Archive for September, 2010

21
Sep
10

the minute maid gospel

Every morning I enjoy a cup of Minute Maid orange juice, and recently I noticed that on the juice you can find the following words:

Put Good In. Get Good Out. You can taste and feel these words in every drop of Minute Maid. When it comes to life, we believe what you believe. The effort you put in is equal to the good you get out

I read that and thought to myself that maybe it’s a modern day pastor who has a part-time job with Coca-Cola, the company that produces Minute Maid, who came up with that slogan…Unfortunately, there are many Christians who believe the Minute Maid Gospel. They believe that if I do all the right things, then life will turn out the way I want it. And even more so: when I have done my part, God needs to do his part. He has promised – people believe – that we will get exactly what we want, when we put in a good effort to please God and do the right things.

The law of linearity

In his excellent book “The Pressure’s Off“, the author Larry Crabb describes how lots of Christians believe in the law of linearity where there is an A that leads to the B you want. Now you just have to figure out what A is, do it consistently and disciplined, and you’ll have the life that you desire. It’s the Minute Maid Gospel that Crabb describes here.

But the problem is, that God hasn’t promised that everything will be great and fun, just because you do your best. Just because you raise your kids and tell them about Christ, there are no guarantees they’ll turn out the way you wanted. Just because you pray diligently to find the spouse you so desperately want, there isn’t any promise provided that you’ll find him. Even if you pray, study, tell other people about Christ, and give to God’s kingdom, you might still end up sick or lose your job.

The law of linearity, or the Minute Maid Gospel, doesn’t preach the truth. But so many of us believe it. I meet people all the time in my counseling office who have come to a place of broken marriages, depression and a general sense of hopelessness, because they believed in the false Gospel, and now they’re disillusioned and mad at God! And unfortunately, there are even more people who simply give up on God, because he didn’t provide what they thought he had promised. It’s essential, in counseling, and in the rest of our lives, that we figure out what God has actually promised. That’s the journey I take my counselees on. God’s promises in the New Covenant are absolutely wonderful, but it’s not from a law of linearity. The Minute Maid Gospel appeals to us, because we enjoy eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that Adam and Eve ate from a while ago. We enjoy the power. The power to be God. The power to be in control. We think we can control our circumstances and other peoples’ choices. And we actually believe that God promised us that our lives would make sense. But these are some of the words that Jesus said regarding living in this world:

In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Plain and simple. You’ll have trouble. Things won’t turn out the way you want them to. People won’t respond the way you desire. Accidents will happen that you didn’t plan for.

But Jesus also said: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27). This is part of the real Gospel – the really great news! Jesus can and will give you peace. Not the kind of peace the world, other religions or people who claim they don’t believe in anything at all give. That kind of peace is based on circumstances. When there is no conflict, you have peace. But Jesus’ peace is a peace that you and I can experience in the midst of marriages falling apart, rebellious kids, lack of a spouse or meaningful friendships, loneliness, unemployment, depressive thoughts, or whatever other situation you may be in the midst of. It’s his peace. The peace of knowing who I am in him. The peace of knowing I am safe. Of knowing I am loved, accepted, and secure. Of knowing that nothing or nobody can ever change that fact. It’s the peace – that Paul talks about in Philippians 4:7 – that goes beyond understanding! It’s a peace you can experience that you can’t explain. Other people around you are losing hope and falling apart, but strangely enough you feel at peace. I have experienced this peace. Sometimes. Not all the time. I long to experience it more. I rejoice when I experience it. And I am excited to share about that peace with other people. We all need peace. Especially when we have run sour trying to pursue the counterfeit-truths of the Minute Maid Gospel. There is no peace when we drink that tonic. We can never rest. We can never just be. It’s a demand to strive and try and go further and push harder. Jesus invites us to rest. He invites to be. It’s the New Way, as Larry Crabb calls it in The Pressure’s Off.

Drink from Jesus’ cup. It gives real life that doesn’t disappoint and doesn’t run out.

Blessings, Torben

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