Last week at Church180 we continued our conversation about how to connect to God…
This whole conversation is in response to a line of thinking that goes like this…
God is good with me and I’m connected to God… based on what I am doing.
I shared a couple of lines from some correspondence I’ve had with a friend recently. My friend wrote:
“Being a Christian and taking that title means you are trying your best to have a walk with God and be separate from the world and look different from the world. Yes I sin every day, but I ask for forgiveness and work on my sin and try my best not to live in it.”
I respect my friend, but his understanding of what it means to be a Christian and how to connect with God is absolutely wrong.
Did you see the error in what he wrote? Read it again.
Here’s the error…
Being a Christian, connecting with God is the result of “trying my best.”
That’s not good news at all! That’s terrible news! Here’s why…
Have you ever had two days in a row where you did everything right? No? Me either.
Now, if we can’t get a two-day streak going… then how can we fairly expect our good behavior to be the basis upon which we connect with God?
Here’s the crazy thing…
If you’re trying your best and hoping THAT will connect you to God, you may be religious, but you are NOT a Christian!
Tim Keller said it like this:
“If you are avoiding sin and living morally so that God will have to bless and save you, then ironically, you may be looking to Jesus as a teacher, model, and helper, but you are avoiding Him as Savior. You are trusting in your own goodness for your standing with God. You are trying to save yourself by following Jesus. That ironically, is a rejection of the gospel of Jesus. It is a Christianized form of religion.”
People who are depending on “trying their best” to connect them to God are going to end up being disappointed, frustrated, judgmental, hypocritical, and ultimately give up hope of ever connecting with God.
St. Paul, in his letter to the church in Galatia, had to combat this same line of thinking. In fact, he had to confront one of the church leaders who had fallen into this line of thinking. This is what he said:
“We know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” (Galatians 2:16 NLT)
READ THAT AGAIN! (Yes, I’m yelling… because I’m excited!)
We connect with God NOT because of what we do or how hard we try! We connect with God based on our faith in Jesus! It’s FAITH not effort that makes the connection!
After attempting to make this point (you can watch/listen to the entire lesson here), I asked this question:
Are you trusting you or Jesus to connect you to God? To help us find the answer I asked two more questions:
- If you think about God, are those thoughts immediately followed by “I should do…” Or “I need to quit…”? If this is the case… you are depending on you, your best efforts, trying harder to connect you to God… and it won’t work.
- If you think about God are those thoughts immediately followed by, “I’m so glad about what Jesus has done for me”? If this is how you think then you are in the zone, because it is FAITH in Jesus that connects us to God.
After the teach I took some time to field questions that were texted in. I’m kind of digging this as an opportunity for live interaction. I think it makes the teaching more interactive… more dialogue and less lecture.
If you missed this weekend you can catch it here! I’d love to hear your feedback on this conversation too!