“When all you do is jump through hoops to try to get to God, it is easy to either give up or to get weird trying to earn God’s favor.” (Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton in More Jesus, Less Religion).
“Giving up, or getting weird,” I chuckled when I read the authors’ words, because I’ve tasted each. Relating to God solely on the basis of jumping through all the “right” hoops results in one of two things – either we get exhausted trying to do all the right things and avoiding all the wrong things; or, we become so detached from the world, others simply view us as weird.
How are we to engage the world, and thereby remain relatable – yet avoid being “of the world” by which we are no different than those around us? God calls us to be holy just as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). The Greek word for holy (hagios) means “different or set apart” – something that is designated for a sacred use. We’re set apart from the world for a purpose, and that purpose is not to be weird, but to be used! We’re not to be so removed and aloof that the world has no access to us.
If we’re totally out of touch with others, we convey the message that both we and our God are unavailable – and nothing could be further from the truth! God is holy, yet He makes Himself available to any and all who call upon Him. If that’s the way God is holy, shouldn’t we remain available and relatable as well? How will we be a bridge between others and Christ if we never connect with them?
Give it some thought – what message are you sending to those outside the faith – that God is approachable and relevant? Or He’s out of touch and impossible to reach? –Dave
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