CONFUSED?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.” [Romans 10:9-11 (NCV)]

meerkat-LPZoo5webAt my favorite ski resort, the lift line crew often posts riddles or trivia questions on a board at the bottom of the lift; the answers are usually revealed at the top. One day last winter, the question was, ”What is greater than God? The poor have it, the rich need it and, if you eat it, you will die!” I pondered the riddle while riding to the top of the run and was perturbed that someone would think anything or anyone was greater than God, even in a silly riddle. Seeing no answer posted at the top, I skied back down to get it. When I complained that nothing had been written on the upper board, the lift op replied, “You’ve just said the answer!” Duh! I’d completely ignored the obvious response while concentrating on the second part of the riddle. By focusing on the rich, the poor and some sort of poison, I’d missed the first and obvious response. Nothing is greater than God! The poor have nothing, the rich need nothing, and if we eat nothing, we’ll die!

I made a simple riddle far more complicated than necessary, something we often do with our faith. For example, during Bible study someone asked what would happen to our dogs during the Rapture. While it made for a fascinating discussion (did you know some non-Christians offer “After the Rapture” pet care?), the various Christian views about the end times are perplexing. As for me, I’m not going to complicate my faith by worrying about pets during the Rapture. We have a loving God and I’m sure He’s got everything planned out quite thoroughly.

It’s admirable that some people want to dig deep into questions of theology, doctrine and dogma. It’s incredibly easy for us, however, to get bogged down in complex and unclear issues that make Christianity and the Bible far more difficult than they need be. Our relationship with God won’t suffer if we can’t hold forth on subjects like the Rapture and tribulation, annihilationism, predestination, Calvinism, Arminianism, and the various doctrinal differences between denominations. Trying to come to terms with the minute details can keep us from the big picture: having a relationship with God the Father, believing in his Son Jesus Christ, and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We don’t have to be theologians to be Christians; we just have to be followers of Christ. It’s not necessary to know Greek or Hebrew to read or understand the Bible. Attendance at seminary isn’t a prerequisite for prayer; it’s no more difficult than talking on the phone. We don’t have to take lessons in how to worship to be able to lift our hearts in praise and no evangelism seminar is required for us to share God’s message of love. Remember, we have a God who designed caterpillars that become butterflies, doesn’t repeat fingerprints, keeps our solar system functioning flawlessly, turns tiny acorns into giant oaks, gives us incredible rainbows, and made crying babies loveable. Certainly the Lord, being that powerful and resourceful, was able to create us in such a way that having faith, understanding His word, saying a prayer, offering praise and thanksgiving and sharing His message are well within our capabilities.

God made the earth by his power. He used his wisdom to build the world and his understanding to stretch out the skies. [Jeremiah 10:10 (NCV)]

I alone am the Lord. I made the light and the darkness. I bring peace, and I cause troubles. I, the Lord, do all these things. [Isaiah 45:6b-7 (NCV)]