Monday, June 28, 2010

What's Up with the "God" Thing?

What’s up with the whole “God” thing?

Anybody who’s ever known me very long knows that I am a “religious” guy. I really don’t like the word “religious” because it gives off connotations that are negative, but for lack of a better word, I’ll use it now. I’m a religious guy. I go to church. I read my bible. I worship every Sunday. The question is “why” do I do it.

If you gathered a random group of people together and asked them why they are people of faith, or why they are Christians, there are some rather common answers that you’d get. Some would say, “I want to go to Heaven.” Others would say, “I don’t want to go to Hell.” Go down the line a little more and someone would add, “I was born in America, so I’m a Christian.” Someone might even say, “I’m not a Christian. I don’t want anyone telling me what to do or how to live!” Do any of those ring a bell?

To me, all of these statements miss the point. They are misguided, and sometimes even selfish. It isn’t about going to Heaven or not going to Hell. Imagine that you visit your grandma, and you ask her why she married your grandpa all those years ago, and her answer is that she did it for the money, or because she didn’t want to be stuck in the loser town she lived in as a kid. “What? Grandma, I thought you loved Grandpa?!” you might say. “Well,” she replies, “he’s okay, but I’m just lookin’ for that big house and nice car.”

Or, let’s imagine a father that sacrifices the core of his life to raise a little girl. He drops his own dreams of adventure and wealth, and trades it all in to make sure she has the best life he can give her. He feeds her. He holds her. He nurses her injuries. He teaches her. He gives her everything that he can. He gives her his very self. But, in turn, when she’s a teenager, she angrily tells him that she just wants to leave and be on her own. She doesn’t need him controlling her life. The only reason she stays is so she won’t be on the street. To her, he’s a resource…a means to an end. To him, she is his heart. He’s in it for the relationship.

You see, Christians are often missing the point. It’s not about getting the big house (Heaven). It’s not about being stuck in that loser town (Hell). God isn’t out to “control” our lives. It isn’t about following all the rules. I mean, you can give it a try if you want, but you’ll just end up beat up and worn out. I’ve seen it in others and I’ve felt it in myself.

Here’s the deal, God is not sitting up on some cloud waiting to strike you for doing something wrong. He doesn’t hate you for your mistakes. He doesn’t have a list of criteria that you must perfectly meet in order to gain His approval. People are sometimes pretty good at making their checklists of do’s and don’ts, but God is not about that.

The truth is that God has given us His heart. God has already demonstrated His love for us by giving us His Grace, His Son, Himself. He wants to walk with us. He wants us in His life. He has orchestrated all of history to bring all of us back to Him. The point is that God is all about the relationship.

You may think I’m kind of crazy; maybe a little too over-zealous for all things Christian. That’s okay. I don’t mind. When you really love someone, you don’t really care what everyone else thinks, and that’s where I’m at with God. I love Him, and I’m in it for the relationship.

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