In my last blog, I explained that a ‘God box’ is anything that keeps God’s Spirit from moving and stifles convert transformation. Physical walls, a business focus, religious rules and practices, and a one-to-many approach during services from the fourth century top the list of God box building materials. Others include personal misconceptions, self-centeredness, and a lack of biblical training. Here, we’ll brainstorm things we can do to escape the box and become complete—perfect—in our relationship with God.
First, let’s break down the religious walls. To do this, we must devote all to God and focus on the Big-T tenants of our faith (see the last article). Remember that all else is secondary or church traditions, often built on bad theology (understanding God or His ways) or human religious doctrines. Don’t treat the secondary issues or human forms of practicing the Big-T stuff as soul-saving necessities.
Second, let’s break down the wall of self-centeredness. God commands us to honor Him and [actionably] love people. This is the prime directive. It’s OK to give to the church’s business (after all, we made it, we must feed it!), but don’t let that derail you from God’s command to give of time, talents, and treasure to care for His creation, again, especially people. Being outward-focused will help free you from self-centeredness.
Third, let’s break down the theological ignorance and spiritual immaturity wall. To be God-box-less, learn the truth of God’s Kingdom that will set you free. I’d say that this should be the first step in ditching the God box: you can’t honor what you don’t know or love well when you don’t understand true, action-oriented love. Understand that our one-to-many services leave little if any room for discipleship or movement by the Spirit. Today’s church service format is probably the boxiest part of the God box and incredibly stifling as well as enabling pew-warming freeloaders. What does freedom look like here? Make sure you don’t rely on Sunday morning alone for your discipleship, obedience to make disciples, or spiritual growth! There’s no substitute for regular Bible study (not devotionals!), life transformation groups offering study, prayer, accountability, and ongoing, never-ending discipleship.
Putting it all together. God called us to honor Him and love people (this is actionable, not emotional!). He didn’t call us to build stuff, lord it over people, or entertain the masses. If you want to symbolically free God and perhaps yourself from a God box, devote, love, and 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. No walls, physical or spiritual, are necessary!
In the final article in this three-part series, we’ll continue our discussion and soar to new heights in “The God Box Part III, Endless Possibilities.”
Dr. Ron Braley