Win Today with Christopher Cook

Get Unstuck. Reclaim Your Purpose. Win Today.

The Truth About the god that Doesn’t Actually Exist

What if the god you “serve” doesn’t exist? What I mean is that this god lives in your mind and is expressed in your life by the way you think, speak, and act, but doesn’t actually exist.

Before you choke on that next sip of coffee and relegate me to the collection of writers who have fallen into a deep pit of delusion, hear me out, because whether knowingly or unknowingly, many people live their lives in this manner each day. Allow me to clarify:

In an attempt to be culturally relevant, many people, well meaning Christians included, have fashioned a god that doesn’t actually exist.

Chris, what are you talking about?

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Result of Packaging God

Jesus didn’t enlist people into a religious order known as “Christianity.” He extended the “all-in” call to discipleship. To that, a major aspect of Christian discipleship is that we would effectively re-present Jesus to our world—a world desperate for identity, hope, healing, love, a promising future, and life transformation. The key to transformation resides in our “seeing” Him. The Apostle John said, “What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him.” (1 John 3:2-3 MSG)

Did you catch that? When you see Him, you’ll become like Him. However, when you don’t see Him, He “becomes” like you: a neatly packaged cosmic bellhop fashioned and created in your image and likeness, according to your standards, boxed-up and ready for delivery. But if you put God in a box, you might be surprised to find out that He’s not really there.

Toss the Box, Change the Package, Sustain the Message

There are many issues being debated today where the Bible is very clear on God’s position. As such, a lot of the millennial generation are confused about what they truly believe because their leaders have adopted a noncommittal position in order to not offend people on either side. The sad part of the story is that it’s not only their leaders, but also leaders who have been entrusted with a large platform.

And that’s weak. Really weak.

Recently, a well-known communicator remarked, “The church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense…”

He’s right about one thing: culture is changing at an unprecedented pace and the cultural change does mandate the church’s ability to stay relevant. However, the context in which relevance is mentioned in the above quote is where I respectfully disagree. As Christians, we’re called to be “salt and light” to the world. The methods by which we act as “salt and light” need to remain relevant, but the fundamental truths of the core message are timeless.

Realistically, quoting letters from a 2,000-year-old book is relevant because what God is speaking today won’t contradict what He said, and what He said is written in black and white, paid for in blood. The challenge to us, therefore, is to represent Jesus to a world that desperately needs Him without ostracizing them through condemnation. And if there’s one thing condemnation does well, it creates barriers bound by hurt, loneliness, and isolation.

Target Practice

Bible thumping isn’t the solution, nor is condemnation. That’s shortsighted, nauseating, often arrogant, mostly militant, and completely ineffective. After all, Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save the world (see John 3:17) and point people to their significance in Him. In fact, those who take a militant stance with the Word are like Jesus’ favorite target of confrontation, the religious community, as recorded in the scene in John 5:

“And you have not His word (His thought) living in your hearts, because you do not believe and adhere to and trust in and rely on Him Whom He has sent. [That is why you do not keep His message living in you, because you do not believe in the Messenger Whom He has sent.] You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me! And still you are not willing [but refuse] to come to Me, so that you might have life.” (John 5:38-40 AMP)

Time-out. Was Jesus discounting the importance of scripture? Certainly not, but studying scripture to have a personal experience with the Person scripture points to is in fact the purpose of studying scripture. So what is the answer to these multifaceted issues storming our society?

What is the Answer? Do the Math.

Love is the answer. In fact, love does win, but many people make the mistake of believing that love is a message of universalism and tolerance. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Do some math with me. God is love. Jesus is God. Jesus is love. So how did Love operate? He met people where they were at but didn’t let them stay there.

Paul confirms this notion in Ephesians 4:14-16 (MSG): “No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”

Three phrases stand out to me: Grow up. Healthy in God. Robust in love.

Where we often miss the mark is by approaching our mandate to be “salt and light” through self-righteous, ego-centered, strong-arm legalism, denominationalism, and broken religious systems (though I don’t know of any healthy religious systems).

In the case of “seeing” Christ to be transformed by Him to represent Him to transform the world, the legalistic onslaught often comes into play when a person’s motivation is to bring about the change in someone’s heart himself or herself. But that’s not possible. Until God makes the change (I didn’t say “unless”), nothing will change. It is God’s will that all be saved (see 2 Peter 3:9).

Transformed by Grace, Transformed through Rest

What it comes down to is this: don’t put God in a box. “See” Him for who He really is by receiving His invitation to rest in Him. In that place, you’ll be transformed, not through your effort, but by His Spirit. Then go about your everyday life and serve people really well.

The Apostle Paul hits the nail on the head:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (Romans 12:1-2 MSG)

Go change your world…

– Chris

  • Jenee

    Such an awesome blog that I absolutely NEEDED to read this morning. Thank you for sharing some of that love with me through this blog! XOXO

  • Ashli

    Awesome, thank you!

  • Awesome!

  • Deanna Joven

    Great!!

  • MeganReablog.wordpress.com

    Such needed truth Chris!

    • Thank you, my friend! Your support and validation is invaluable!

  • Dezeray Carrillo

    I love this!! You’re awesome.

    • Dez, thanks for the kind words! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading!

  • This is amazing. Thank you for writing in full truth what so many people try to process through and understand daily. You nailed it.