Many have taken to the “140 characters or less” way of life that Twitter offers, and the “a picture is worth a thousand words” that Instagram provides. We want to read less, but know more. We want to be better informed, but many lack the motivation to dig deep and do the critical research and determine for themselves where they stand. It’s easier to listen to someone else and follow them than to figure it out on my own.
We see it with the uproar on both political sides of the fence from the passage of the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in Indiana in the last few days, but it’s been present LONG before the advent of any of our modern day conveniences…
“just cut to the chase” or some variation of that phrase is a mantra that many (sometimes including myself) live by. While we’ve recognized a good deal of success from this, we’re also missing out on a lot. We want the fast food mentality to permeate much, if not all, of our lives, but then we feel less fulfilled, less complete, and less knowledgable about a given topic.
And it has indeed permeated all of our lives - even our faith. Many think they know what the Bible says, but aren’t able to find it in the Bible, and at times, find that traditions or quotes from years/decades/centuries ago have become Biblical in our minds without being included in the Bible anywhere. Things like “all men are created equal” (from the Declaration of Independence) or “God only helps those who help themselves” or “God won’t give you more than you can handle” - not one of these statements are in the Bible.
Historically, genetically, personally, and eternally, yes, we’re equal - we come from the same two people, we’ve all sinned, and we’ll all stand before Jesus (this can be confirmed Scripturally). BUT, the statement in the Declaration of Independence is not found in the Bible.
“God only helps those who help themselves” is nowhere in the Bible, and is attributed to Ben Franklin, but is actually a quote from Algernon Sydney in 1698 in a writing on governmental policies (ironic, no?). Not only is it not in the Bible, it’s a lie. God helps the helpless. (Romans 5:6-8, 2 Cor. 5:21) It’s not an excuse for inactivity, but it’s also not in the Bible and has misled MANY people to “earn” God’s love and favor.
“God won’t give you more than you can handle” - it’s a gross misrepresentation of 1 Cor. 10:13 but the truth is, He’ll give you FAR MORE than you can handle so your dependence on yourself will not be enough and you’ll have no other option but to call out to Him!! Read more about it here - http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/yes-god-will-give-you-more-you-can-handle
So, what?? What’s your point? What are you saying, Pastor Jason?
I’m saying this - you’ll get OUT of your life what you put IN to your life. You’ll get OUT of your faith what you put IN to your faith. You’ll get OUT of your marriage what you put IN to your marriage. Get the point?
Christianity is NOT for the faint of heart, nor is it for those only willing to “dip their toes” to try it out. It takes a FULL COMMITMENT EVERY DAY. In fact, I saw a shirt a year or two ago that I almost bought because of the truth of it - with ANYTHING you’re doing (including your faith).
So now what? What do we do with this? You DIG DEEP. You OWN YOUR FAITH. You PRIORITIZE and SACRIFICE THE TIME to get to know Jesus more - to LOVE Jesus more - to SERVE Jesus more. Why? Because King Solomon said this - “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter [of life, of relationships, of work, of parenting, of marriage, of faith] - Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man…” (Ecc. 12:13-14)
So we just do it. Every. Damn. Day.