So far, we’ve learned that a ‘God box’ is anything that keeps God’s Spirit from moving and stifles transformation (e.g., walls, business, religious rules and practices, and passivity). To be free, we must devote, love, transform and be transformed through discipleship. Worship God through action, not religion. Give of time, talents, and treasures first to honor God and love people. Fine. But what can we do with our newfound freedom?
With no God box, the Spirit moves; we can move. And where the Spirit is, there is freedom (2Corinthians 3:17)! We can be joyful and empowered as God’s partners led by His Spirit! Being and making disciples becomes a reality as we build deeper relationships than are possible in one hour a week. Our transformation happens as we move by the Spirit and are illuminated spiritually and scripturally once the restrictions are gone. Healing, love, and intimate prayer become possible when we are face-to-face instead of passively existing side-by-side in an experiential state during a typical service. And we can be God-fearing Christ-followers by focusing on Their instructions instead of human religious rules and practices. Thus, we can worship freely with like-minded Christ-followers of different backgrounds. Religious constraints on things like Communion, prayer, and baptism, which were done freely and intimately without segregation in the earliest Church, disappear. We can build intimate relationships beneficial for spiritual growth, discipleship, and charity. After all, we can’t give to and for what we aren’t aware of!
Speaking of giving, we can be free to care for others in unimaginable ways without the box. In my decades as a churchgoer, I never heard anything like, “Please, give first to care for people and then, if you’re able, give to the church’s business” from the pulpit. Yet, that’s what God commands (e.g., Matthew 22:39 & 25:31-46). Joanne and I visited a home church for a few weeks many years ago and witnessed firsthand the freeing effect of ditching the box. Without a church-imposed financial obligation, and being in such an intimate setting, we learned of others’ needs and finally had resources to help. Obedience to God’s order to love became possible! By the way: The Old Covenant tithe was used for Temple upkeep and an inheritance for the priests and their families. Now, we are encouraged to give without compulsion or limits (2Corinthians 9:7) to care for others and bring God’s Kingdom near to the yet-to-be-churched (see my first article in this God Box series for more information).
In summary, God, people, and discipleship first—religion second. Let’s lighten things up in the following article, where you’ll learn about my ‘faith-based’ computer skills. PS: Don’t tell anyone I couldn’t do my job without help!
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley