Thursday, June 4, 2015

Who's Minding The Shop Anyway?

Do You Have Room In Your Heart?

We could all agree there are some pretty lame Christian sayings out there. I sometimes wonder how in the world we fall for them. You've probably heard this popular quote, "God helps those who help themselves."

It's not in the bible.

In fact, it contradicts the entire storyline of the bible. 

Think about it, if you could help yourself you wouldn't need God. The truth is, God helps those who can't help themselves. Remember, you were dead? Dead in your sin until God raised you?

There are hundreds of sayings that we hear and take for granted, but they're just not true. And, they have nothing to do with the gospel. Here's another favorite of ours - we hear it a lot at Christmas. You have probably been asked this by many a preacher from the pulpit on Christmas eve. "Have you made room for Jesus?", or, "We're all innkeepers, will you let Jesus in?" The misleading teaching says that we are all innkeepers and we get to decide if there's room for Jesus.

While this thinking is quite popular,

it's not the storyline of the Bible either.

To put ourselves in the position of the innkeeper with the discernment and power to let Jesus in or keep him out, completely disregards God's sovereignty, his onewayness, and his ability to overpower our weak and petty motivations.

It reduces the gospel to a moralistic road map that any of us can follow if we so choose. 

Honestly, when given the choice would you have chosen Jesus?

Even now, do you choose Jesus? I'm not talking about desire. I'm talking about doing. Does the way you spend your time, resources and talents reflect choosing Jesus over the things of this world? Uh, neither.

We are more like the innkeepers who respond, "There is no room in the inn, move along."

I heard these words this morning:

I'm not going to church.
I'm not praying.
I'm not reading the bible.

Not my words. Someone else out there...

I was grateful for the honesty. No mask. No pretense. No holier than thou blah blah blah. No yada yada yada about how they went through a painful time and now they're good to go.

Just gut-wrenching honesty...

...if you listen closely, you might hear something else...

...there is no vacancy.

Do you feel like that? I do. I feel like I don't have room for him or all of the religious baggage that comes along with the Jesus road trip.

But here's the deal. 

Jesus is not standing around waiting for me to post a vacancy sign on my heart. 

He's not anxious about whether I will let him in because the truth is, Jesus doesn't need a room. Jesus is the room. That is astounding good news. Especially from where I'm sitting these days.

But it gets better. All that religious baggage I think he moves in with? Not true. Jesus travels light. In fact, all by himself.

Jesus Didn't Need An RV 

One reason all of this matters is that I don't have to be anxious about whether or not Jesus will go find somewhere else more inviting to stay. In other words, If I'm not "making room for Jesus" he is not waiving good-bye and moving on. 

At some point this whole analogy breaks down, but the crucial point is, 

I belong to Jesus, 

and nothing I do or think or say can ever change that. 

His love for me and for you is bigger, more mysterious, and beyond anything we can understand right now. So, if you're going through a rough time, if you have doubts you just can't resolve for the moment, if you have questions no one can answer, it's o.k. Don't stress. Jesus isn't.

There's one more reason this is a big deal. The more we come to understand the truth that Jesus doesn't come with any baggage, the more we will grasp the true gospel. He had no home to welcome his birth. Jesus traveled with no place to lay his head. No donkeys loaded down with his belongings. He didn't show up with a bell man delivering trunks of wares. Jesus didn't have an RV. 


That's what Jesus travels with.

Which mean no rule books, no secret codes, no exams or homework, no court orders, no questionnaires, no membership guidelines, no entrance requirements, no clubs. There is no denomination, systematic theology, church discipline manual, or seminary ethics course needed.

He comes and He never leaves - regardless of your "youness."


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