What’s your first response when you sense God inviting you to a faith adventure? Do you respond with an eager yes? Or do you hesitate, weighing the pros and cons? Do you try to figure out the details before giving your nod of approval?
I grew up in a family of faith. I attended Sunday school, Pioneer Girls, youth group and church summer camp. I even graduated from Bible college. You’d think a background such as this would have educated me to walk in habitual instant obedience to God. Unfortunately, my strong Sunday school theology hasn’t always served me well. It’s been put to the test on occasion and found sorely lacking.
Personally, I find it difficult to trust God with my future. While I believe He’s led me faithfully to this point, I sometimes wonder how He’ll weave the various threads of ministry together so I can be most effective in building His kingdom. It’s easy for me to feel anxious despite knowing His promises to guide me when I trust in Him. My thoughts go something like this: Yes, Lord, I trust You but I don’t have the funds to pay for the marketing that needs to happen for my latest project. Or Yes, Lord, I believe Your promises but what if I do what You’re asking and my efforts fail?
Martha demonstrated a similar attitude in John 11:26,27,39. She’d notified Jesus when her brother, Lazarus, was deathly ill. Sadly, Lazarus died before Jesus responded. When He finally showed up, He said to her, “Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
“Yes, Lord,” she said. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” There’s her Sunday school theology. Yup, I believe.
Then came the cruncher. “Roll the stone away,” said Jesus.
Martha’s Sunday school theology flew out the window. “But Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible!”
Dear, dear Martha. Gotta love that woman’s humanity. Yes, I believe You’re the Messiah, but get real. We’ve got a problem here.
That scene was an emotional one for Jesus. Scripture says He felt anger, He was deeply troubled, He wept, and He felt angry again (vv. 33, 35, 38). My hunch is that Martha and her friends’ unbelief triggered those emotions. Why, after witnessing His power in so many ways, were Martha and the others not able to connect the dots?
Thankfully, in His mercy, Jesus stuck around and showed them His power once again. Sunday school theology leapt off the page and into real life as Lazarus walked from the grave.
What does your Sunday school theology say about God? How does that SS theology impact your day-to-day actions and attitudes? Take a few minutes to answer these questions. Feel free to share from your heart. I’d love to hear from fellow sojourners.
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