“Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for to humble oneself? Is that what you call a day acceptable to the LORD?” Isaiah 58:5
One of the best parts about being a kid is that you can play all sorts of make-believe games. You can play army, play doctor, play house…you can even play church.
You ever seen kids play church? One gets to be the preacher, jumping up and down, shouting hellfire and damnation. He or she may even put a bathrobe on for effect. The congregation has their fans, their costume jewelry, they’re pretending to catch the Holy Ghost–just a bunch of immature kids horsing around.
Hate to say it, but in many of today’s churches, the commitment to discipleship and sincerity of worship isn’t much more sincere than it is for those kids playing church.
Like the Israelites in Isaiah, most churchgoers know God has been good to them, but we want to know why God hasn’t been great to us. Yes, the basic necessities are covered, but what about, the desires, the ambitions, the dreams, all of the great victory that is supposed to come with following Jesus? When do we get some of that? Many Christians wonder.
With anything, we get out what we put in. A lot of church folk serve our time on Sundays, then go about being their our true selves during the rest of the week. Sunday is only 14.3% of a week. If we’re spending that much time focusing on holiness, wisdom, love, and self-control, and the other 85.7% of our lives in darkness, is it any wonder why we are where we are.
This may not apply to everyone, but almost everyone who goes to church has “played church” at one time or another.
True worship, Isaiah teaches, is not about form. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives. Yes that means feeding the hungry and fighting for equal rights, but “freeing the oppressed” is also about letting go of grudges and hatred and resentment, because feeling those feelings towards others holds us back as well.
Some of us are looking up in the sky trying to figure out if God is for real. Meanwhile, God may be looking down on us trying to figure out if we’re for real.