Are You Putting God in a Box?

Are You Putting God in a Box?

[guestpost]This article has been refreshed from May 2012. I believe it is still true today.[/guestpost]
New York City ChurchSo who’s right? You? Your pastor? The Pope? The head of some denomination? The group of church leaders when they vote? Which leaders? Or perhaps the “who’s right” question isn’t the right one because we’re putting God in a box by asking it that way.

Perhaps each one of us is right in how we hear God for ourselves. He can talk to each one of us, right? So in effect, can each one of us hear differently, and still be right?

And what happens when you hear differently from me? Or one pastor hears differently from another? Or one group of church leaders does one thing in the name of God, and another group does something very different?

There are many examples of this kind of divisive religiosity, but one stands out in my mind. During the period of the US Civil War, both the Union and Confederate sides of the conflict appealed to Christianity and Scripture in support of their respective positions, including both slavery and anti-slavery beliefs. Both certainly could not be right!

Sure, we can misunderstand what we believe we hear from God. And there have been plenty of falsehoods taught in the name of Christianity for two thousand years. But is everybody wrong except me? Or you? Or – who???

And what is Christianity about after all? Was Jesus all about love and forgiveness and acceptance, as He demonstrated in his interaction with the woman caught in adultery? (John 8:2-11) Or was He about making things right, such as with the money-changers and merchants He threw out of the temple? (John 2:13-17)

How are we to make sense of all these questions? After all, the stakes could be pretty high if we get it wrong. No wonder so many people pretty much give up on this Christianity thing, and go for some personal version of “relative truth.”

A Different View

I’m writing this way not because I’m confused or disillusioned or questioning my Christian faith. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more solid in my relationship with Jesus, or happier in living out the plan He has for me to the best of my ability. I’m comfortable and confident in my beliefs, while acknowledging we will always have more to learn about God.

But I am troubled by so many I see who claim to be speaking for God, or speaking the truth, who show more concern for building their own kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God.

We should strive for excellence in whatever God has given us to do. But none of it is about you and me. It’s not about my comfort, my fame, or my feelings. It’s not about the size of my church, or how many buy my book, or watch my TV program. It’s not MY kingdom I’m building!

And whenever you and I forget that, we’re doing God and His Kingdom a disservice. We risk putting a stumbling block in the way of others who desperately need to experience God for themselves.

God is too big to fit into any of our boxes, religious or otherwise. His Kingdom is as big as the universe. And each of us will have to answer to HIM one day.

So if anyone asks, Jesus is the only way to heaven. That’s why He came, and what I’ll spend all my life and energy to proclaim in whatever way possible.

And on just about anything else, please don’t put God in a box! And let Him worry about who’s right.

[reminder]Have you seen God put in a box? What can you do about it?[/reminder]

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