Why go it Alone?

Matthew chapter 3 

John the baptizer is officially out in the wilderness doing a new thing. He is preaching the repentance of sin and if a locust lands near him it turns into a ‘repentance snack!’ (In America we would have a tee shirt already) 🙂  

Over the years I’ve come to believe that one of the great things about our country is that we’ve learned to industrialize things to the point where every need in life from food, housing, clothing, you name it, rolls off an assembly line like Cadbury Eggs at Easter. That means more goods and more things for the populace, but it also means the details and individuality of design and creation in general, are broken down so that you can mass produce a product. Some of you might not know this…but a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away cars were ‘hand’ made. Today only the exotic high-end cars are handmade. Everything else…mass produced. 

Goods and services aren’t the only assembly line work we’ve created


The word sin has a lot of religious ‘industrial weight’ to it. It’s been rubber-stamped by the best. It’s been added to the assembly line of Christianity so much that it has somewhat lost its meaning or clear understanding.  

Lord knows we attempted, with a good heart, to break down the greatest message of the universe into small bite-sized pieces to get the message out the door. We know as humans we need things small to make them easily digestible. 

This doesn’t always serve us well. 

In Philippians 2:12 the apostle Paul says we’re to work out our own salvation with ‘fear and trembling. However in our modern world of Christianity we’ve broken salvation down into 4 simple steps or 3 simple steps or you just need to be saved and you need to tithe, you need to go to church. Christianity might be simple in some ways, but in other ways, it’s a lifelong pursuit of an evolving relationship. I feel what we’ve done is moved the needle of having a relationship that is dynamic and evolving into pursuing a static set of rules out of fear and the desire for ease. We now operate under the impression that good relationships live by the rules alone. 

Poor relationships; well…they run aground on the island of broken rules. 

It’s hard to make sense of it all and that is what I think we really stumble over. Making it all add up. 

When John the Baptist is preaching the repentance of sins ultimately I think what he was doing was telling us to stop going this alone, stop trying to figure this out all on our own. You can’t! The issue with the Sadduces and Pharisees wasn’t just them being the ‘good ole time rock and roll living law religious rulers, it was that they didn’t think anyone and anything else made it right outside of the law (Rules) and one day the great messiah, will show us all.

(But he hasn’t come yet). 

At the crossroads of life let’s not go it alone. 


I’ve found in my own life as I’ve aged it’s a challenge to make ‘good’ decisions because the pluses and minuses are on all sides. Every decision has an outcome, every decision has a pro and a con despite what you hear from our pontificating pulpit and pundits. 

There are few perfect decisions.

In our industrialization of Christianity, we’ve tried to break everything down to right and wrong. However, we end up holding it over each other’s heads as if we are better than others. 

Why do we do this? 

Out of fear, and let’s be honest, out of laziness because we don’t want hard complicated answers. We don’t want messy. We want simple, boilerplate fixes for every life issue. Also, it’s easier to find fault in someone else than to examine our motives behind why we are so insecure. 

In my opinion, we have utterly failed to understand grace and missed the point of the gospel. Our churches are emptying out because the easy button Christianity isn’t living up to the promise made by so many. Rules and law in life don’t always work and most importantly,

Law will never trump grace. 

Like treating cancer, most of the time the treatment is as deadly as the disease itself. While we preach and teach grace, we talk about the repentance of sin then and the pain of sin the price of sin, and all the horrible things associated with sin and jump up and down about it and go into great description about hell and eternal pain. Sin becomes the big headline for a lot of us. The subtitle is grace.  

It’s by grace we are saved.

Usually, when we talk about grace we overseason our message with sin, with rules, by trying to make the message clear without dissemination. Though I like having a little egg with my pepper in the morning, it is possible to have to much pepper in your eggs. Most of us are so afraid of walking into the freedom of Christ and letting others walk in said freedom that we fall back on law and rules. 

Conversely, there’s a price to pay for freedom in Christ. You have to accept the fact that some Christians are gonna do and say things that others don’t agree with. This also means you have to accept and love those that don’t claim Christ. We can’t control everything. By the way, I don’t want to even begin to count how many denominations we have, whether we baptize by sprinkling, immersion, or holding them down till they bubble. Freedom means God’s given us free will to explore this relationship with Him and it’s not gonna look the same despite the assembly line we’ve created.

Ultimately in my own life, one of the things that have occurred is there has been so much teaching on sin and bad decisions and wrong decisions that I never could make a good decision. There was always someone there warning me about my wrong decision or the wrong aspect of a decision that I never made a decision. If I ever made a decision there were a lot of people telling me I made the wrong decision.

Concordantly our freedom means we have to be free to make mistakes. We have to be free to stand and fall and when we do, be willing to accept each other as we stand up and fall through our lives with the acceptance of Christ. When John stood in the wilderness and preached against sin, he set the stage for one greater. Christ who died to provide salvation through grace. Understand this, He is someone who walks with us through the good and bad decisions we make in life. Shouldn’t we all follow that example?  

Don’t go through life with just a set of rules, at your crossroads in life walk into the grace-provided relationship with Christ. 

Peace on your journey this week.

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