Does He want you to believe the right things or act the right way? Does He want you to hold, and defend until death the “correct” teaching about Him? Or is God more concerned with how you live your life?
Let me put it to you another way. What do you think pleases God MOST about your life?
Is it when you’re diving into the deep end of the pool to study Him in all his glorious ways? When you’re learning more about Him? Or is it when you love your neighbors as you love yourself? When by faith and through choices you’re transformed into the likeness of Jesus?
What matters MOST to HIM?
Sorry, you can’t have it both ways
The easy answer is to say it’s both. God wants us to know the truth about Him and then to live out that truth. But that answer is not allowed in this discussion. I am asking which one takes priority? I am NOT asking us to discuss this in relation to soteriology.
Job, the man God brags about
Consider Job. Man, did he ever impress God. In fact, he brags about him to Satan. He may be holding Job up as the most eminent among all living humans. What was it that grabbed God’s attention and made his head turn?
I don’t think it was Job’s systematic theology, do you? Not if you asked his friends about it. According to them, Job was practically a heretic! They’re the ones who understood the deep things of God. But God wasn’t too impressed with them, was He? No, it was his blameless and upright life. And we don’t have to guess about this. God tells us in His own words:
“And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
Job knew enough about God to radically alter the way he lived. THAT’S what impressed God.
What did Jesus believe?
When they asked Jesus to sum up God’s entire moral code into one command, he gave two. They both deal with how we live: Love God and love your neighbor. God wants each of us to have Him as King and then to treat every person around us the way our King commands. Both of those broad categories have behavior as the key component. The Epistles and the early church fathers all say the same thing. God wants us to live a certain way.
It appears American Christianity is more concerned with understanding the ways of God than living by them. We want to examine all facets of every doctrine. We search for more and more insight into the very deepest corners of the infinite mind of God. Of course we NEVER even get close! It’s as if God has drawn a line in the sand or posted a sign that says “No Trespassing!”
We can fall into the trap of thinking God’s goal is that we have more information about Him. But is that what He wants? Is that the object of the Christian life? Does God want us to have more and more information about who He is? Simply for the sake of having our theology wrapped up in a nice box and stored on our bookshelves?
Ask your Neighbor
I heard a missionary tell a story about a primitive culture they were working in. When a new convert came to Christ, they’d teach them to love their neighbor. They taught them what it meant and how it looked and how they should do it. Then then they sent them out to do it.
In a week or two, the people of the church would ask the unbelieving neighbor how the new convert was doing. “Is he treating you like you want to be treated?” If the answer was “NO!” then they would go over the lesson again and send him back out to live his faith. When he finally got it right, they would move on to the next thing.
How’s that for a discipleship course?
Don’t misunderstand me. I LOVE theology! It’s so much easier to study about God and the Christian faith than it is to live it. Isn’t it? But imagine a world where Christians live out what they already know about God. There would be a lot more Mother Teresa’s than theologians.
That’s my take. Now it’s your turn. What do you think is most important to God, how we live or what we believe? Why do you see it that way?
If you liked this post, you should check out this one: Does God Care about Our Theology?
Does He want us to believe the right things or act the right way? Is His primary concern that we believe the right doctrine or that we behave the way he created us to behave? Does He want us to hold to and defend until death the “correct” teaching about Him? Or is God more concerned with how we choose to live our lives?
Think about it before you gather up the kindling to burn me alive for the heretic that you think I am.
Mother Teresa or John Calvin?
Does it please God more when we give ourselves to study every facet of his character, diving into the deep end of the pool to contemplate God in all his ways or when we devote our lives to living according to those ways? Put another way, do you think that God was more pleased with John Calvin Read the rest of this entry