Do You Have Warped Spiritual Values?
ago, ancient merchants originated a phrase which came to serve as the universal rule for
trade and commerce: The value of anything is determined by how much it can be traded
Twisted values are not uncommon in other Biblical accounts, such as
in the story of the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau (Gen. 25). A special blessing and
inheritance from their father Isaac belonged to the first-born son, Esau. But Esau lacked
a full appreciation for his inherited birthright. In contrast, Jacob realized its
astronomical value and coveted his birthright. He eventually found a scheme to transfer
its rights to himself. At a time that Esau was famished, Jacob offered him a bowl of
lentils in exchange for the birthright. Although this offer was in no way equitable, yet
amazingly, Esau agreed to trade his birthright for a single meal. What stupid, distorted
values Esau had! But is this any different than the petty, inferior things that
many people trade for spiritual things?
Such warped values can be seen in many applications, for instance such as the greater value many Christians place on entertainment or amusements rather than on spiritual regimens, such as reading God's Word, spending time in prayer, sharing their faith with others and so forth. Neglecting church attendance, worship and fellowship routinely... to instead play golf, go to a movie or stay home to watch NFL or Nascar are other examples of distorted spiritual values. When believers make such alternate choices, it establishes the value they place on spiritual things... even to the extent of what kind of worth they place upon their Lord Jesus.
Church Fellowship Helps Correct and Develop Proper Spiritual Values
The environment of church, under the teaching and ministry of pastors, teachers or elders, is where so many of our Christian values begin and are shaped and developed, yet church attendance in America has dropped off to such alarming levels that many have little or no instruction or guidance of how to make such evaluations. For this reason, it is important to emphasize the importance of getting into a good Bible-believing church. If you are a believer, you need to become a regular, faithful participant with a body of other believers... and start by making that a priority, an expression of the value you place your relationship with Christ and spiritual things. The continued fellowship, influence and instruction you receive through the church will in turn, begin to help correct and develop your spiritual values.
For those believers who don't think church attendance is important, let
me ask you a hypothetical question. What if Jesus sent you a letter and promised to personally
meet with you and His other followers at a restaurant on Sunday morning. But lets say Sunday
comes, and you feel like sleeping in instead. Or
maybe its such a beautiful day, you prefer to go on a picnic, or perhaps
theres a football game on TV you dont want to miss. Wouldnt you say that
whatever you selected to do, instead of meeting with Jesus, would say something about the
insignificance of your relationship with Him? Wouldnt it mean that, like Judas, you
have established your value upon Christ? Wouldnt it mean that a TV show has higher
worth, that a picnic is more important, or a little extra sleep means more to you than
meeting with Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe?
But you may say, Jesus hasnt sent me such a letter.
Hes in Heaven and wont be at a restaurant this Sunday! However dear
friend, Jesus promised that whenever believers gather in His name, He will always honor
that gathering with His presence. For where two or three are gathered together in My
name, I am there in the midst of them (Matt. 18:20). In other words, He gave His
word to be present whenever two or more believers come together in His name.
So do Christians really believe His Word? Many must figure that
Jesus doesnt tell the truth, because Sunday after Sunday, many professing Christians
snub the Lord Jesus by not showing up where He promised to be. Either they must figure He
lied and wont be at church, or else they have simply established a low estimate of
Jesus worth. Yes, thats right! The things that keep you away from
church is the value you have placed on the presence of Jesus they declare what
spiritual things are worth to you.
Thank God there are believers who have such a high value on their
meeting with Jesus that it takes something urgent or awfully important to pull them away.
Some have no choice but to work at their jobs during the times that some church meetings
occur. Some might not come meet with Jesus because of an emergency, sickness, road
conditions or car trouble, etc. Although nothing in this world can assume a higher
priority than our relationship with Jesus, at least the Lord understands our situations
and knows our heart that we rather would meet with Him and our brethren if it
werent for similar urgencies.
However, how could we expect the Lord to be pleased if we stay away
from His meetings for less serious excuses? What does it say about our spiritual values if
were absent due to the special sale at Sears, the football game, watching the late
show on Saturday night, or are simply too lazy to get up on time? Remember, the
reasons which keep people away reflect the value that they take place upon the Lord,
spiritual things, their brethren and the church.
Why does the scripture connect the neglect of church attendance to
sin? Mere absence from a church meeting is not in itself a sin, however a pattern of
absence from church always leads to, or has a relationship to sin and displeasing God.
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but
exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin
willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a
sacrifice for sins (Heb 10:25-26).
Why Unfaithfulness to Church Should Be Avoided
As for Esau, the value he placed on the things of God was only worth
the price of a bowl of lentils which he traded in exchange for his birthright to his
brother Jacob. For Judas, the things of God were worth only a slightly higher price
thirty pieces of silver which he exchanged for the betrayal of Jesus.
How about you? What is your worth you have placed upon the things of
God? What price will it take to keep you away from your church or spiritual things? A
favorite TV show? A sale at the shopping mall? A mosquito bite? A boo-boo on your little
toe? What do you suppose that God thinks about the value you have placed upon His church
and His fellowship?
If you ever thought that being a Christian was something that you could do out of convenience you were greatly mistaken. God isnt interested in your leftovers. He must be the highest priority in your life, or else He becomes worthless. In order to serve Christ it will require sacrifice on your part sacrifice of your time, money, convenience, popularity... and even your life. ...nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing... (2 Sam. 24:24).