|Ciara Lilly is a Charlotte-area writer. Her faith-based column, Fishers of Men, is published here each Monday. Opinions expressed are solely her own.|
In one of his recent sermons, Bishop T.D. Jakes made this profound statement: “Sometimes it’s so hard to get to God because of His people.”
Wow! Could it be true that we’ve exchanged our shepherd’s staff for holier-than-thou muscle shirts?
In the Bible, there are many accounts of the disciples trying to assume the role of Jesus’ bodyguard. For example, let’s take a look at Luke 18:15-17:
People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16: But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17: I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
After the disciples rebuked the children, Jesus didn’t say, “Thannnkkk you! I have more important people to see!” Instead, he instructed the disciples to “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them…”
Now the first question I’m sure some of you have after reading that scripture is, “Well, how do we hinder God’s children from coming to Him?” Here are just a few examples I’ve encountered:
1. Screening new Christians – We cannot greet new Christians with an admission application and interview process. Christianity is not a club; it’s about a one-on-one relationship with God.
2. Judging our brothers and sisters in Christ – Matthew 7:1 reads, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” When a person surrenders his or her life to Christ, the last thing they want to face is judgment. Doesn’t the world judge enough? Furthermore, wouldn’t it be unwise to focus on the shard of wood in our neighbor’s eye with a log in ours?
3. Falsely portraying the true nature of God – Who would want to serve a God who’s portrayed as a mean, hateful, compassionless being? When the Bible refers to fearing God, it speaking of reverencing (worshipping, honoring) Him. God does not want his children scared of Him. God is love. God is kind. God is forgiving. It’s time we start giving him better PR.
Based on the examples above, have you ever hindered a child of God from receiving His touch? Look at your attire. Are you wearing a holier-than-thou muscle shirt?
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” In other words, don’t let your holy track record suppress your child-like humility.
I believe if we’re honest, we’ve all been guilty of this at some point in our lives. So if you’re currently wearing the holier-than-thou muscle shirt, don’t feel bad; just throw it away! There are plenty of staffs to spare.