What comes to your mind when you hear the words, “unnecessary God?” Perhaps you think of self-professed atheists who declare that God does not exist. You may even think of people who consider the notion of God to be a hindrance to society and progress. Or, your mind may wander to people who, while not going so far as to say that God does not exist, are evolving into their better selves without God. If you think that those are the only places to meet the unnecessary God, look again. The unnecessary God may be alive and well in your church.
So how will you recognize the unnecessary God? Here are two key signs that you have met this god.
The unnecessary God is one of many points
You know the importance of starting points and reference points. The starting point comes first. After all, all movement begins somewhere. You had a starting point and every time you act, you act from one. The more intentional your starting point, the better your outcome. The reference point helps to anchor you. It’s what you come back to to help you keep on track.
The unnecessary God is neither.
Too often our actions in the church suggest that we have met and embraced the unnecessary god. We do our planning and actions as if we are our own starting point and point of reference. We are like the shepherds in Jeremiah 10:21—we do not inquire of the Lord. We’ve done it before so we know exactly what to do. We don’t stop to consider that God may want us to do something different or do the same thing differently. Or, we have full confidence in our skills and abilities. God becomes an after thought; just one of many other points to be taken into consideration.
It can be like that in your life. God is just one of many other points, neither important for beginning or anchoring you.
The values of the kingdom of God are replaced
There’s yet another sign that you’ve met the unnecessary God and that this God is alive and well in church. What is it? The internal dynamics and commitments bear little, if any, resemblance to the loving servanthood of Jesus Christ. Yes, lip service is paid to love and servanthood. There is talk of servant leadership. However, people put the emphasis on getting the best places and recognition. The will of God comes a distant last to getting the best positions and churches. It comes a distant last to being promoted. The values of the workplace replace the values of the kingdom. It’s as if we have forgotten the words of Jesus Christ in Luke 20:46-47:
“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
Yet, Jesus clearly said and demonstrated that under the reign of God, the way up is to go down and that the first will be last. The world under the reign of God is upside down by the world’s standards. Success could even mean that everyone goes away, as happened with Jesus Christ.
Yes. The unnecessary God is alive and well in the churches. Here are two questions to consider:
- Where have you met this God?
- How might you have made this God a welcome guest in your church and/or your life?
A surrendered life that joins in surrendered praying will serve a necessary God for God will be first, anchor, and the pattern of your living through Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
What do you think?
Removing your boundaries to a full and free life through honest, whole-hearted praying.