Monday, February 4, 2013

Please Stop Adding to the Gospel

When I was growing up, I heard a lot about how to be a good Christian. Good Christians dressed a certain way. Good Christians only listened to certain kinds of music (none of which were very good). Good Christians did not go to the movies. The only problem is that I wanted to go to the movies. I wanted to listen to Green Day and dc Talk. So I had a lot of guilt.

Because of this, I did some pretty crazy things. Perhaps the worst was throwing away my music. I had a fairly large collection of cassettes and CDs. After a particularly convicting camp or youth conference, I would get a big black trash bag and fill it with all of my "ungodly" music...only to rebuy it all a couple of weeks later. I cant tell you how many copies of Dookie or Superunknown I have purchased in my life. All because some well-meaning preachers were adding things to what it meant to be a Christian.

The apostle Paul face the same sort of thing in Galatia. There were individuals who were trying to convince the church members they needed to be circumcised in order to be a "real" Christian. They were adding works to salvation.

In Galatians 5:1, Paul encourages the church to be free and not submit to the "slavery" this would bring. The church would constantly be trying to live up to an impossible standard, just as I was by trying to give up movies and music.

As youth pastors, we need to be careful of how we present the Christian life. We need to show our students that certain things are good for us, but not because they will save us. We need to demonstrate that prayer is awesome and vital, but not something to beat ourselves up over. Daily Bible reading is necessary and important, but we should not feel guilty if we miss a day now and then.

Christ saved us for freedom. We need to make sure we are conveying that message. Guilt is should not be a tool in our youth ministry toolboxes.

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