Keeping God In A Box

I was raised to believe that if you didn’t follow certain standards, then you probably weren’t saved. I was taught that if you had a tv, you were lost. If your wife wears pants then shes a reprobate. If you eat at a restaurant that sells alcohol then you’re a drunk. If you have a secular job that requires working on sunday then you are a God hating reprobate. These and many other ridiculous traditions were what I grew up hearing and believing. But as I grew older, I started seeing something interesting. The older I got, the more I realized that the churches I grew up in and around that preached all these ridiculous standards and traditions were all sitting stagnant. Nobody ever got saved in them anymore. They were never actively trying to engage the community in the things of God, though they were very quick to ridicule the community for wearing the wrong clothes or for watching tv. I noticed that these churches are crying about nobody coming to church, but they are quick to run someone off from the church for not having the correct standards. I’ve noticed that they criticize the southern baptist young people for being worldly, yet they do nothing to reach the young people in the community for Christ.
The more I sit back and watch, the more I see them putting God in their little box then preaching that nobody cares about the things of God anymore. They keep God in their box, yet complain that the church won’t grow. It’s truly sad to think that there are people that could be reached with the gospel, but the church is more interested in whether or not they have any standards. It’s a sad reality that young people are moving away from the church and toward the streets because the church refuses to let them participate in anything unless they live perfect.
Here’s a newsflash: God does not fit in your box! Why would anybody want to be a part of an orginazation or denomination that keeps God in their box and refuses to move forward for God all in the name of living right? The God that I serve can use anybody He wants to! The power of God is not limited to those who have certain standards.
Take for example the dresscode of preachers. Nothing in scripture even comes close to saying that a suit and tie is required in order to preach the gospel. Independent baptists argue that it is a respect thing. Ok. I agree that the preacher should show respect for the office he holds, but just because he isn’t wearing a suit and tie doesn’t mean that he’s not respectful. I usually wear a suit and tie when I preach or teach, but there have been times when I did not. Miraculously, God still chose to use me even in the times I wasn’t wearing a tie. John the Baptist wasn’t wearing the finest clothes of his day, yet God still used Him.
The point is that God is much bigger than your box. As christians we should strive to walk as close to the Lord as we can, but we must realize and understand that nobody is perfect. God can still use a man if he’s not wearing a tie. God can still heal a broken heart regardless of divorce. God can move amongst His people even when we’re not perfect.
Don’t put God in a box. Don’t limit the power of God. It’s not our job to police people, it’s our job to point people. We are not called to fix, but to follow. Those who keep God in a box must only endure their salvation. Salvation can be enjoyed, not endured. God’s power is not limited to a certain genre of music, a certain dress code, or a certain lifestyle. If we could truly believe that God is not limited to man’s standards, then we could really start reaching others for Christ.
There are people who are hurting. They have tatoos. They’ve been divorced. They’ve done drugs. They smoke cigarettes. They bear the marks of sin and have the regrets of living of a life without Christ, but now they just need someone to love them and point them to Christ. They don’t need to be fixed, they need to be saved. I don’t know about you, but I desire to reach those that nobody else cares about. Those that the churches deem to sinful and dirty. Those that don’t meet the church’s standards. Those that can’t afford a suit and tie. Those that have no money to give to the church. That’s the kind of people I want to reach. Trying to make sinners live right is like trying to make a cat bark. It’s just not natural. They just need Jesus and He will take care of the rest. May God help me to be willing to reach someone regardless of their clothes, their past, or their lifestyle!

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