Summary: This series aims to narrow the gap between Scriptural instruction and our day-to-day challenges.
“God is Not a Magic Pill”
Tuff Stuff Series
Gages Lake Bible Church
Sunday Evening, July 26th, 2009
Pastor Dan Darling
Whether you’ve been a believer for five minutes or five years or five decades, you all have a “yeah, but” reflex to your spirituality.
You know what I mean, don’t you?
You hear a great sermon on a very tough area of your life, something you struggle with such as forgiveness or finances or raising children or finding joy in trials. You leave church all inspired to change or do better.
But then you go home and reality sets in. Life ends up being much harder than it should be. And you begin to wonder to yourself. I’m a Christian, but why am I having so much trouble?
And then you begin to adopt the “yeah-but” philosophy. Yes, God can promises victory over this temptation but, my situation is especially tough. Yes, I heard the pastor say that God is in control, but he doesn’t understand what I go through at work every day. Yes, I read this great Christian book on how to overcome addictions, but mine seems so incredibly difficult.
The truth is, we all have those "yeah-but" times. Times when it seems the space between what Scripture tells us is possible and reality is as wide as the Grand Canyon.
This series Tuff Stuff aims to narrow the gap. How do we bring Scripture to bear in a practical way into the nitty-gritty areas of our lives? Those areas that seem to escape the powerful truths of God’s Word?
If you’re a Christian, you operate under a principle that the Bible is inerrant and infallible. That means it is without error and is totally inspired by God.
We read verses like:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
Academically we believe 2 Timothy 3:16. If we were to be quizzed on our beliefs, we’d say, “Yes, the Bible has the answers for all of life.” We might even hold up our King James Bible for effect! But do we believe this in the everyday matters of life?
When God calls us to forgive someone close to us who has so purposefully wronged us?
When we struggle with a secret sin that seems to have a stranglehold on our lives?
When we live every day with worry and anxiety about the future?
When we encounter a trial that steals away our joy?
When we follow the principles of child-training only to see kids rebel?
When we’re faithful to the Lord and hope for a godly husband or wife only to see the years pass by without an opportunity?
When the unsaved spouse continues to ignore God in spite of our faithfulness?
Does God’s word speak to those issues? What does it have to say?
No Magic Pill
This brings us to our first message. I titled it, “God Is Not a Magic Pill.” I was going to come up with some other vague title, but that kept popping in my brain all week.
TV, the Internet, and the radio are full of magic cures aren’t they? Take this pill and you will lose weight in 2 weeks. They even have before and after pictures to prove it. Have you noticed that the before and after pictures are usually two different people. Amazing what you can do with Photoshop. I always love the disclaimer at the bottom, “Results not typical.’ Then why in the world are you trying to sell me that product. If I’m paying money, I want those results to be typical.
True confessions: I once bought some supposedly organic diet pills. Somehow I convinced Angela to spend money we didn’t have. The pills didn’t work. Turns out that there is no pill available that allows you to eat 5 slices of Lou Malnati’s pizza and still lose weight.
Well, there are all kinds of instant cures supposedly available. You can take a five-step program to be out of debt. A seven step program to look 20 years younger. 10-step program to find wealth and work from home. You see them all the time.
We laugh at them. But what’s really serious is that we have this approach to spirituality. God is often offered up as a magic pill. You watch Christian television or read bestselling books. Often you will see 3, 5, 10 step plans to overcome the hard things of life.
Or you hear this. Come to Christ and all your problems will be solved. But is this really true?
Is God the magic genie we want him to be?
The Secret Paul Knew
If you read the New Testament, especially the writings of Paul, you’ll see that a consistent theme emerges in his teachings. Endurance. Patience.