Yesterday was Sunday and in literally tens of thousands of locations, people gathered to worship God, not just in this country but all over the world. And while I don’t know everything that happened, I am absolutely sure that there were in some places the over-hyping and over-selling of God.
It happens every Sunday of every week of every year and it’s been happening forever I suppose, and that is people standing on stages and pulpits, arenas, gymnasiums, and anyplace people gather feeling as though they have to make God look better and sound better than He really is. The question is, “How can that be?” How could any of us use human language to describe how good God is, how big and amazing He is? And yet, we do. Here’s how we do it.
1. We make promises God never made. We tell people if they’ll love God, work hard, stay in their marriages, and keep their nose clean, nothing bad will ever happen to them. That’s not true and God never promised that. That’s the over-hyping and over-selling of God.
2. We tell people if they have enough faith, they can do anything. The truth of the matter is, there are just some things that you’re never going to be able to do. You’re not equipped, you don’t have the talent, it’s not your calling; ten thousand different reasons. But we give people false hope when we shouldn’t. That’s the over-hyping and over-selling of God.
3. We make life with God sound easy and simple; as easy and simple as attending a class, getting a certificate, reading the Bible, throwing up a prayer. And if you do all of those things, the deep things of God will yield to you easily, effortlessly, and continuously. The truth is, a relationship with God is difficult. It’s mysterious. God sometimes feels very near and at other times feels very far away. The only constant is the promise of God. He will never leave us or forsake us. His love drives Him to do what is the most generous and loving thing for us even though the circumstances seem to betray that truth.
4. One of the biggest things we tell people, and something that God doesn’t promise, is that there is a place at which we can go where everything in life works. The truth is, everything in life is set up to disappoint us. Truly, we don’t want to accept this, our dirty little secret. We tell people that if you do the right things in the right ways, come to our church, tithe, give, volunteer, a thousand other things, then everything will work. Your marriage will work, your work will work, and your children will work. And the truth of the matter is, there are disappointments waiting for us all along the road. And the question is, “Who do we run to when the world promises us one thing and life delivers another thing?” Will we run to the foot of the cross? Will we run to a relationship with God where there is no need for “why,” just the comfort of knowing that something bigger, better, and more amazing than us guards our soul, our life, and our well-being?
If you’re a speaker for God, stop trying to over-hype and over-sell. Tell the truth, honestly, that life will not be easy, just worth it; that we will be lonely, just never alone. These are the promises of God and they are more than enough to sustain us.