What statement would you want to follow, “You do not have to…?” I am sure that many of us are ready with flying answers from personal, interpersonal and even supernatural issues. There are many things we may say that we do not have to do or become. However, when it comes to our journey of faith, there are several things that we have grown up thinking that we have to do or become to either gain favours from God or men. So here we go, you don’t have to…
To be Less Wicked to Get to God
I hear people say that they are waiting to “clean up the house” before coming to Christ. It is because they have bought into the narrative that God is not ready or able to receive them until they sort out their flaws. This kind of reasoning was rampant some years ago mainly because it helped create a certain divide between the ‘good one’ and the ‘not so good one.’ But what is the error in this kind of thinking, and why should you (if you are in it) realize a different truth than the lie you have believed?
Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” God’s time is now and not when we have cleaned up our mess. He says that he is the one who makes our scarlet as pure as snow. We cannot do that for ourselves. Jesus came to do “what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do” (Romans 8:2). What did he come to do? To condemn sin in the flesh and justify the sinner before the Father. Listen to Jesus’ call to come to him no matter your condition (Matthew 11:28, Romans 10:13). You see, he does not expect us to clean up our mess then come to him. He wants us to come to him with all our burdens, weights, and nastiness so then he can take them away. On top of this, ask yourself if you can truly clean yourself up on your own (Romans 3:9-18)? I think you will be very disappointed. Come to Jesus as you are.
To Help Yourself for God to Help You
We have also heard people say that God helps those who help themselves. We hear some preachers, motivational speakers and even our politicians say it. It sounds good for someone who sees God as a personal assistant, who helps us out when we need an extra hand. But is that the true character of God? No. Contrary to popular opinion, God comes to them that humbly realize they are beyond personal assistance (James 4:6-10). A divine hand needs to lift them from the mire of sin.
Jesus comes to help those who realize that they are sick with sin (Matthew 9:12). He does not come to help those who feel that they are healthy enough to enter heaven because they have helped themselves. Jesus reminds us that his focus is on those who know they are in need and insufficient in themselves. Paul echos this same thought in Romans 5:6-8 that we’re weak, ungodly, and sinners who were saved only because of the great love of God. Jesus did not come to an almost drowning person, scampering for a lifeline. Instead, he descended into the depths of the ocean and brought us up from the bottom. We were not almost losing strength or falling. We were fallen, destroyed, dead and buried. In your weakness, God is calling you and me to come.
To Repeat Words after a Preacher for Salvation
Over the years, I have experienced many people who cannot even pray to the Lord until they are with a pastor or lay leader. So what do you need to do for you to be saved? Peter, in Acts 2:37-38 tells the crowd who desired to be saved to “Repent” He did not tell them to repeat words after him rather asked them to turn from their sins and to the Lord, also known as repenting. Paul, in Romans 10:13, says to call upon the name of the Lord, and you will be saved. Nowhere throughout all of the scripture do we see apostles tell people to repeat words after them. We, however, see them pointing them to the Master before whom they must repent for the forgiveness of sins. It means that wherever we may be; in the car, bus, soccer field, gym, birthday party or even in your bedroom- you can call upon his name without any assistance, and he shall hear you.
To Give God Money for Him to Bless You
Money is a big deal for many people, so we have many preachers taking advantage of their flock in this regard. We are told to plant seeds and that they will grow. All profit, however, seems to be going to the well being of the pastor and not the flock. We have equated blessings to be directly tied to our enticing God with thousands. Do we deserve the blessing of God because you gave something to him? What can you really give to God? He already owns everything in the world (Psalm 24:1, Deuteronomy 10:14, Job 41:11). Everything that you have was given to you by God (1 Corinthians 4:7). Align this thought with the issue of God’s blessings. There is nothing that we have we did not receive from the Lord. Secondly, his blessings in our lives don’t come because of what we have done but because he is benevolent towards men, giving to them by his grace and not their works.
God does not need us to give him money for us to know his blessing and provision. We give because we have received, not so that we can receive. All in all, God’s blessing does not come because we gave to him but because he loves giving. And the greatest blessing God gave is His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:32).
To Have a Title for You to Serve.
Positional leadership is the worst undoing of our generation- may be one among many others. Many people think unless they have a certain position, they cannot serve in the body of Christ. So, we have people pushing for positions then do so little or nothing once they are in office. It is cancer in our churches today to be committed to the wealthy and influential persons instead of the saints.
But what does one need to be a servant? Jesus suggests in Luke 22:25-26 suggests it is humility as opposed to lordship. Leadership is not about the position; it is about service. So instead of getting caught up in unnecessary arguments, let us see where God is at work and join him there. That is true service.
To Be White to Be a Missionary
This an age-old African misconception that unless you are white, you cannot be a missionary. But from where does this kind of thought come? I think from the mere fact that the gospel came to Africa through white men called ‘missionaries’. But the term missionary is not a reference to a white man but to a person who takes the gospel of Christ wherever it needs to be preached.
We have the gospel brewing in Jerusalem as Jesus walks with the disciples for three years (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). In Acts, we see the apostles preach the gospel to the rest of the world (Acts 1:8). White missionaries received the gospel from the Middle East by the saints’ work in Acts. Paul and the gang become the first team of missionaries we know. The Ethiopian eunuch was a missionary (Acts 8) because he received the gospel through the ministry of Philip and went back to Ethiopia. You do not have to be white to be a missionary. You only need to be born again and obedient to the call of God in scripture to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
There are many things we believe in that are not scriptural and can keep us in bondage unnecessarily. Remember the “you don’t have to” list above. What other things have you believed in that are not true but sound nice? Let us know down here in the comments.