Check the Box
The Masters Golf Tournament is going on in Augusta. To play in that tournament you must have a more intense relationship with golf than merely checking the "I play golf" box. It is possible to have a relationship with God that is essentially of the "check the box" variety. One way that we know it when this is our approach is when we want to help God by being gatekeepers to His kingdom. We want to make sure people have checked all the correct doctrine boxes (the correct doctrine boxes being the ones we have checked). In the Bible we find a different approach. From Nicodemus (John 3) to Zacchaeus (Like 19), the Samaritans (John 4), the disciples and others (Matthew 4, Mark 3, Luke 5, John 1), each person was invited by Jesus into a relationship marked by life-transforming belief in Him. Life-transforming belief in Christ made someone a disciple (John 8:31). Belief in Christ was the qualifier that opened the door to the kingdom of God for prostitutes, tax collectors and religious leaders. Church, are we giving people excuses not to believe in God because they see the weakness of a "check the box" kind of faith? AW Tozer writes, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us … For this reason, the gravest question before the church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at any time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.” In Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 we read, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know what they are doing. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” When we see God as He is and not as we are, it raises the bar on our discipleship immensely.