Have you ever been lied to by someone you trust, and you didn't know that you were being lied to?
Prayer, as we know it today, especially our corporate prayers, are not prayer at all, but facsimiles of imitations from past religious observances.
God loves the aroma of a good bar-b-q, it certainly is not the smell of unclean flesh.
To talk about isolated spiritual experiences reveals that is all you have in your spiritual walk and may not even be on the pathway of God.
On imitation: We have been told to 'Be like Jesus', or 'What would Jesus Do?', or 'A Christian would not act that way...'
Have you ever known anyone that acted like Jesus Christ? How deep is that thought? With no intention on being nefarious, the church has to look at itself by the truth of the word of God and not the opinion of man. I, personally, have to examine myself by the word of God, and I know, very personally, that I do not live up to that standard.
In times past, the church has been told that the world looks at the church and if the church doesn't live up to Jesus' commands there, the world has the right to judge the church for not living up to the Word.
Although this does happen, is this the truth? No one has the 'right' to judge the church save God Himself and the church, itself. The church, for centuries, has been told to 'be good', to do what Jesus says, and the world certainly does look at the church in judgement knowing that the church has not lived up to its own expectations. Outsiders look at the failures of the church and call it antiquated, dogmatic, unloving, and hateful. If someone inside the church talks about the Truth of the Gospel to the outside world, it is received with bitterness and derogatory thought. The church has perpetuated the self-inflicted judgement from the world because of its apparent lack of the knowledge of the Word of God and its own inability to live up to the standards of a Holy God, called holiness. I am not holy as the world sees me, but as God in Christ has delivered me unto Himself, He is holy in me. The problem comes to the world when what they see and hear is the dark side of me, rather than the Holiness of the Lord dwelling in me. I, like Paul, in Romans 7:24, find myself saying, 'O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?' It is His nature in me that has to grow in me, by submission, by prayer, by obedience, and most of all, by love.
"But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one." (1 Corinthians 2:15).
"I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person. For what do I have to do with judging those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are on the inside? But those who are on the outside God judges. Therefore 'put away from yourselves the evil person.'"
(1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
Has this critical thought regarding the fellowship of believers justified, or is it just the world looking back at the church as unrepentant?
If a child is not getting what he thinks he deserves because he has done wrong and another child has received a reward for doing good, doesn't human nature kick in a some point with a plethora of emotions and have the errant child portray some type of negativity towards the goodness of the rewarded child?
For centuries, many of the leaders of the church have not expounded in total truth to their followers for so many reasons, they cannot all be listed here. The main reasons would be lack of knowledge of the Word, forced traditions, buildings and architecture, power, self-aggrandisement, fame, duplicitous teachings, money, money, and more money. The world looks at this and says, 'Hypocrite!', or 'There's not much difference between them and us.'
The foremost problem with the church believing the lie that the world has the right to judge them because they are not like Jesus Christ, 'Jesus wouldn't act that way, etc...' is this: What does the world know about acting like Jesus? The world is not the church's judge, a judge has knowledge and authority over the one being judged. The world has no such knowledge of the Word of God, and it never has had the authority to judge the church and it never will. Jesus said that the church would be persecuted, and the church has been judged by the world, but without any authority to do so.
If you are called by His name to name the name of Christ for yourself, it is He Who does the saving, and it is He Who has done the work, it is He Who keeps you saved from your sin, and it is all about Him, not you. The world is after killing the Son of God in you, and if it can make you believe that you're not worthy of the Name, then the task has been accomplished.
As a Christian, the world has no right to defame you, judge you, ridicule you, or persecute you. They will do those things, but they have no inherent right to.
God, Himself, will judge the world, that is one less item to put onto the Christian's 'to do list'.
If you call yourself Christian, stand up, with a backbone and deny yourself before Him, not the world...and in His Holy love, learn what it means to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him; love in Spirit and in Truth. The world is looking for someone to take advantage of, it might be me, or you, but vengeance is of the Lord and in the denial of the self, that's a pill that must be swallowed.
Please read some of my essays on the Kingdom of God, it will eventually be clear what the Kingdom is all about and what Jesus was really saying regarding life in Him.