Why is it a struggle to take God out of church and bring Him with us every day into every situation of our lives? We come with 4 people and leave with 4 people. We just keep Him at church. Why do we keep God in the church parking lot?
We can hear about God’s grace in church and it can bring us to tears. But on Monday, in school, at home, at work, we can struggle to believe that God’s grace is for us.
We can hear about how to live a life of priorities and be inspired to make strategic God decisions. By Monday, we are back doing the very same things we did the week before. Same ruts and same routines.
We can hear about God forgiving us and how we should then forgive others. Then later that same day, on the soccer or field hockey field, we want to fight another parent because our kid got hit.
Why do we keep God in the church parking lot? Why do we struggle to bring God home with us?
We hear about how God wants to us to grow up in the youth group and the older we become, we invest into the younger kids. We build friendships with them. We pray for them. We build them up. Knowing that, why is it easier to do nothing?
If I was honest about my own life, I can be in church, be impacted by what was said or a scripture and never bring it home with me. It can take years for me to hear something and then have it show up in my behaviors. Why? Here it is. It’s easier to keep God in the parking lot. Isn’t that your experience too?
Here is why we don’t bring God home with us. To bring God home with us requires heart change and we don’t want to do that cause that’s harder. It’s easier to keep God in the parking lot, go back home and complain about how hard being a Christian is.
It’s harder to allow God to change our hearts and make changes in our behaviors at home. That would mean we have to disrupt our lives. We have to change something. We have to get out of our ruts and routines. For example; the Bible says, James 3:5-6
A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. 6 A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. MSG
To hear that at church is great. How many people do you know, actively and aggressively, make sure their words build people up? How many people who attend church for years are still negative and spread gossip? The only way to take God home with you, is allowing God to change your heart.
The weird thing about keeping God in the parking lot at church is we can feel good about ourselves while driving home. Do you know why? We feel like we did a good religious activity, we went to church. The problem is, we did experience heart change. We can say, “I heard about God.” That makes us feel good. We can say, “I know more information about God, I’m smarter now.” That can make us feel good too. We can even do deeper bible studies about God. But, over time, if we keep God in the church parking lot and we make no heart changes to bring Him home with us, we will wreck our hearts. Our faith will never be real. What we say and do will never match up. We will struggle to have integrity. We will struggle to be the same person in all the areas of our lives.
Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? 15 For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved 16 and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup – where does that get you? 17 Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
18 I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.” Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. MSG
Faith is useless unless you do something with it. You can hear about God but if you don’t take God home with you or take Him into school, it’s useless. You can learn more information about God but if there is no heart change, it’s useless. You can even do a deeper bible study on God but if it fails to impacts your behavior, it’s useless.
So how do we take God home with us? How do we get God out of the church parking lot? It’s simple. We allow Him to change our heart. We go home and live out what we heard in faith.
I’m no longer angry, I forgive.
I’m no longer greedy, I give.
I’m no longer a victim, I serve others.
I’m no longer wounded, God healed me.
I’m no longer jealous, I celebrate others.
I’m no longer rebellious, I submit and serve my authority.
I am no longer controlling, I put my trust in God.
Please, please, please hear me. If there is no heart change, God doesn’t go home with you. No heart change means God stays in the parking lot. That way of living will wreck your heart. Here is why, think about this. If you keep God in the church parking lot and don’t bring Him into all the situations of your life, you are creating two worlds.
The first world is church where God is. The second world is your life where God is not. Immediately, you are creating a battle, a struggle. A Godly world at church vs. a life without God at home, the way we really want to live.
If you don’t take God home with you, church stuff will begin to rub you the wrong way. You end up behaving differently at church than you do at home, school or work. Why? At church we have to act godly because God is there so we try desperately to fake who we really are, clean up our mouths for an hour so we can get back to the way we want to live. We see this in high school. We see this at college. We see this at work. We end up being people who are religious or hypocritical.
When I meet Sam and Ken in public or worse, at a party, my worlds collide and I have act like I do a church. I have to tell you that I think this is hilarious. When you get around an accountant, do you act like you know math? When you get around a construction guy, do you act like you know how to build a house? When you get around a computer guy, do you act like you know how to program computers? It’s so weird to me how people act. So why would you immediately be a differently person when you meet a pastor? Because you have created two worlds and it freaks you out when your worlds collide.
I’m telling you, when there is no heart change, you don’t take God home with you. You create two worlds. A God world at church, and we would never call it this, a godless world at home, school and work. It wrecks our hearts.
Titus 2:11-14 God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! 12 We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, 13 and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. 14 He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness. MSG
Do you leave God in the parking lot when you go home?
Do you create two worlds in your life?
Are you the same in all the areas of your life?
Does church stuff rub you the wrong way [Jesus teachings on giving, serving, leading, forgiving, etc.]?
Does God’s grace so impact you that it shows up in how your behaviors?
Today, will you come to God and say, “You are my Lord and my Savior and I want to take You home with me today and have You in every situation of my life”?
Will you take God home with you today?