Convenient Christianity?12 June, 2020
In this ‘new normal’ of the post-Covid 19 era, companies, organisations, and churches must rethink their strategies and reinvent themselves from being a ‘physical organisation with digital presence’ to a ‘digital organisation with physical expressions and locations’. We’re very grateful that our weekday programmes featured on our social media platforms, our online teaching classes, and weekend services have reached people and places far and wide.
Now, with most things being accessible online and on-demand, I can have them delivered to me without leaving home, whenever I want it. But herein lies my concern – the ‘Oh, so convenient’, on-demand, instant gratification mentality.
I’ve not heard of anyone who changed their world (secular or sacred) and impacted their generation by living a ‘convenient life’. All paid a high price to see their dreams, visions, and burdens come to pass.
Imagine waking up late on Sunday morning and missing the 10.15am service. But you tell yourself it’s ok because you can still catch the worship service at 12.30pm on your phone while having lunch at the same time. We’ve probably forgotten that worship service is for the Lord and unto the Lord, not just for us. We gather around Him. If we’re not careful, I’m afraid we could end up replacing our convictions with convenience, thereby shifting our focus from God to ourselves!
C.S. Lewis said (and I paraphrase), “There are two kinds of people in this world – those who submit themselves to God and say to Him, “Your will be done” or those who refused to submit themselves to God and God says to them, “your will be done”.”
Much of the ramifications we experience in our world today, or sometimes even in our own lives, happen when we say to God, “my will be done”.
So how can we move forward to reach this world, with the agility to stay culturally relevant and have a heightened sensitivity to the Holy Spirit to stay spiritually reverent? I believe one of the keys is in honouring God.
1 Samuel 2 tells us that Eli’s sons were corrupt and, after being patient with them and giving them repeated warnings, God finally cut off Eli’s family line and said, “I will honour those who honour Me, and I will despise those who think lightly of Me.” (1 Samuel 2:30). So how do you honour God?
You honour God by valuing what He values.
Eli’s sons had no regard for the Lord, nor did they respect their duties as priests. They despised their lineage and profaned the sacrifices of the people who were considered precious and holy to God. We need to value what God holds dear. God values ‘family time’ where His people come together to worship Him and connect with one another. So let’s continue to honour the time set aside to meet ‘online’ for our cell meetings and weekend services, even though we’re not able to meet physically for now.
When it comes to the things of God, don’t settle for what’s convenient and miss the mark of what God has in store for you. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’ll always be there or you can get it back at a later time. Some things won’t come back to you once you’ve missed the window of opportunity to respond. Just ask Esau, who sold his birthright for a bowl of soup (Gen 25). That one impulsive act forfeited him eternally from inheriting the blessing, even though he sought it diligently with bitter tears. (Heb 12:17)
You honour God by waiting on Him.
God is not a ‘genie in the lamp’ Whom you summon ‘on-demand’ and watch Him appear from the smoke and say to you, “your wish is my command”. Yet we could be unknowingly doing that when we treat the online worship services as ‘another programme’ we watch, at our convenience. God is honoured when we take time to prepare ourselves and our hearts to meet Him, and not flippantly stumbling into His Presence.
The beautiful part about waiting on the Lord is the promise of a divine exchange taking place. He renews your strength and you shall soar high on wings like eagles, you shall run and not grow weary, you shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Let’s use this ‘online, on-demand’ accessibility like a sword in our hand, to extend God’s work, not as a crutch we lean on when we feel sloppy. Let’s be led by our convictions, not convenience. Upholding what’s dear to God and saying to Him, “nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done!”
Ps. Kevin Koh