Not sure if you’re right with God? Here are six easy tips to measure your relationship with God and know that you’re going to heaven:
- Keep perfect church attendance. This is definitely one of the most important measurements of your spiritual status. Attend. Every. Service. Don’t be like those really bad people who “fall back unto perdition” and stay home when they are sick, or their spouse or child is sick.
- Attend more nonmember classes. This is a really easy tip if you want to get ahead in your “relationship” with God. God wants more converts. Obviously, showing your commitment to attending a class to recruit new converts is exactly what God wants you to be doing. Don’t question it, even if it causes problems in your relationships at home. Just. Do. It.
- Add on ladies’ class attendance. Men rarely have an opportunity to show their relationship with God in the Stanton COC unless they preach, but women have all sorts of opportunities. The formula here is simple: Attend every ladies’ class. Do it religiously. You’ll be rewarded in this life with kudos from teachers, and I guarantee you’ll feel much closer to God.
- Don’t take the Lord’s Supper. Whaaa? I know, that sounds counterintuitive. But every so often, you should pass on the Lord’s Supper just to show other people how humble you are. Just don’t overdo it. Try to make sure you don’t pass the Lord’s Supper more than once every couple of months, so people don’t start thinking you’re backsliding. Remember, what men think is far more important than what God knows. And if you’re female, MAKE SURE you don’t verbally say “no” to the man passing the Lord’s Supper. You can’t even shake your head. Just stare blankly at the back of the head of the person in front of you, and you’re good.
- Make profound comments in Bible studies. It’s important to show that you actually studied for the topic before arriving. It’s possible to fake this if you arrive just a few minutes early and flip through your notes from last week in the car, but it won’t be quite as convincing. We recommend taking at least 15 minutes during the week to think of some unique angle others may not have thought of.
- Don’t outshine the Teacher. This is really important, especially when it comes to making comments in class. It’s important to NOT make comments that are more profound or memorable than ones the Teacher has made. If you do that, it’s game over for your spirituality. If anyone comes up to you in front of the Teacher and says they really appreciated your comments, and doesn’t lavish the same praise on your Teacher…frankly, you’re toast. You’ve become a target for future oppression from the teacher. It’s just best to be very cautious about this sort of thing.
OK, seriously, though. I’ve had these questions posed to me before, in so many words. How do Christians measure their relationship with God, and how do we measure others’ relationships with God? Frankly, these are questions that all good legalists (of which I was was chief) are plagued by. How do I know I’m saved? How do I know that my brother/teacher/preacher/evangelist is saved? Better yet, how do I know my brother is saved? My wife? My preacher?
Maybe you’ve asked questions similar to this as well. How do you know you “have God?” And what does that even mean? Can you know, objectively, if some someone else “has God?” Maybe more important than all these questions is, how does God himself measure our relationship with Him?
Church attendance? Nope. That is what I call Churchianity. Social status? I mean, aren’t the teachers and preachers the most godly people in the congregation? OK, maybe not. Well, how about by good works, then? Maybe those who do the most praiseworthy things for their brothers and sisters, like bringing people food when they’re sick; maybe these people have the best relationship with God. Nope. That apparently only count if the sick person is a teacher or preacher, or has a high enough social status to grant some public praise in Bible class.
I know—how about doing foster care or adoption? Surely that will earn me points. There has to be one of these many things that will prove to everyone—maybe to even myself—that I have God. Yeah; n0, no, and no. Not at all. There’s literally (all of my kids will say: “and figuratively?”) nothing you or I can do to “earn” our way into a relationship with the God of Heaven and Earth, or even to objectively prove it to someone else.
Only God knows the hearts of men, after all. And we have a hard enough time knowing our own hearts. Amiright?
1 Samuel 16:7 – But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
I’m just not interested in being a Pharisee. Am I one sometimes? Maybe. I hope not, but I won’t deny that urge in me to measure and judge other people. But I really don’t want to measure my relationship with God (or others’ relationships with God) by humanly measurable metrics, as the Pharisees in Jesus’s time did. That’s why I relish conversations with nonbelievers, enjoy interacting with those who have rejected Christianity, and want foster kids, who have been deeply hurt by their parents, in my home. I am more invested in a person’s future than their past, and I think that instinct is from God. I didn’t always have it. I learned it from the life of Jesus (post-Stanton).
Outwardly visible behaviors do not tell the whole story, and make the “story” way too easy to fake. There are some foster parents who are jerks. There are some Christians who are fools. Pretty much all “Christian” televangelists are frauds, IMO. 🙂 It’s so easy to put a little lipstick on the pig, and make ourself look like the best person who ever lived. “Live your best life,” and stuff.
Here’s the real way to measure our relationship with God. Let’s boil this all down to one thing: Have we internalized Jesus’s teachings? That’s it. Period. End of story. Are we letting the Spirit change our hearts, and is the fruit of that changed heart causing us to live like Jesus did? Those are the only questions we need to ask when measuring our relationship with God.
How many neighbors of serial killers have said the words “I just never would have guessed; he was the nicest guy.” That’s because everyone around them was judging by outward appearances. But God judges the heart. And we need to be better judges of our hearts.
Measuring our spiritual relationship with God via outwardly visible score cards is simply not possible. As the Christian singer Chris Rice wrote, we can’t smell the number nine. You simply can’t measure someone’s relationship with God by the five senses. Evil actions might rule someone out of the Kingdom (if unrepented of, at least), but good actions certainly don’t give us a free ticket to ride on the J-Train. And frankly, attaining Heaven should not be what Christianity is all about, anyway. But that’s a topic for another post. Forgive me for leaving you hanging on that one. 🙂