Christianity Isn’t About Following a Checklist

Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

A Bunch of “Do’s and Don’ts?

To the ‘unchurched’ or non-Christian, Christianity could understandably be seen as following a checklist or a bunch of “do’s and don’ts”; adhering to a list that will enable us to have a sense of purpose and significance. The irony is Christianity isn’t primarily about following a list, or being given a sense of significance and purpose in our lives, but it’s about becoming less significant and putting our focus on Christ.

Don’t get me wrong here. We are precious to God. He loves us and dearly wants us to know Him through trusting in Jesus’ death for our sins and being born again a spiritual child of His. However one key ingredient to maturing as a Christian, let alone becoming a Christian, is to have a healthy understanding and view of God and ourselves. As we read through the Bible and learn about God and what He stands for we realise that we are all sinful, in rebellion to God. We all deserve death. We all deserve eternal separation from God. God would be just if He saved no one from eternal destruction in hell. Sounds judgmental and harsh? – Have a read of 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, Ephesians 5:6 and Romans 1 and 3 to get a healthy perspective of our position before God and what the just consequences are. Despite what many Christians refuse to voice or even teach, the Bible teaches that God condemns all people… apart from the saving grace of Christ. That is an extremely confronting reality, but it is critical to appreciate that so that we accept the mercy and grace of God with the right attitude and heart.

The Route of Our Problem is Pride

Understanding ourselves before God is critical, but even more critical is our understanding of God, or in other words, Theology. Many Christians see theology and biblical doctrine/teachings as something for those who are more ‘serious’ in their faith, those who are leaders in the church. “Just tell me what I need to do” “Tell me what’s in it for me in being a Christian”. Common attitudes like these, held by many Christians, subtly hide the root of our problem to start with – pride. It’s not about us, it’s about Christ! It’s not about what I need to do to be right with God, it’s about what Christ has DONE for us to be saved and presented as righteous before God. It’s not about what ‘I will get’, but what God has sacrificed; what God has given up so that we can have a restored relationship with Him.

Theology – Critical for Every Christian

Although application of our faith is critical, and indeed by definition required, Christianity is firstly about knowing who God is and how He thinks and how He works. It’s about building a relationship with Him. We can’t mature in our relationship with God if we don’t learn about Him. We won’t understand it all, but that doesn’t mean we don’t stop trying. Theology is critical for EVERY Christian to embrace if we are sincere in our commitment to Christ. As we learn more about God we are drawn to worship Him and appreciate our need for His grace more. This keeps us humble and teachable which allows the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit or good works that the Bible advocates. However the fruit that is produced in our lives is a result of the transformation within, the new heart that God gives to those who accept the work that Christ did for us on the cross, dieing for our sins. It is not based on our legalistic efforts to work our way into God’s ‘good books’ but accepting our need for God to work in our lives to see change. We will also begin to realise the boundaries that God places in our lives through the Bible are a means to experiencing His blessings, not a ball and chain “keeping us from life’s pleasures”.

So let’s stop focusing on ourselves, our efforts and what we will receive. Let’s focus on Christ. Let’s focus on learning about God. As we do we will learn much more about ourselves and through the help of the Holy Spirit produce the fruit that only comes from roots that are deep into God’s Word and a committed relationship with Him.

Advertisements

10 responses to “Christianity Isn’t About Following a Checklist

  1. Bible Study

    Let me ask you a question. Do you think it is ok for Christians to have sex before marriage, or drink 12 budlights in 2 hours? How much liberty are you speak of here. Please answer the questions I have presented with a yes/no answer then elaborate. Thank you.

    • Hi Bible Study.

      Simply speaking I don’t believe the Bible condones any sex outside of marriage (1Cor 6:15-20). Sexual intimacy is a blessing of God for those who are married as given in Gen 1-2. As far as drinking, I don’t have a problem with that, however clearly getting drunk is not appropriate (Rom 13:13). I would say 12 budlights (not sure what they are – assuming they are a high alcohol concentration) is not the wisest move.

      May I ask why you asked those specific questions?

      I am not sure if I am speaking about our liberty as Christians in this post, but more emphasizing that our focus is not about what we do and don’t do, but rather building our relationship with Christ. If we are sincere in our relationship with Christ, we will slowly detest more and more the sinful acts we commit and turn from them with a repentant heart by the grace of God.

