Sunday, December 15, 2013

God is not Tony Soprano

If a man walked up to you and said, "I know a guy, a professional 'fixer,' who can get you a better job, make sure you get more money, attract a perfect mate, and even manipulate other people to make things, you know, go BETTER for you," you'd probably think he, like TV's Tony Soprano, was inviting you to join a criminal enterprise.

But shockingly, people - many, many people - believe this about GOD, the Creator of the universe! Many, in fact, believe He is in the same "business" as Tony Soprano - the business of manipulating the world to "fix" things for those He randomly selects to be in his "family." 

Many like this view of God because it means we need not DO anything to make the world better. It means we can put the burden of "Good Works" onto God and selfishly complain when God doesn't work all things out for our personal, selfish benefit. And it (allegedly) makes God seem more "God-like" to make Him a sky-dwelling puppet-master, manipulating every detail of every human life.

This may be a very ancient view (shared with ancient Paganism) but it's a completely FALSE, childish, and warped view of God, our world, and of the faith God wishes for us and believing that God our Father is manipulating people we dislike or who aren't on our "team" to lose their jobs, to have car accidents, to be injured, or to get diseases - and to believe that WE are somehow protected from these daily occurrences because God is our "fixer in the Heavens" - is to appeal to paganism and magic, but not to Jesus and his God.

This Jesus, the one God selected to tell us about God and what God requires of us, tells us that we are to conform our lives to God's Will and to seek always His perfect purity, holiness and goodness by faithful obedience. By doing this, we will be equipped to handle whatever happens to us during our daily journey. 

Jesus never tells us we will never be persecuted, hated or despised for doing this. In fact, Jesus says: be READY for it. This is what we sign up for as Jesus Followers, not golden streets, great wealth and perfect health.

In reality, Jesus calls us to a healthy, adult relationship with our Father, and wishes us to treat all people as our brothers and sisters, loving them, and Him, with all that we have. Jesus calls us to take action OURSELVES to build up God's Kingdom, through righteous acts and purified motives.

But doesn't God "move mountains?" Doesn't He work miracles, and grant us Grace to achieve what He asks of us?

Surely, God does indeed "move mountains" - by granting us ever growing faith by which we can COMPLETELY change our lives into something resembling the one His chosen Spokesman, Jesus, modeled for us during his life, and even in his death.

God does indeed change lives in miraculous ways - when our eyes are finally open and we see the wonderful spiritual principles His servant Jesus laid out for us, which will help us achieve the kind of perfection God calls us to achieve.

And God never leaves us alone, sending us His Grace when we ask for strength through prayer. And we know that we have Jesus' example and words always with us as a guidepost, showing us how we are to live according to God's Will.

When we leave aside the ignorant and pagan beliefs we have inherited from the childhood of the human race; when we put aside our belief that God is somehow a sky-dwelling Genie who will grant our wishes and erase the Laws of Nature to make us rich or healthy; and when we instead seek  a simple, profound and straight-forward faith consisting of obedience to God through the example of His Anointed one, Jesus, we enter into a healthy, joyous and adult relationship with our Father.

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