In a parallel life, I grew up on 2nd Street in a family committed to Jesus.
I have always been a rebel—not in the sense of a whisky drinking, cursing, carousing, outlaw—but in the sense of one who always wanted to know why. “Because I said so” did not work for me.
There were rules at home and at church. From my wiring, I asked the “why” question enough to run others nuts. At times, I received the explanation. At other times, it was easier for parents, adults, and teachers to respond with the shortcut, “Because I said so.”
Growing up in the church, I reached a certain age when I realized I was not yet in the Church with the capital C, although I attended church throughout the week. The answer to my why question was I had not followed Jesus into the waters of baptism. I checked it out. The answer was right.
I believed in Jesus. I was learning right from wrong, and had committed my own heart to follow Him forever. What I was lacking was to respond in faith as did those from the Book of Acts. So one Sunday morning, I went into the waters of baptism symbolizing His death, burial, and resurrection, receiving the Holy Spirit into my life.
I am enormously grateful for the good fortune of my childhood. Across the face of the earth, few people receive the blessing of growing up in a godly family and a God-centered church.
However, since church, family, tradition, and truth were all one whole, I find at age 66, I am asking “why” more than ever as I attempt to sort through the whole. The “Because I said so” still doesn’t work. I want to be grateful for wonderful traditions I received through church and family while elevating God’s truth to a higher level and seeing it in its brightest light.
This is important to me for two reasons. First, I want to make sure I have not raised a church or family tradition to the level of a “thus says the Lord.” I don’t want to spend my time defending traditions that are not gospel.
The gift of God is free and readily available. It is simple to receive. It is not a treasure to encounter at the end of a maze of traditions, rules and regulations. It is a matter of connecting my heart to God’s heart.
I want to base my salvation on God’s reality, not in following church or family traditions just because someone said they are God’s will.
“Who said so?” could be the most important question you can ask.
Stay tuned. – Gary J. Sorrells – On Cross Church