On-Demand God, the God who responds to fair and selfless requests the way we would; like a genie in a bottle, does not exist. While we have permission to ask God to ask God for anything, God has the right to say “no” to our requests. God my not give us what we ask for, but he will give us what we need: sustaining grace.
Body-guard God…the God who doesn't allow bad things to happen to good people…the God that will protect you from all things harmful, does not exist. Your personal circumstances do not (necessarily) coincide with God’s feelings about you. God’s apparent inactivity in your life is not a reflection of his existence, presence or activity in the world…or your world.
There was once a version of Christianity that was awe-inspiring. Once upon a time . . . Jesus stood against the injustice of an empire and the hypocrisy of the temple. He introduced God as Father. He taught his followers to love their enemies and forgive everyone. Jesus never wrote a word or traveled farther than he could walk. But he taught a way of thinking, believing, and behaving that, though it was foreign and seemingly impractical, changed the world forever. Jesus isn’t finished changing the world.
Is our version…your version of Christianity worth the price paid for it? What does that version look like? The New Testament records that early Christians didn’t fear loss or even death. They were humble because their confidence wasn’t in themselves; it was in Jesus. That faith in who Jesus was and what he had done for them freed them to boldly love others. Does our faith look like that?
With danger and uncertainty in the world…with division, violence, terrorism and mainstream and social media filled with stories that feed fear…in an election year with a nation that is utterly divided, filled with anger and angst and divisive rhetoric, it’s difficult not to be anxious and afraid, to take sides and to operate out of fear. But Jesus offers us another option.
Making a promise is easy. Keeping a promise is much harder. Yet, despite our sin, God keeps his promise…a promise that the door will always be open to a relationship with him. So, what’s keeping you from taking God up on his promise?
In life, we tend to experience labels. Many times we battle internal labels, but some of us get public labels that we hate. One of the most significant people in the lineage of Jesus had a label that she carried for the rest of her life, and in spite of that, we discover that regardless of what our labels, our pasts or our reputations might suggest, God is able to do something big through us all, if we are willing.