Oftentimes, people fall victim to relativism (the idea that all religions are equal and just are expressions of their own “truth) because of common ideals (ideals are incorrect assumptions of what they believe) about God.
In other words, people either are told or assume things about belief in God that are frankly untrue. (From now on, when I say God, I am referring to only the God of the Christian bible and the Father of Jesus Christ).
These five ideals are adapted from The Red Dragon Cast Down by E. James Wilder
1. Ideal Protection
When we come to believe in God, there is something in us that says, ‘Okay, now you are protected from all pain and harm and will live a life free of problems.’ Wrong. A relationship with God is never promised to be safe, free of pain, or a life of full protection from harm.
Why is this a problem? People generally turn to faith in dark or troubling moments. Thus, the “relief” found in God can be misinterpreted as full protection from all that was. Then, when life gets tough again (which all life is bound to), people stray from God because He wasn’t all He was cracked up to be.
We are a generation of comfort-seekers. We’ll do all we can to seek comfort. We’ll drift. We’ll float. We’ll change allegiances all because we believe comfort equals the good life.
Here’s where we go wrong.
If our motive is to seek comfort, then one should never put their faith in God. God does not promise comfort, but He does promise a fulfilling and full life. Was Mother Theresa comfortable serving for over three decades in Calcutta? Certainly not. Were any of the disciples comfortable or protected? 11 of the 12 are believed to have been crucified
2. Ideal Acceptance
Unconditional acceptance is another incorrect myth about God. We tend to steer away from this idea in mainline Protestant circles, but the God I read about is a God who is a Judge. In fact, He’s the ultimate Judge.
When a person rapes someone, He doesn’t turn a blind eye in the name of tolerance and goodness. No! He judges. He hates what is contaminated. Our ultimate goal is to bring GLORY back upon God. When we sin, we contaminate His glory and what He made good.
Why is this a problem? People want something that won’t get in their way. People want someone who won’t confront or provide boundaries. We buy into the myth that the sweetest freedom is one where we can do anything. Total anarchy. The problem is, God is not an anarchist. God is a Judge who sets rules and boundaries in ORDER to provide the best way of living for us so that we can bring glory to Him.
God does not just accept anything. Like a good washing machine, he take everything that is dirty but only if you are willing to be cleaned during the cycle.
3. Ideal Fairness
God introduces such unfair concepts as “mercy, grace, and forgiveness.” Read the parable of the farm laborers in Matthew 20:1-16. God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness are not fair. He’ll throw a party for the lost Son, leave the righteous behind in order to party hardy for the one who just returned. He’ll leave the 99 sheep so He can find the lost One. This isn’t “fair” from a Capitalist, economic standpoint.
Furthermore, life just isn’t fair. Why did my best friend win the Lottery when he’s a terrible person? Why is my marriage falling apart when those other two don’t even pray? Why did my son die when that family has six sons? Life is not fair. God is not fair.
Why is this a problem? We expect to get what we deserve. We expect to receive what we earned.
With God, we deserve nothing. It is ONLY because of HIS goodness and love that we are able to dwell with God at all. We didn’t do anything nor can ever do anything to deserve that. In Romans 9:13b-15: “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau. What can we cay? Was God being unfair? Of course not! For said said to Moses, ‘I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.’”
God’s fairness is in his sovereignty to choose as He decides; otherwise, fair (getting what you deserve) would not be fair at all. The creation (us) can’t demand from the Creator. We can’t earn from the Creator. God, in His fairness, created us and thus, we are solely dependent on Him alone. Therefore, would it be “fair” to demand life from Him? No. What is fair is that we humble ourselves, put our faith in Jesus Christ, and work out our salvation and life in utter obedience to this very fact. That’s fair – in God’s eyes.
4. Ideal Involvement
In our individualistic, consumerist society, we tend to feel that we deserve to be in constant contact with God. I mean, we can log onto the Internet at any point. We can call anyone at any time. We can text someone immediately. We can communicate instantly. Why when we pray doesn’t God answer immediately? Hmm. I don’t know exactly.
I laugh at books titled things like (and to be fair, I haven’t read it) “Six Prayers God Always Answers.” Have we really reduced God to a formula to ensure His involvement?
Why is this a problem? When people don’t feel that God is instantly involved in their life, they easily fall prey to communicating with whatever can be most involved in their lives. We must come to accept that God is silent sometimes. Many spiritual warriors before us have encountered similar silent experiences. We must trust that God knows better than us when to involve and when not to.
5. Ideal Respect
Let’s be honest: We desire things that bring us power and respect. This is our fallen nature. We want to do those things that give us power and respect.
However, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. He washed the dirty feet of his followers. He gave his life to a band of lowlifes to change the world. The Jews expected a King wielding a sword and leading an army against the Roman Empire. Instead, they got a King wielding a towel around his waist.
Jesus did not seek power, nor did he seek respect. Instead, he sought to follow and do what He saw His Father doing.
Why is this a problem? As mentioned earlier, people desire power and respect. If you can save a life and no one would ever know, would you do it? Would you do something to change the world if no one ever knew your name?
That is question everyone must wrestle with.
We must realign ourselves with truth, not ideals. In order to pull people from the hell-bound depths of relativism, we must blow up the “Trojan Horse” ideals and rebuild the God of the Bible piece by piece. This means, we must not expect full protection, complete acceptance, worldly fairness, immediate and all-the-time involvement, and respect and power from God.
What does God promise? That He will never leave nor forsake you. That He is working for the good in all things for those who love Him. That He has provided a place for you who puts your trust, hope, life, and faith in Jesus. That he will “bless” those who picked up their cross to follow Him and who fought to provide life for the “least of these.”
May you come to realign your ‘ideals’ with the true ideals of God.
What “ideals” do you need to blow up?