      In saying that we will always struggle with sin, and that is the beauty of God’s grace. We can learn to be more like Him without the fear of being condemned if we stuff up because we are blanketed by Christ’s justifying work on our lives.

      In summary I feel if we focus on “not” sinning, the power of sin will become more alluring as we have a rebellious tendency within us. I think the best way to not sin or obey God is to focus on knowing and worshiping Christ and the Holy Spirit will be allowed to blossom more in our lives. So it becomes all about God’s enabling of us and not about our effort.

      I hope that helps clarify some things 🙂

  2. Bible Study

    Stu, I follow your blog regularly. I wanted to make sure I understood how you believe. To answer your question, I will refer you to my site so you can see where i am coming from. Check this out. There are other studies when you click on the bible study articles link on top. Check this out then get back to me here if you have any other questions about me or my beliefs, or why I asked these questions. Again, I enjoy the interaction on your blog.

  3. And I must tell you, my comments were not moderated until now. I have to tell you I feel a lack of respect in that. If you wish for me not to comment any longer on your blog, just tell me. I will delete it from my favorites and move on. I don’t want to trouble anyone.

  4. Hi Bible Study,

    I noticed your comment was held back for review prior to going live. In talking with Don we realised the reason this happened is that you had a link in the post. We have set up the website to automatically withhold publication of any comment containing links until we’ve checked that the link connects to a suitable site. Although these are almost always ok from those who comment regularly, we don’t want a new person to comment and put up an inappropriate link. We value your comments and definitely didn’t intentionally moderate your last one other than for the reason noted.

    I will enable your other comment. I will also have more of a read of your blog page. It’s good to learn from each other. I must say though, the challenge I find with blogging is that meanings within the post can be misread at times, in particular the more complex theological topics. It’s hard at times to articulate the message you want to say. Also you don’t know how someone else interprets the language.

    I think over time people get a good feel for where one is coming from.

    I look forward to reading more input from you.

    Many thanks,

    Stu

    • Soli dio gloria

      For the last 2 weeks, we have had the privilege of hearing Matt Chandler at the Village Church, Flower Mound, Dallas, TX. Culturally, this is definitely not my taste, but the approach and the message he brings is one with which I find great affinity.
      Todays message (17th October) is very much to the point of this discussion (checklists), and coincidentally deals with other more recent subjects such as church leadership. The link to the sermon download is here [3MP Audio File].
      Todays download is not yet available, but it will be there in a few days.
      I think you will find a number of threads here that will help you. This is the ministry of a young man currently under treatment for cancer, with a clear grasp of what it means to be an Evangelical, and to serve Christ in our own day and generation.

      Brethren feel free to moderate this as you with. It is your right to do so!

  5. Bible Study

    Stu, I agree there are many misunderstandings with blogging. There are just so many who have not agreed with me and started witholding my comments. That is ok, but I believe we all will not always agree, but should have a right to express ourselves as long as we don’t disrespect one another. How else would we learn from one another? There are a few blogs that I frequent and enjoy the interaction, I am learning more everyday. This blog being one of them. I have no plans to stop visiting your blog. You seem very personable and easy going, someone for productive discussion of the scripture. There are so many who refuse someone who doesn’t totally agree with them, this just sets up more division I believe. Anyway, thanks for your response, I’m sure I will see you around. May God bless all who share the true word of God in spirit and in truth that the lost may see and that all may learn of this man called Jesus. Oh and the only reason I added that link was to direct you to my blog in order to answer your question. I will try not to do that in the future unless absolutely necessary.

  6. Hi Bible Study,

    Thanks for your kind words. I think it’s good we don’t always agree, as how do we sharpen one another. I am often quite humbled by how God teaches us. Sometimes the greatest lesson is the humbling process in itself. Our walk with Christ is often a sobering one, but how rewarding and fulfilling it is! May God help us all to continue to grow in our faith and understanding of Him.

    Chat soon,

    stu

  7. I agree that walking with Christ is very sobering. He gave us the perfect example of humility, which is very hard to follow, if not impossible, in the flesh. I learn the most from those I don’t agree with myself, I love discussing and debating the scripture. I look forward to doing that with you and others here on your blog for hopefully years to come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s