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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Do We Misrepresent God?

There are so very many uplifting and encouraging Scripture verses...

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

"If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible unto you."

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you."

They're wonderful, but often they don't work. We can't do all things, and much that we would like to accomplish remains out of reach.

And some doors stay closed, and we are given a stone rather than a loaf.

Many new Christians see the dichotomy, and look at preachers who see God's favor in obtaining a preferred parking spot, and conclude that Christianity is a sham. They drift away to Eastern religion, to New Age, or to an unfocused agnosticism.

Are we using "sound bite Scripture" to misrepresent God? Are we replacing the Man of Sorrows with Hello Kitty?

Sometimes, perhaps we are.

"Doing all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" means that one can do all through Christ who strengthens us. But Jesus was not a frivolous Savior, dispensing strength for whatever one wanted. He dispensed, and still gives, the kind of strength He needed to survive Calvary.

Not to swing a lucrative business deal

And the mustard seed...the point, I think, is that we don't have that perfect faith possessed by a seed. Through Adam's sin we have doubt mixed with our faith - always.

We can't move mountains just because we say, "Move!"

And when we ask, what are we asking for? Are we looking for grace, seeking after salvation, or are we using this passage as justification for "blab it and grab it"?

Are we knocking on the door to God's heart, or the door to the Ferrari dealership? Will He open both? Or does the door we choose make all the difference in the world?

The Bible isn't a collection of magic spells, and our wildest temporal dreams won't come true if we just believe hard enough.

It 's a guide to Salvation, and the path has been made for us. But those aren't the tracks of Air Jordans, and the aroma we smell is not Vera Wang for Men.

We walk in the path trodden by bare feet, weighted down by a Cross

What we smell is blood.

That's Christianity.


  1. What this post needs is a LIKE button.

  2. Yes! We absolutely do misrepresent God with our bumper-sticker theology.

    Some of that misrepresentation is unintentional and, perhaps, unavoidable. We cannot give someone full insight into the heart of God in a single conversation. So, we try to shine a little truth...and fall way short.

    Other times, though, we are flat out misusing scripture taken completely out of context.

    Like the "I can do all things..." scripture. As you've pointed out, that is thru Christ and in His strength. Even more though, in the context in which the Apostle Paul penned those words, he was speaking of learning to be content whether in riches or poverty. The "all things" being specifically referred to was being content with living in poverty in a prison cell...not asking for a Mercedes!

    Great post, Andrew! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your insight, Joe! You added a lot, and I appreciate it.

      I agree that much of the time - probably most of the time - the misrepresentation is not intentional. It's a result of hope, wishes, and the fact that we live in a society in which most of us are doing pretty well.

      That's not where Jesus walked. His Words have to be seen through the lens of a hard life, made more dangerous by a brutal occupying force and intrigue among His own people. It's about as far from 2013 America as you can get!