Lists tick me off. Not in general mind you. But when they try to take important things and condense them down to nice, neat, little check-off sheets. You see this a lot in Christian books. “10 Ways to Live Your Best Life Now”, “148 Ways You Fail God”, “1.9 Billion Ways to Be the Bestest Christian Ever”. Okay, so I made some of those up.
My point stands that these are beyond absurd. What can someone who doesn’t know you tell you about a personal relationship with God? How can they tell you how to live a better life as if they knew your idiosyncrasies?
It is a stupid marketing gimmick and nothing more. Oh sure, they might get something right here and there. But so does the astrology section. Does that make it true? Accurate? Of course not.
More than anything else, they try to make formulas out of what cannot be formulaic. I fail and sin in ways that you don’t. I have different obstacles to face in my life than you. I have different areas that I try to improve on, different focuses of how to grow spiritually. Making a list ignores all these things. Except for the most basic. But even then, aside from the absolute most simple basics, we differ.
A relationship with God is not some holy grocery list. He won’t ask us if we remembered to pick up the benevolence while we were on the earth. We can’t tell Him that we didn’t stop lying because it wasn’t on the top 10 worst sins list.
Our faith becomes something of machinery when we try to boil it down to a list. There is no longer life in it. We simply plod through the motions, convinced that this is faith. It isn’t. That is death. Folly. Wasted time.
It also takes the focus off God. Why, He turns into a cosmic Bingo caller and checker. “B-generous! I-stopped lying! N-credibly honest! G-sus is my homeboy! O-praise God! B-I-N-G-O! Now I’m the best Christian! I win!” It is all about us winning a non-existent, moronic even if it did exist, game of Bingo. What utter garbage.
Crazy proposition: read the Bible and pray. Believe it or not, but if you ask God for guidance, He will give you it. Doing stuff for God is not the same as living for God.