The two things they tell you to never discuss are politics and religion. That is because once you do, you open up an unending battle. What makes these two topics so emotionally invoking? Is it because these two subjects strike at the core beliefs of a person. Well, the good news is that we are not going to discuss politics. Hey, but we are going to talk religion and how the messages we hear in church about God, influence and impact our lives. More specifically, this introduction and future articles will address things that we have accepted as truth as Christians but that may not be true at all.
I remember a test paper that was handed out in a Bible class for new students. The instructor asked us to go through a list of terms and identify those that we thought were in the Bible and those that were not. It was amazing how many things there were on that list that most people accepted as truth but that just weren’t so. Phrases like, “God helps those who help themselves”, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”, “Money is the root of all evil” and “This too shall pass,” just to name a few.
I want to focus my attention those areas that keep you from
discovering the goodness of God in your life.
The above terms may or may not be of any real importance to our lives, but what we do know is that in the Bible there are thousands of statements on topics that cover just about every issue. When studying the Bible you will find that there are topics that are more important than others. The fact is that none of us will agree on everything. It is not my intention to get into non-essential areas of understanding. Instead, I want to focus my attention those areas that keep you from discovering the goodness of God in your life. These are essential foundational truths that will have a direct result in your ability to receive all that God has provided to you through the finished work of Jesus. What is the finished work of Jesus? Jesus prior breathing his last and final breath on the cross spoke out these words, “It is finished!” It was upon that moment, he declared the completion of his mission on Earth.
Foundation is everything, without it, anything that is built upon it lacks long lasting results in your life. It is the foundation that is the most important thing of any building and it is this that will determine the quality of the building you have. It is not the walls, windows or roof, it is the foundation. Many years ago in the area where I live there was a building boom, a lot of new homes were being built. Because of the soil condition of Benenite in the ground contractors had to take special measures when building the foundations. Years later, you could tell which homes were built upon proper foundations and which were not. Stress cracks ran across garage floors, ceilings sagged and floors were no longer level. It is the same in your life; a faulty foundation will eventually cause you to waiver and fall.
When you get into trouble in your life and you need stability, believe me, it’s what you believe about finished work of Jesus that is going to keep your faith intact. What you believe about healing, prosperity or any other promise made to you in the Bible is not going to make a big difference in the level of victory you experience in life if you have a wrong foundation. It will have everything to do with what you believe about Jesus.
Through the years, I have heard just about everything there is to hear about Christianity. The one thing that I have discovered is that within the Church there are religious beliefs that are contrary to foundational truths taught in the Bible. Many of these are beliefs have evolved from cultural viewpoints and the things that we have blindly accepted as truth but that just aren’t so. These beliefs burden and suppress people just like they did in Jesus day.
When facing difficult times it is easy to disqualify yourself from the goodness of God and His promises if you don’t know that he is always for you and not against you. No matter what’s going wrong in your life, be careful to not disqualify yourself from God’s profound love and mercy. As one minister friend of mine puts it, miracles are not for the deserving, they are for the believing!
I can remember the many stories that were presented to me from the Bible when I was a child sitting in Sunday School. Showcased before me were the character studies of great heroes of faith such as David and Goliath, Elijah and Elisha and many others. From them we learned what it meant to have faith in God, and we learned also the importance of having integrity, trustworthiness and respect. Learning about the Ten Commandments was also a part of my early training. We, as parents and teachers, all desire for our children to learn the importance of understanding these things and want to impart them into the lives of the children we care for.
But as important as these principles and stories were, somehow, while I sat there in Sunday School and church another message was being transmitted to my mind. It was a message that mixed what Jesus provided freely through his death, burial and resurrection with the Old Covenant which based acceptance and blessing on my behavior.
The Toxic beliefs about God that I am talking about here is not just the cult religion down the street. It’s easy to get comfortable sitting in our church thinking that it is those people down the street that are the ones being brainwashed.
Blues musician Jimmie Bratcher wrote and sings a popular song by the name of “Bad Religion”. In it he admits that it was bad religion that messed up his mind and made him a mean and angry person. Later in the song he sings the words:
“Fussing and fighting and praying all night. I argued and screamed; I just had to be right. I was broken and run down and ready to quit. I met a man named Jesus and he ended my fear. Oh he told me about love and I made a decision. My old man died with my bad religion.”
What is bad religion? It is the mixing of the covenants! In the Old Covenant the high priest brought the blood of animals into the holy place as a sacrifice for sin. In the New Covenant it is the blood of Jesus which once and for all brought forgiveness of sin.
Mixing the covenants would mean in essence that we are mixing the blood of animals with the blood of Jesus! Mixing performance based religion to be accepted by God with This is a pretty serious indictment because what we are saying is that we don’t believe what Jesus did in His death, burial and resurrection was good enough. It is this message that in my estimation is more insidious and dangerous then the wares of any drug pusher met on the street.
Why do I say this? Because of the fact that at least you can see a drug pusher coming. Children are warned about them. Toxic beliefs about God can be introduced to you without your knowledge and its effect can lead you to a lifetime of turmoil. It can cause you to suffer needlessly, causing disillusionment, distrust, disappointment, anger and you may eventually “burn out” and completely shut God out of your life. I have talked to many adults who later in life still suffer the effects of wrong beliefs about God that they learned as children or young Christians. It is impossible to estimate the total damage toxic beliefs about God has caused in the lives of millions of people across the generations. These people as a result have closed their hearts and minds to the true message of God’s complete love for them.
It’s amazing how upset people get when they discover that they might be introduced to Toxins. It might be a substance to which they are exposed at work, the discovery of mold growing in the walls of their home or maybe the use of some chemical cleanser. I think we should treat Toxic beliefs about God just as seriously as any other Toxin or addiction that we discover is hurting people. Maybe there should be intervention sessions, Rehab Centers or maybe even a 12 step program dealing with Toxic beliefs about God.
I am purposely overemphasizing this because I want to get across to you how important it is to get a correct understanding of God in your life. Don’t take it for granted that everything you hear or read from a television preacher is true, it could cost you dearly. Don’t rely on what anyone says or even what you read here, go to the Bible for yourself and check it out.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
The book of Acts talks about the Bereans who stood out to the apostles because of the eagerness with which they received the Gospel. The scripture tells us that they searched the scriptures to see if what they were hearing was true. (Acts 17:11)
This is one of my purposes for writing this book, getting you to ask important questions about what you believe and why you believe it. If you approach it with an open heart, what you are about to discover in this book will profoundly affect your relationship with God in a positive way. It will open your heart to receive from God in a new way. I believe that as a result you are going to fall in love with God all over again and discover a new world of possibility for your life.