words to the effect of “And when Christ saw that they had made a valid point, he opened his mind to reconsideration and thought”. NO! That’s not how it goes! One of the best sayings I ever heard (and I wish I could remember where I originally heard it from) was that Truth is Truth whether you like it or not. It will always be. It does not change. It’s not a fad, err go, it will not always be what is popular- but it will always be what it is: Truth.
Once upon a time it was commonly believed that in order to achieve salvation, one had to confess their sins with their mouth, repent of those sins and ask the Lord Jesus into their hearts and lives. This heart change usually preceded a water baptism and then a filling of the Holy Spirit. Now for some reason, it’s being thrown in that what you wear/accessorize with/eat/drink/socialize with/how much money you give is now all apart of you keeping your salvation. Some churches, in a well-meaning and desperate attempt at keeping a standard of holiness, are throwing in added rules and regulations that are making just the act of living so impossible for people to live up to, that these people are just giving up completely and walking away from what should be drawing them closer to the Lord. I whole heartedly agree that anything that causes you to stumble or distracts you from living your holiest should be cut off immediately. But what is a stumbling block for you may not be an issue at all for someone else. If you watch TV mainly for news and a chuckle or 2 from a decent sitcom, I see no reason why you need to cancel your DishNetwork subscription. But if you are losing precious hours in a day because you can’t peel yourself away from the “adult” channels, I know a quick way for you to save upwards of around $80 a month! Some women feel more confident (or in my case, awake) simply by applying a bit of eyeliner and gloss throughout their day; some feel they can’t survive the day without visually seducing every man that sees them with the help of a suitcase full of powders, palettes and paints for their poor faces. I am firmly against the latter. In short, anything that causes or encourages a spirit that is not of God needs to go.
You are probably wondering by now what all this has to do with this “Great Falling Away”. Simply put, we who claim to be God’s children- little fallible examples to the world of who God is and what He is all about- are ourselves walking away from the idea of organized religion because we are sabotaging ourselves allowing the Devil to distract and deceive us all. We can’t live up to our own standards of holiness. We are starving not only the world, but ourselves of the very feeling of eternal love and acceptance that God has for us. Some of us are so wrapped up in the “how” of attaining Holiness, that we are becoming self-important and actually replacing that ever important love with condemnation towards those who we deem not as holy as ourselves. This is turning not only the world but some Christians away from the Church and sending them out into chaotic droves blindly seeking and creating what they are longing to feel from God.
John 13:34-35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
We need to stop preaching until we can start practicing. Teachers don’t teach, doctors don’t operate and lawyers don’t defend until they’ve truly and fully grasped why and how they are to execute their field of study. We are no different. Until we can learn to lovingly and nonjudgmentally draw those in we have no business pointing out others’ faults and shortcomings. Guess what? They can see our faults clearer than we can. How do I know? Because a) it is putting them off and b) we don’t even seem to notice or care. This breaks my heart.
What is the difference between a cult and Christianity? Cults hone in on a person’s heart and exploit their needs in order to capture their mind for the purpose of their (the cult’s) own selfish gain. Christianity hones in on a person’s heart to expose the need for God for that person’s eternal gain. If more and more people, saved or not, begin avoiding going to church the void will become too great to ignore and will need to be filled; this void is swiftly being filled by cults who can do a great job with smoke and mirrors to replicate that intoxicating feeling of euphoria and unspeakable joy found only in God’s presence when one is lost in true worship. These deceptions are fooling even the most seasoned Christians who have been burned by past parishioners into believing these moments of mixed wailing, weeping and uncontrollable laughter are one and the same with that 1 on 1 “Lost in His Presence” time with God at the altar. The lost are confusing the effect of God’s Presence with God Himself. People begin to wonder where God is when they don’t feel that bliss each and every time during a regular Church service, yet amazingly somehow that feeling seems to always magically be there during a false doctrine’s service. Why? Because the leaders know where the people’s voids are. They know what they are longing to experience and they know they are not getting it where they need to be getting it from. Why would anyone want to go to a church where there seems to be an underground bevy of two- facedness, gossip, lies, rumors, and immorality when they can join the alternative and always feel like they are in the midst of something genuine? I’ve heard more than one person make the scary comment of “Who cares if it’s real or not? I just feel so much love from the moment I walk in the door.”
People, it’s time to wake up! How can we expect to win the Lost to Christ when we ourselves are becoming lost? We have got to put aside all the petty junk of “who said what about whom”,” who is wearing what” and “I heard that so-and-so….”. We are killing ourselves, ruining our testimonies and literally driving people straight to Hell. If I sound angry it’s because I am and you should be too. We were given one job to do and we are messing it up.
Matthew 28:18-20 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Seem like too much? Start small.
John 21:17 “The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep’.”
Maria Votto is a devoted wife and SAHM to 4 children ages 8, 5, 4 and 2. When she is not homeschooling she loves couponing, making homemade products, and fulfilling her ministry of encouragement at her blogs The Heart of Ruth and 8 Years of Growth.