In recent years there has been a growing distinction between who Jesus is and what religion teaches. It’s an important separation no doubt about that. What is interesting is how quickly we turn back to religion even in our efforts to get away from it. We get this idea in our heads that breaking away from the “norms” of church is all we need to do.
I was talking to a friend the other day and he was telling me about how he was treated by his former pastor when he played a song by Skillet on his iPod. He was chastised for brining “the devil’s music” into church. Here I was thinking that maybe the church had moved out of the stone age, that maybe the age of reason had finally taken over our mystic superstitious ignorance. Apparently there is no statute of limitations on how far behind churches can be.
It is not my intent to rag on the church. I love the church. I am just amazed by how comfortable some people are hijacking it’s mission and purpose. When did pastors start thinking it was ok to cast aside anything they didn’t like or didn’t understand in the name of God?
As a pastor, it can be challenging. We speak for God every week. We are constantly ask what God thinks and how God feels about different things. Maybe we need to be reminded that just because people entrust us to interpret the Word of God for them we have to be careful in how far we take it. People trust us to speak for God, that doesn’t mean we are God. It’s not our job to slap God’s name on our opinion. It’s our job to share God’s message, His heart, His gospel with the world.
Here’s where I think the problem takes root: behavior. We are always looking for what to do as Christians. What does a good Christian do here? How should I respond to this? What should I believe about that? It’s all about doing not about being. We get so focused on behavior that we forget about motives. It happened to the religious leaders in Jesus day. It happens to religious people today. It has always happened. When we focus on what to do and not why we are doing it we shift into religious mode.
So what’s the heart? Love. God is____? A:Love. Jesus says we are to be known by our _____? A:Love. The greatest commandment in the law is to ____ God? A:Love. The second is to ____ your neighbor? A:Love. Love is so dominant in Scripture it’s hard to believe we miss it so regularly. Maybe it’s because love comes from being. While love is something you do and will always manifest itself in practical ways love begins with being. Doing grows out of it. We don’t like it to work that way. We just want to do. We can control what we do. It’s harder to control just being.