Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Spam Christianity

Posted by Job on May 29, 2007

I was watching Christian television one day recently, and the hosts of the show were discussing the merits of eating Spam. Or more accurately, TWO of the hosts, a married couple who are well educated and highly successful pastors, preachers, and singers who are regular hosts of the live studio show as well as having their own show for married couples on a Christian TV network that is shown all over the nation and throughout the world, were trying to convince the other two people on the panel of the merits of it. One of the Spam dissenters stated “I am sorry, Spam is just disgusting” and the Spam advocate replied “Have you tried frying it?”

A little background is called for here. The two Spam advocates came from poor backgrounds: public assistance in the inner city. They are blessed by God to be alive, let alone be college – educated (both holding master’s degrees) preachers, teachers, evangelists, singers, and counselors seen all over the globe. So when you consider where God has brought them from and done in their lives, why are they still eating Spam? And trying to get others to eat it?

And that brings me to this: I frequently hear one or the other of the Spam advocates effusively praising Oneness Pentecostal preachers. Which is not surprising: oneness pentecostalism is disproportionately represented among Christians with their backgrounds for a number of reasons. Sure, that may be the denomination that they grew up in and got saved in. But just like you are supposed to stop eating Spam when your financial situation improves, you are supposed to leave behind these false doctrines and preachers when you grow in Christ and gain knowledge. But in order to do that, you have to WANT to change. I listen to the wife in this couple in particular, sounding very defensive about her growing up in the inner city on public assistance. She talks about how good the “government cheese and government peanut butter cookies” were. And you know what? I’ve had that government cheese AND those government peanut butter cookies: they WERE good. Better than any that you would buy in any store. But so what? That is your PAST. Your mind should be on your PRESENT with Christ.

And no, I did not say “future.” If anyone is guilty of the “Spam Christianity”, it is the “Left Behind” contingent. Yes, I believe in the rapture, and our greatest comfort should come from believing upon the imminent return of Jesus Christ. But that is our HOPE. That is our FUTURE. How many Christians are not growing in the faith because they live in the past or in the future and are not concentrating on the present? How many of us are in that condition because our presents are too painful for us? For a lot of us that IS the case. But letting go of the past and trusting God with our future so that we can spiritually grow in the present is exactly what God calls us to do. We are to stop being babes in the faith fed with milk and start seeking to be adults eating meat.

And this is not just for a couple of people who grew up in the inner city reminiscing about Spam and government cheese: it is for a lot of these “religious right” sorts too. Look, the 1950s are not coming back. (Also, please be aware that the 50s weren’t that great for a lot of people, including a lot of Christians, and they don’t WANT them to come back, which is why they vote Democrat.) This is not defeatism; this is recognition of the fact that Jesus Christ’s return is that much closer than it was in “the good old days”, which means that things are going to be that much more evil. Sure, there can be “great awakenings” and “great revivals”, and this nation has had them before, but the underlying calculus IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE. Jesus Christ – not the good old days – is coming back, which means that the days are going to get that much more evil, which means that we should be ever contending for the true gospel in the time that remains.

We can’t go back to the good times that we had; the great feeling of that we had when we first got saved and started going to church, or that feeling of peace and security that we had when our parents and grandparents took us to church. And we can’t go forward and live in our hope and expectation while neglecting the labor of the day. That is why our walk cannot be based on emotions, feelings, experiences. That is why our being “the bride of Christ” and “married to Christ” is such an excellent analogy. Take any married couple: the fun of dating, the excitement of engagement, the thrill of the wedding and the honeymoon, the giggly newlywed phase, and (for those who are so blessed as God sees fit) the miracle of childbirth and parenthood. For most married couples, that takes up the first 3 to 5 years. Well what about after that? Many choose to spend the rest of their marriage recapturing the intense happy emotions from the first 3 to 5 years of their relationships, and yes many will go outside of the marriage and into adultery to do it. Or some will get divorced and go through the dating/marriage thing again. (Studies show that men in particular are much more likely to get married after divorce, and to get married far more quickly than the women who do get married). In our modern culture, it seems that only a percentage are aware of what they are getting into at the outset and are ready and able to face each challenge in the marriage as it comes. Ten or twenty years into the marriage they are not talking at each other about the bills, the kids, old times, vanities (gossip and television), and their fantasies about retirement or whatever 90% of the time when they do actually talk, but they are talking TO each other about the PRESENT. (A hint: both of you being avid Bible readers and talking about what you both happen to be reading about and how you see yourself and each other in what you are reading? That really helps! The family that reads its Bible together stays together.) And the same goes with your walk with God. As long as your head is in the sand (the past) or the clouds (the future), you will never grow. As long as you keep trying to use God as your genie in a lamp or your magic wand, or your sounding board, you will never grow. It is only when you seek HIS WILL FOR YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW that the growth begins to happen; that you will grow to the point where you can deal with where God has you at right now. But to do that, you have to get rid of those old wineskins you are carrying around. Why? Because the new wine from the Lord will burst those bottles. And God’s Word does not return void, but it accomplishes the Will of the Father. So, God is not going to put new wine in your old wineskins just so your wineskins can burst and you lose it all. Then you will be in really bad shape: not only will you be guilty of not acting on your new charge, your new Word from the Lord, your new anointing, but you won’t even be able to go back to your old wine because your wineskins are broke and you have nothing to carry you in! God loves you, and He is not going to do that to you. Remember, the Bible says that you are never going to be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But who among you wants to get to the point where you can bear more temptation? Now anyone who is familiar with cultures outside of modern “industrialized” nations know about child labor. Children are capable of doing great work, and God expects children – both natural and spiritual – to labor for the kingdom. But adults are capable of more work. Adults are capable of more responsibility. Adults can even be counted on to be leaders and administrators, to organize and make more effective and efficient the works of others. They can also be teachers, who can be used to help bring today’s children into adulthood. Now I am not saying that going through life as a Spam Christian will keep you out of heaven in all cases (not that you should risk it or find out which cases will be accepted and which shall not) but don’t you want more? Don’t you love God enough to grow into and be the spiritual adult that God foreknew and created you to be? For so many Christians, all that is required is a simple change in mindset: to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength, to love their neigbhor, and to hate all evil and the mere appearance of it, and to totally reject the world and all that it has to offer. Christians, are you willing this day to give up your Spam so that you can seek your crown?

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