Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"To-Do's" Make God External

I realized something this past week while I was running:

by creating "to do" lists as a means of being a better follower of Christ, I externalize God from life.

Let me explain. 

Back in the Old Testament, God was external. Jesus Christ had not yet come to this Earth, therefore followers of God pre-Jesus time had to do externals acts of service in order to have a relationship with God. These included such things as sacrifice, literal acts of worship (raising hands, setting aside certain times to talk to God), prayers, etc...

However, then, a little something called Christmas came along and Jesus Christ came to this earth. Now, get this: the moment Jesus Christ physically left this earth, He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us-and not just with us, but in us. IN us. 

This glorious act eliminated the necessity of all 'to-do's. 

So please...Tell me why we foolishly make 'to-do' lists in order to be "good christians". My assumption is the typical list usually includes: do my devotional (morning times is best), go to church, sing worships songs, do good, be kind, give money to the homeless, give an offering, and so on. But whatever may be on your list, I have thought of at least three reasons why we consistently create them and try our hardest to live by them regardless the fact we know we will consistently fail at them. 

1. They are easier to comprehend because of the way we were raised. Most of us are trained in the mindset that when we do good, we get good. Whether from our parents, our teachers, the law, doctors, or dentists, when we do something right, we get their approval.  Nobody can deny the power of being felt proud of and of winning the approval of others. So we help with the dishes, we brush our teeth morning and night (the really good kids floss, too), we eat healthier, we come to complete stops at four-ways, we do whatever it takes to win the approval of our elders and people around us. 

2. When we actually complete them, we feel like we have accomplished something, i.e. did "good". Some people love the thrill of putting a little check mark next to an item on a list of "to-dos". To visually see you have done something you set your mind to can be extremely fulfilling for some folks. 

3. There is some value to lists because no matter the method, reason, or motive, spending time with God even via a "to-do" list does make us feel better about life and "closer" to God in general. That just comes with the God-package. He can and will infiltrate our soul no matter the circumstance.

But if you are a Christian (having accepted Christ into your heart as Savior of your life), you have made the act of internalizing God into your very being. He has made your heart His home.  The thing with "to-do" lists is that when we do these acts, we do so as if by doing them, we are bring God closer to our hearts. We are involving Him in more of our daily activities and our lives.

In other words, we are giving God a "way" and a reason to love us more, to approve of us, to be proud of us.

Now tell me, when have you ever needed directions to your own home? Does God need to be given a way by us daily in order to be in our lives? Do you think God needs to hear us pray and see us doing a devotional and see us going to church in order to be involved in your everyday life? Does He need a reason from us to love us more and protect us and approve of us more because we are spending time with Him?

No. He doesn't.

But by mentally creating to-do lists, we forget that. We externalize Christ believing that in order for Him to be in our hearts, we have to do the rights things.

Bottom line: Christ is in our hearts at all time, no matter what. Our heart is His home and nothing can change that. Don't let your human tendency of creating a to-do list push God away from you. Don't externalize Him.  Rest in the fact that He is in you forever. Make your heart a comfortable home for Him by letting Him be at home.  You have never felt more at home at a stranger's house until they let you go get a drink by yourself, open the fridge, and get good out of pantry without having to ask. So let God live in you all the time, every minute of every day. Not just during your morning devotional, not just at church, not just when you worship.

When we do this, our response to His permanent presence will dramatically change our relationship with Him and will draw us closer to Him than we have ever felt before.


  1. "You will . . . find me," says the Lord, "when you seek me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13). You're heart can't make to do lists. :)


  2. :) yup..... "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8

  3. This was such a good read. Christ is in us! God dwells in people! ha, I don't wanna do right things, I wanna gain Christ! I wanna touch the Lord! This was sooo good


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