How Did the Focus Change from Jesus to Us? Devotional Reading and Podcast
Satan has invented a counterfeit for everything God has blessed as holy and righteous. Within the past five years, the focus of salvation has changed from Jesus to our emotions. Sermons on how to live a happy life with financial prosperity have replaced sermons on how to live a righteous, faithful, and obedient life.
“I Surrender All” has been replaced with songs entitled “Bless Me” along with one to two hours of singing-only worship services. How did we digress from Jesus to ourselves? Watching motivational videos has replaced daily worship, prayer, and studying the Bible.
We are distracted and too busy to have a meaningful relationship with Christ. We have readily embraced the false teachings of pursuing happiness because of the worldview of destroying boundaries to live your best life. Yes, we are victims of the ideology of self-worship.
Recently, one of the long-standing Pastors in Dallas, Texas stated in his interview that the subsequent generations who are in the church now do not understand the in-depth meaning of the Scriptures, so he had to change his style of preaching. There is a prevailing disinterest in all that is holy because of our desires and lifestyles.
Studying the Bible is no longer encouraged in the churches that promote happiness. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot discern the Truth which is God-breathed nor will we have a deeper understanding of who God is. The solution is to present one or two verses that will promote mental and emotional well-being. Truth is an area of debate that has led to various ideas. The erroneous ideas have caused many to commit sins that originate from presumption.
Presumption: an idea that is taken to be true, and often used as the basis for other ideas, although it is not known for certain.
An example of misinterpretation is the verse when Jesus tells us to ask anything in His name and He will do it. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)
It is our preference to hear the verse found in John chapter 14 as opposed to the verse in 1st John chapter 5. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).
Because the spiritual meaning does not coincide with our desires, we misrepresent the Scriptures. Even so, Jesus will never give us everything we desire from a financial perspective. Although our prayers are not always financial, we cannot take for granted that we will be healed which is also an expectation of many Christians. We do not have the privilege of demanding anything from our Heavenly Father.
Satan has influenced the leaders whose messages contain a mixture of partial truth and worldviews. Churches whose focus is to keep their members happy will preach verse #1 from the pulpit. “All you have to do is pray and God will fulfill the desires of your heart, but you must first take action by pursuing the marriage partner, starting the business, and purchasing the house.”
The Bible Explains Itself by giving us examples of prayers that represent the things we should ask God for.
“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?'” (1 Kings 3:5)
“…Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 King 3:8-9)
“The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” (1 Kings 3:10, 12)
King Solomon not only pleased God with His request for wisdom, but God also gave him the honor of being the wisest man who ever lived. Because of Solomon’s humility, God also blessed him with excessive wealth.
When Jesus was speaking to His disciples about Him going away, they were filled with sorrow. Jesus’ concern for His disciples, “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete” (John 16:24).
Sadly, like the disciples, we have an agenda of pleasing ourselves. We do not pray and ask Jesus for anything crucial to our spiritual growth. Instead of praying for the anointing of the Holy Spirit or for our characters to be transformed into Jesus’ likeness [Galatians 5:22-23] and the spiritual power to resist temptation, we are asking God to “Bless Me” with tangible things, relationships, and marriages that are not in alignment with God’s plans for our lives.
There is danger in taking our eyes off Jesus and placing them on our heart’s desires. Worshipping God according to how we feel results in a compromised relationship with Christ. The earthly things we must have and pursue without God’s blessings will determine our destiny.
Whether we commit the sins of presumption because we fail to study and lack knowledge of spiritual things, from self-interpretation of the Scriptures, being misled by church leaders, or wilful disobedience, we are still held accountable for our sins of presumption.
Jesus Defines His Divinity and His Righteous Position: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me'” (John 14:6). Jesus has provided us with the guidance we need to live righteously.
- “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
- “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
- “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38).
- “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Jesus not only identifies the requisites for His followers, but He also reminds us of His Divine Authority, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13). “…I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).
Our earthly agendas determine our destiny–eternal life or the second and final death. We are rapidly moving forward from living in the last days to the end of time. Jesus says that we must choose whom we will serve. Choosing Jesus requires us to redirect our focus off of self. Invite the Holy Spirit into your life to learn the accurate meaning of the Scriptures.
Love for Christ keeps us grounded in a world where spiritual warfare includes self-worship. Our desires must align with God’s plans and purpose if our goal is to live eternally with our Lord and Savior. Give up the blended ideologies that are designed to make us lose our heavenly reward.
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray for forgiveness for placing the focus on ourselves and our selfish desires. We surrender our hearts, minds, and souls to You. We ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, and discernment. We need Your guidance and strength to continue to walk this spiritual journey. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Your Holy Name, Amen.
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