There has been a growing trend in society lately that is beginning to creep its way into the Lord’s Church, and it is concerning to me. People seem to be approaching their Christian life with more and more of a casual attitude. Honestly, I have no explanations for this other than to say that it’s a direct reflection of how society is going in general. There is very little formality to anything that happens anymore. The younger generations (which I’m probably still a part of) do not seem to hold anything in high esteem. Respect is a thing of the past.
Casual Christianity is growing at an alarming rate. When I say ‘casual Christianity’, I mean that it’s not really taken seriously. We don’t really look at our faith as being all that important. It no longer holds a central focus in our lives. Believe it or not, though, it’s not something that is new to this generation. Just take a look at Malachi 1:7-8.
“You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the LORD is to be despised.’ But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the LORD of hosts.”
The priests at the time were going through the motions. They were carrying out their sacrifices. They were checking the box that it got done. However, they were not giving God their best. Their sacrifices were commanded to use animals without blemish. These animals were to be perfect. That’s because God intended for the sacrifice to actually be a “sacrifice” for the person involved. If you offered an animal that was lame and wasn’t beneficial to your herd, then what sacrifice is it to offer it to God? You were going to have to get rid of it anyway, so why not just offer it to God and kill two birds with one stone? That was unacceptable to God, but that’s exactly what the priests in Malachi were doing. They were offering animals that were blind, lame, and sick. They were far from being the best, and for that God said they had defiled His alter. They performed the sacrifice, but it was not the best they could do, so it was unacceptable to God.
How is our approach to worshipping God today? Are we giving our best? Seriously…are we? It’s more than just checking a few boxes and going through the motions. It’s so, so much deeper than that. I can go all day and sit in a pew and listen to someone talk, but am I giving God my best, or am I being far too casual with my worship? If it’s not my best, then like the priests in Malachi, I am defiling the alter of God.
As an analogy in Malachi, God told the priests that if they thought the sacrifices were so good, then they should go offer it to their governor. God knew that the sacrifice was so poor that even their civil leaders wouldn’t accept it. What if I took my attitude and approach to worship and applied that same mentality to my job or career? I guess the big question is whether or not I would still have a job. What if my desire to make my boss proud was the same as my desire to make God proud? What if I put the same effort into growing as an employee as I do into growing as a Christian? What if my attendance and punctuality at my job matched my attendance and punctuality at worship? What if my willingness to participate and be a team player at work was the same as my desire to participate and be a team player in my location congregation? How long would I stay employed? How long would the boss let me hang around? Would I climb the ladder into a leadership position, or would I fade into the background until I was finally let go?
God gave us His best, and He deserves nothing but our best in return. Be honest with yourself. Is your worship to the Lord the best that it can be? Do you sing with all your heart? Do you listen attentively as the Word is being preached? Do you respect the memorial of the Lord’s Supper? Those are questions that only you (and I) as an individual can answer. You may think you can fool some people, but you and God both know whether or not you are defiling His alter by being too casual with your Christian faith and not offering the best of yourself.