In the religious world you will find an abundant amount of strategies and formulas that address the day to day practices of a church attendee. Some of the most popular books out there right now put Christian living into a tangible multi-step program. This sort of teaching gets away from the infinite that is so hard to grasp and introduces a more finite theology that is easier to cling to. It helps them manage and control themselves. They are so popular because they produce an attainable and applicable structure.
Strategies, formulas, don’ts and to-do lists are all focused on behavior modification. What is so dangerous about that is a person doesn’t have to have a relationship with God to apply these practices. If a person gets the steps down then, by all appearances, they are living a successful life built on Christian standards. If they are practicing the Christian moral code and have no spiritual wisdom, then what keeps them from overstepping their boundaries as brother in Christ into the more often seen self-righteous god complex? If you are maintaining your appearance by pure sweat and self-control, then no wonder you are abusive to others who aren’t as disciplined as you.
We like to have all the answers and there are too many questions that go unanswered when you start talking in plain language instead of watered down clichés from the church.
There are too many things that can’t be explained.
It’s hard to imagine a God that isn’t always joy, laughter, sunshine and full bellies. It’s hard to imagine a God within the dark so we only focus on God in the light. We only give credit to God when it’s peace and joy that we see.
Some of the reasons that we don’t have a right view of God or His activity are because our main focus is to convert as many people as possible to Christianity. If we were to tell a person who recently went through a tragedy that God allowed it in their lives, how would it make that person feel toward God? It’s too big of a risk. You don’t want people to be angry with God.
When you don’t acknowledge the fullness of whom God is then you leave huge holes in the faith system. It’s as though you need to protect Him from the opinions of others if they were to know how far He would go to show that He is God. You have this need to protect His unconventional ways from a people that think He should be more docile. You only talk about His blessings and His rewards to righteous living and personal sacrifice. If something goes wrong in another person’s life you either don’t have an answer or you blame them. Saying it’s because they are out of the ‘river’, out of His light, off His path, out of His will or diverted from His plan.
Why don’t you believe the Bible when it says that your will is secondary to His or when it says that He is in complete control over everything? Why do you give Satan or other human beings so much credit for the things as though God’s hands were tied? My answer is simple.
It requires too much faith.
It requires too much faith to believe that God is in control when your life feels so out of control. It requires too much faith to think that the calamity you find your self in could possibly be part of God’s plan for your life. It requires too much faith in the God, whom you know is good, to have any part of what doesn’t feel good. You have preconceived ideas that, if it were God’s way, then there would be no pain and no failure. It requires too much faith to believe that God would use both pain and failure to bring you to discover Him. That is, unless He already has. Accepting or rejecting doesn’t change the Truth. It changes you.
–quoted from chapter eleven of ‘Grace Is For Sinners’ If you would like to purchase your own copy of ‘Grace Is For Sinners’ you can do so here.