The Foolishness of a 'No-Boxes-to-Check' Faith
You’ve heard of this, and maybe even experienced it…something bad happened and you think that going to church will help. Especially since Communion will be served. So, you go, knowing how guilty you feel and you sit through the service and as you leave, you feel as if a giant boulder has been lifted off your shoulders. Whew!!! You just completed your religious duty to free your conscience, and now you’re good to go. At least until next time, right?
Let me tell you about Jim. Jim’s a member of our church and many years ago, he lived out this reality. He would go to church in order to receive forgiveness and grace. No, Jim’s not a bad guy, in fact, he’s a great guy, but if you talk to him, he’ll tell you that in order to feel that he was right with God, he had to do religious things and keep doing religious things and do even more religious things. This routine left him so spiritually weary that he felt like a religious runner running the Cleveland Marathon but with no finish line. He was living out a ‘check box’ religion, but there were just too many boxes to check!
Many people approach Easter in this way: I’ll go to church and check off that box. Going to church once, or twice, a year should be good enough ... right?
During the times of Jesus, many people were trying to live a ‘check box’ religion, and Jesus came out very strongly against that type of belief. Why? Here are a few thoughts…
1) What, or who, defines how many boxes you have to check and when?
2) It becomes a circumstantial faith. Life’s good = a few boxes. Life’s bad = more boxes.
3) There’s never an end. How do you know when you’ve checked enough religious boxes?
4) It creates fear and anxiety instead of hope. What if I didn’t check enough boxes? What if I didn't check the right boxes? What if I don't check the boxes in time? What if...?
As you consider Easter, the question becomes, “Are you going to demonstrate a 'check box' religion, or are you going to experience the true grace-filled faith of Easter?”
When you embrace the no-boxes-to-check, grace-filled truth of Easter, you begin to recognize that because of the free gift of grace from God, as a result of Jesus dying on the cross and conquering death, there aren’t any boxes to check! What this means is that God has checked all of the boxes for you! Gone is the ambiguity, gone is the circumstantial faith, gone is the never-ending feeling of ‘have I done enough’, and gone is the fear and anxiety.
A faith that doesn’t have boxes to check? Really? This might sound foolish, but its the type of faith that Jesus taught. Jesus has checked all the boxes so that you don’t have to worry about it. All you must do is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you’ll be saved (Acts 16:31).”
Foolishness? That’s what Jim thought until he really met Jesus, because when he met Jesus, he began to realize that Jesus checked all the boxes for him.
Will you give up your ‘check box’ religion this Easter, or is that just too foolish?
Next time: The Foolishness of Knowing that You can be Good Enough.