I googled the term God is always there for you. Page after page of results came back. According to Google, it pulled 203,000,000 results. Obviously it is a subject folks are interested in. And it’s one that is widely misunderstood.
God is sovereign. He is omnipresent. He loves His people. Christians can always count on His presence, His concern and His care. All of these things are true. Nonetheless, we must be careful as we tread on this ground for dangers lurk close-by. “God is always there for you” can easily be changed into “God is there for you–no matter what”.
Stretching the meaning causes us to go where God Himself hasn’t gone, thus leading us into the dangerous ground of the man-centered gospel. In this abominable transaction, the Great I AM becomes a dottering Santa Claus, generous and kind, forgetful of any wrongs and with no naughty list of any kind.
Scripture says that when Christ saves us we become new creatures, a holy people set aside for the Lord’s purposes. But that’s old-fashioned, isn’t it? The updated man-centered gospel has a more comfortable approach to Christianity. God saves us but doesn’t necessarily change us. We are saved from our sins but not necessarily from sinning. All this and God doesn’t demand very much of us. If we don’t have time to pray, God will gladly accept whatever snippet of prayer we throw at Him. Since our lives are so busy and we really don’t have time to study the Bible, five minutes a day is just fine. Or if that’s too much, you can always just read in The One-Minute Bible. God understands and, no matter what, God will still be there for you.
Or, if all of this is just too much, go to that abomination called a Christian book store and buy yourself a book that sets out God’s Word in portions of one or two sentences and explains the Scriptures and applies them to our oh-so-busy me-centered lives. Most even come with a prayer written out for you at the end of the section so you can take care of everything all at once. Such books are called devotionals, an unfortunate misuse of the term since a real devotional is God-centered and, instead of explaining God’s Word in terms of our lives, it explains our lives in terms of His Word, causing us to think upon His truth with wonder and amazement. A true devotional is a treasure. What often passes for one today is blasphemous.
I saw a post someone had made the other day saying that he had proof that prayer didn’t work for if it did, there would be a lot more lottery winners. I felt like weeping. But that kind of blasphemous thought from the world is to be expected with so much blasphemy coming out of our churches. Most of the things coming out of our churches is man-centered. From our programs to our praise bands, from our preaching (it hurts to even call it that) to our prayers, all of what passes as worship revolves, not around the Lord of the Universe, but around us. What we want is of paramount importance and, since God “just wants us to be happy”, almost anything goes. He Who never changes is thought to be changeable when it comes to pleasing us.
God is always there for us. God sends blessings even to the unjust. But just because He’s always there doesn’t mean He accepts everything we do. It doesn’t mean He’s happy with our me-centered approach to His Word. And it doesn’t change the fact that, while God sent His Son as Savior the first time around, the next time Jesus comes, He’ll be coming as Judge. And He’ll judge us by the Bible, that same Book that far too many of us seem happy to twist this way and that in order to please ourselves. If we want to be pleasing to the Lord, He must first be our Lord. Our efforts to mold Him and His Word to please ourselves are heartbreaking. He’s God. We’re not. Therefore our lives, our worship, indeed everything about us is for Him and not for us. The abomination of man-centered worship must be done away with. In its place, we must return to giving God the glory, the love, the obedience He not only demands but deserves.