What exactly does the phrase “Come as you are” mean? First, we recognize that it is an invitation extended to non-believers and non-church-goers to come to church. To be exact, it is an extended personal invitation from the Lord Jesus to all people. All are welcome to come regardless of social standings, physical, mental, or spiritual conditions; regardless of abilities or disabilities, or financial status. Come expecting to be accepted as you are.
Of course, this involves getting acquainted with God, reverencing His holiness, following his commandments, and having an expectation of growing spiritually. But, unfortunately, while the invitation is extended, some people fail to realize stipulations that accompany the call.
The first step is to receive eternal salvation by confessing Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. Salvation is received by faith in believing that Jesus bore our sins, gave His life on the cross at Calvary; He was buried, and on the third day God raised him from the dead.
The next step is to commit to learning more about God and Christianity. Reading your Bible will teach you and equip you for your spiritual journey ahead. Finding a Church home will aid you in growing spiritually. As you conform to Christian ways, you will begin seeing a transformation taking place by the renewing of your mind. All old behaviors are done away with, and a new lifestyle will start to manifest. Your future generations are apt to adapt to a higher standard and quality of living as well. This is the essence of Christianity.
Let’s acknowledge a few things. When you come to Jesus expecting your life to change, your current standards of living must change. Your standards should be set higher to reflect the godly principles that reflect the criteria for holiness. This means that you are following biblical applications given for holy living. God is Holy, and He expects his children to be holy; (Leviticus 11:44; Leviticus 19:2).
To be “holy” means “to be set apart”; it means that you are living according to Christian standards and beliefs; (John 17:16). God is not expecting believers to be perfect but to be distinct from the world. Thus, 1st Peter 2:9 describes believers as “a holy nation.” Holiness only results from a right relationship with God. True believers recognize their position in Christ, which automatically sets them apart from the world.
We reverence God for who He is by showing Him the utmost level of respect as God, Creator, Provider, and Lord. Another word used for reverence is “fear.” Proverbs 1:7 tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Unless we understand God and develop a reverential fear of Him, we cannot have true wisdom. True wisdom comes only from understanding that God is holy, just, and righteous. The fear of God also means obeying Him and submitting to His ways. God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth; (John 4:24). He has established His Kingdom in Heaven, there He sits on His throne; (Ps. 11:4). Scripture tells us that He is high and lifted up; (Isa. 6:1).
When You Pray
When we speak to God, we come to Him via our prayers. Our prayer life consists of our personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, which is essential to our identity as His children. We have access to God by faith, believing that He hears our petitions when we pray. If you call on any other name, chances are you are not speaking to Jehovah God, who has a son named Jesus. He does not answer to “the man upstairs” or “hey, dude.” With all due respect, He should be addressed as “Father, God, or Abba.” He does not appreciate or tolerate disrespect. Your earthly buddies are referred to as “being cool with you,” but not our HOLY FATHER.
In Romans 12:1-2, the apostle Paul describes true worship perfectly, “I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well-pleasing and perfect.”
When we present our bodies to God, we give up control of ourselves and all things that concern us. Worship is reserved for God only. The Bible tells us that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. We shall all bow down to God on that day. True worship is expressed through our actions.
The Sanctuary is the place where we meet our Creator. The Holy of Holies was the most sacred area of the ancient Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Jerusalem. Before the high priest entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, he had to wash and, put on special clothing, bring burning incense to let the smoke cover his eyes from a direct view of God, and bring sacrificial blood with him to make atonement for sins (Ex. 28; Heb. 9:7).
Today, as we enter into the sanctuary, there shouldn’t be any difference in the sense of holiness, reverence, and the worship of God. He’s not your buddy, He is God. God is holy, so holy that He cannot look at sin. Sin cannot stand before His presence. God does not accept sin, He deals with sin by destroying it.
Entering Into The Presence of Holy God
In the Old Testament, the high priest was the supreme religious leader of the Israelites. The office of the high priest was hereditary and was traced from Aaron, the brother of Moses, of the Levite tribe (Ex. 28:1; Num. 18:7). The high priest had to be “whole” physically (without any physical defects), as well as holy in conduct (Lev. 21:6-8).
The phrase “Come as you are” has totally been taken out of context. True enough, if someone is hurting and looking for a better way to live, this phrase means to come to Jesus, just as you are. With all the hurt and pain, all of your troubles, your condition is never a question, whether you have clean clothes or not. If you are addicted to drugs, just come. Jesus welcomes all to come. He loves us regardless of the condition we are in. The problem today is, we have believers who have come already, but they refuse to change. The phrase is not “Come as you are, and you are welcome to remain the same.” God is not done with me yet is their favorite excuse for remaining the same. God gets the blame for someone not wanting to grow spiritually. My brothers and sisters, this should not be! Change is required!
After being with Jesus for a while, change should be inevitable. Coming to Jesus and remaining on the vine means that you are growing in knowledge, gaining wisdom, and you learn to walk as Jesus walked. We are to look like Jesus, which means that we are to emulate His ways.
Believers today come before the presence of God, falling short of reverence for Him. Instead, we should enter into His presence, looking our best, being our best, and doing our best. I am not addressing those who are less fortunate, but I people who just don’t care. They show up for church for an hour, go home, and remain the same.
I have visited a couple of Churches that allow their congregations to enter into the Sanctuary with coffee in hand, as though they have come to a social event with stage performers. They dim the lights, colored lights start flashing, it looks like a rock concert is taking place. Worst of all, the devil could not be happier to see the level of disrespect for our so-called “HOLY GOD”! God’s people enter the sanctuary sipping coffee, coming in late, and stopping to chat with friends who are already in worship mode. satan is enjoying this mockery of worship. I even witnessed a man holding up his cup of coffee as though he was making a toast while everyone else said “Amen” as the message was being delivered by the man of God. This conduct is unacceptable in the sanctuary. This behavior does not honor God and is very lax in service to Him. Corporate worship services should always be “done decently and in an orderly fashion; (1 Cor. 14:40). Anything done out of the order of God’s commands show a lack of reverence and blatant disobedience. It reveals a lack of spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).
The Old Testament priests never entered God’s presence holding anything, except incense and the sin offering (Lev. 4:3-21; 16:14-15). In the New Testament, Jesus is our High Priest (Heb. 9:1-28); it is through the Blood of Christ and the washing of the Word, that we are sanctified and set apart for God’s use. If we bring anything besides ourselves into the sanctuary, a Bible, an offering, and a friend or two should accompany us. Bringing an offering to God as part of the worship glorifies Him; (Heb. 13:15; Prov. 3:9-10; Mal. 3:10).
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that you should not come to church because you don’t have nice clothes. What I am asking is that you think of God as your Creator, who blesses you every day with the things you need and ask for. He listens to your prayers and answers them. He only asks that we love Him, and give Him the respect that He rightly deserves. Bring the King your best. Enter into His presence with thanksgiving, praise, and worship Him. Present an offering to Him. This is true worship at its best.
You can’t have peace without God, without reverencing Him. I employ you to please think about your actions, as well as God’s expectations of His people. Come into His presence with awe, having a thankful heart. Honor God, reverence, and love Him. He loved us first and He gave us His best. Jesus Is God’s best offering given to all of mankind.
“All are welcome to come, bring your best offering to the King.”
I leave you with these two thought-provoking Scriptures, spoken to all believers by our Lord Jesus Christ, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”; “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them”; (John 14:15, 23 NIV).”