Nov 02, 2010
Knowing Your Generation
One of the biggest problems I have with the religious mindset is that it completely disregards the heart condition of a particular generation. It forces a one-size-fits-all standard on everyone, regardless of the circumstances. Such a mentality is absolutely heartless because it’s based on knowledge rather than love. It assumes that every rule and regulation is for every person of every generation, regardless of their past or present.
One of my favorite verses in the whole Bible is when Jesus told the people that Moses permitted them to divorce, regardless of what the law said. Jesus said that Moses did this because he knew the peoples hearts were hard. I find that absolutely amazing. Moses goes to God and gets the 10 commandments. He literally feels the earth shake and watches the fire of God swirl down from heaven and carve each commandment into stone tablets on the side of the mountain, and when he comes down to the people he takes the liberty of changing things around a bit because he felt like the people weren’t ready for the whole "marriage commitment thing" yet. It's like he says, "These people will never be able to obey this one cause they suck at marriage. Let's give-em a way out." What I find even more amazing is that when Jesus is later speaking to the crowd about it, He gives us no indication that He disagreed with Moses. It appears that God went along with the amendment to the law. This is astounding to me!
Moses had heart. He had a BIG heart. Imagine changing the law around like that because you think it’s too hard on your particular generation. That takes balls, and yet even though Moses did this, God doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. Rather than tell the world that Moses was wrong and he had no right to tinker with what God had written in stone, Jesus explains Moses’ reasoning as though the decision to change the law was entirely up to Moses and God agreed with his reasoning at the time.
Many people in the religious world don’t know what to do with me because I continuously disrupt their neat little religious row of spiritual duckies that they’ve come to rely on. I make jokes that are sometimes off color. I use language that is questionable, and I openly do things that are considered sinful by traditional standards. The things they’ve been taught to cling to tightly, I handle loosely. The stuff they were taught to flee from, I partake in, openly, right before their eyes. I do not practice the things they practice. I don’t speak the language they speak. When they refrain, I indulge. When they bow their heads, I lift my face. When they stand, I sit down and when they raise their hands, I yawn and look around. When they are spiritually deep, I am fleshy and shallow. When they study, I goof off and when they worship for long hours, I eat crackers and play hang-man on a pad of paper.
When I speak to Christians today, and they hear the depth and beauty of the message I carry, there is always a point where I see that dreadful look in their eye. That look that says, He’s more spiritual than I am. He must spend hours doing the things I’ve been told to do. He prays more than me - He must fast more than me - He must spend hours studying the Bible - He sins less than I do -He’s way more committed than I am - His faith is deeper than mine - He’s more anointed than me - He does all the things he’s supposed to do and that’s why he’s so close to God.
I come into it knowing what they’ve been taught. I know of all the spiritual hoops they’ve been told they must jump through in order to know the heart of God. I’m well aware of the long list of works they’ve been given to perform in order to be close to Him. They’ve been told that they must know the Scriptures front to back, and I know that they don’t. They’ve been told that they must spend hours in prayer, and I know they don’t. They’ve been told that there must not be any hint of sin in their lives, and I know there is. They’ve been given a religious picture of someone who hears the voice of God, and they look nothing like it.
Most of their spiritual lives have been reduced to silently watching the pastor from the sidelines and rooting HIM on in a life and relationship that they know they’ll never experience personally. They’ve tried to do all the stuff that’s required of someone who wants a relationship with God, and they failed miserably. They tried to pray for eight hours straight like the miracle working missionary with all those exciting stories, but they got bored and fell asleep. They attempted to fall in love with reading the Bible, but for some reason it wasn’t as “roller coaster exciting” to them as the traveling evangelist acted like it was for him. They tried lifting their hands in passionate worship, but it just didn’t feel natural. They tried to hate sin like their pastor, but something inside them likes it. They feel disqualified, rejected, banned, useless, and hopeless because when they look inside themselves and compare what they see to the long list of things they’ve been taught they must adhere to in order to know God’s heart, they see how far behind they are.
The Christian religion has been presented to us in a way that keeps God just out of reach from anyone interested. This way we have to keep coming to the experts for help. We’ll always need them to help us along in our desperate attempts to get closer to God because we’re not dedicated or committed enough. They present themselves as having a level of spiritual devotion that is unlike anything we could muster up in a million years, and then they stand before us willing to go to God FOR us because we aren’t as faithful as they are.
When they hear me speak and they know that I know God, they begin to think those terrible things about how much better I am than them. I see them thinking it and I can’t help myself. I become the opposite of what they’ve been taught THEY must become. I start breaking the rules right in front of them. I say an off-color thing or disrespect another thing they’ve been taught to respect. I bark out something fleshy and openly knock down something they hold as sacred. Everything in me wants to prove to them that they’ve been lied to. I’m not what they perceive me to be. I don’t follow the rules they’ve been taught to follow. I want to set them free from their religious lists of what makes a man or woman of God, and the only way I know to accomplish that is to become less than what they expect.
They cannot deny that I know Him because my words are powerful and right. They can’t write me off as a blind man because they know I see. They can’t accuse me of lying because they’ve heard the truth from my mouth, and yet I am the opposite of everything they’ve learned they must be in order to know God. They’re left having to deal with that. It becomes a nervous tick in their spirit that won’t go away. It defies everything they’ve been taught and yet it still IS.
In the same way, Jesus openly broke the rules that the leaders of His time had set for the people concerning the Sabbath. He drank wine and hung out with sinners, yet his words cut people straight to the heart. His teaching had an authority that people could not explain. They saw him not following what they were taught to follow, yet he clearly came from God. It confused the leadership and freed the laymen.
Yes, I’ve seen the Bible verses that condemn course joking and fleshiness. I’m well aware of the passages that tell us to avoid the appearance of evil. I’ve seen them all and they’ve been launched at me like spiritual hand-grenades by people who are more in tune to the scriptures than they are to their own generation. The lovelessness of religion proves itself to be more dedicated to the letter of Scripture than to the hearts of the people. Believe it or not there are times when some things don’t apply anymore. There are times when it’s okay to go against what is written if it’s for the purpose of love. LOVE is the fulfillment of the law. If you break the law in order to love; you’ve fulfilled it. If you follow the law RATHER than love; you’ve broken it!
I do what I do because I love the people. I become less than all of them in order to break them free from that impossible list of lies they’ve been put under. This generation needs to know that they can know God TODAY regardless of their spiritual condition. They need to know that they’ve been lied to about what it takes to hear His voice. They’ve been conned out of their confidence and stripped from their rights. I want them to think to themselves, “If this loser can know him, so can I,” because it’s true.
I believe that this generation has been so bombarded with squeaky clean pictures of what we must become in order to be men and women of God that we’ve disqualified 99% of humanity from knowing Him. We’ve caused every person with an ounce of inner honesty to throw their hands up in the air and give up. For years I have said that this generation needs to see a new picture of spirituality. We need to know that a NORMAL every day guy or girl can hear God and know Him personally. We don’t need another super spiritual drippy sweet talking holy man. We need to know that people like US can have a relationship with Him. We need to know that WE can do it.
I could easily be on my best behavior when I do a podcast show. I’ve been told that this is exactly what I need to do because it sets a good example for others. I’ve found however, that giving into that modern day picture of what a man of God looks like, doesn’t help people at all. It depletes them. It causes them to give up because they compare their inner selves to the sweet talking holy person they see on television, and they find themselves falling short once again. I’d rather be rough around the edges and let the cards fall where they may. In my experience I have found that people are encouraged by it because they come away feeling like THEY CAN DO IT.
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