Yesterday, at Church180, we continued our quest to figure out how to connect to God!
We started off by showing this video:
And then we asked these questions…
- What have we done that the first question people are asking us when we tell them about church is, “What do I wear?”
- What have we done that the first thing people think about when they think about Christians is all the things they’ll have to stop doing and the things they’ll have to start doing if they are a Christian?
- How have we taken something called, “the gospel” which literally means, “good news” and turned it into something that sounds like anything but good news?
The answer to this question is fairly simple… and heartbreaking…
We’ve come under the control of the “Tyranny of Trying.”
In other words… we’ve bought into the idea that we connect with God because of what we do or don’t do (including how we dress on Sunday)!
This bad theology is not a new one. In fact, it’s the primary reason that St. Paul wrote a letter to the church in the city of Galatia! Fairly early on in his letter he had this to say:
Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. (Galatians 3:1-5 NLT)
These early Christians were trying to connect to God based on the things they were doing/not doing! Paul called them “foolish” and told them to STOP IT!
I shared a quote from Tim Keller’s book, Reason for God, that gets ALL OVER this matter:
“It is possible to avoid Jesus as Savior as much by keeping all the Biblical rules as by breaking them.
Both religion (in which you build your identity on your moral achievements) and irreligion (in which you build your identity on some other secular pursuit or relationship) are, ultimately, spiritually identical courses to take. Both are ‘sin.’
Self-salvation through good works may produce a good deal of moral behavior in your life, but inside you are filled with self-righteousness, cruelty, and bigotry, and you are miserable.
You are always comparing yourself to other people, and you are never sure you are being good enough.
You cannot, therefore, deal with your hideousness and self-absorption through the moral law, by trying to be a good person through an act of the will.
You need a complete transformation of the very motives of the heart.
The devil, if anything, prefers Pharisees – men and women who try to save themselves. They are more unhappy than either mature Christians or irreligious people, and they do a lot more spiritual damage.”
What do you think about what he said?
Seriously, I think that some of the crankiest people I know are men and women who are trying to save themselves by “trying harder.”
Folks who are “trying harder” or “trying my best” may have religion… but they are not Christians.
St. Paul says that we’re connected to God NOT because of what we DO but because of who we TRUST!
So what does that look like? How does a Christian connect to God?
Here’s what St. Paul wrote:
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:16-20 NLT)
This is how Christians live! By listening to and following the leadership of the Spirit of God inside of us. He loves us. We trust Him. We speaks… we trust Him. We asks us to stop… we trust Him enough to stop. He tells us to go… we trust Him enough to go.
My prayer for Church180 is that we will be a church filled with men and women who trust God and let Him lead our lives… and in the process begin changing the questions that people ask about church and Christians!
Let’s change it from “What do I wear” to “How can I become one?”
That’ll happen when we stop trying so hard to save ourselves and simply start trusting the leadership of the Spirit of God who lives inside of us when we trust Jesus to connect us to God!