I’ve heard it often. You might have heard it, too. I’m talking about the “I can’t believe in Jesus because church people are so <fill in the blank>.” And so many excuses for non-belief are based around people who fail as much as anyone else does. Or, people come up with a God that has to fit THEIR parameters, as opposed to them conforming to His. Essentially, every excuse given has nothing to do with God, and everything to do with people and their expectations. And, if I’m honest, you’re setting the bar too low, if this is you. So here’s my question for you today: are you setting the bar too low?
If you’re to judge someone, you don’t judge them by their followers, but by the person themself. You wouldn’t judge Gandhi if one of his followers bombed a building. NO, you’d go back to his life and what he stood for (passive resistance, it’s passive resistance if you’ve never heard of him). In the same way, to judge a follower of Jesus by how imperfectly they follow Jesus is a similar problem. It’s not judging Jesus by how he taught, what he said, or what he believed, it’s judging people who took Jesus’ following for their own purposes, or failed in the following.
In the same way, to judge God by our own standards is to begin on a flawed premise: we’re imperfect, and so to throw imperfection on a perfect being, or to create standards God never sets for Himself is placing ourselves on His throne, and expecting Him to bow to our demands (certain professional [and now retired] athletes would do well to take notice). We can’t expect a designer and creator to bow to the whim of the one borrowing the design.
So what is the point of all of this? I dare to say that the burden of proof for Jesus does not rely on your standards, but rather the burden of proof relies on you to provide evidence to the contrary. The World is so ordered and fine-tuned in a way that suggests if something were off by a micron, life could not exist. Yet we, who are a vapor in the wind, who have, maybe, 80-100 years of existence, scream and shout and demand our way, and still don’t have it before we cease sucking air, better wise up! Because Eternity comes quicker than we think. If there is design, if there is a First Cause, than there is a Designer and those of us who live in His Creation are on borrowed time. Jesus gives us the Only real way out, and that Way is Himself. Better wise up and reconcile before you can’t.
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.