Jeremiah 7: 13-14
While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen. I called you but you did not answer. Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your fathers. NIV
When I was in fourth grade, I had to switch elementary schools. Only 14 of us went from my old school to the new one, and, none of my old friends ended up in my new class. So, I had to make a whole new group of friends.
My first friend was an only child. Her mom spoke to mine, and I ended up at her house one afternoon. We made cookies. Carrot cookies. I had never eaten one, much less made one. I remember eating a good amount of the sugary dough before we put the carrots in. At some point, I asked her where she went to church. This was my world. Everyone I knew went to church. We weren’t all the same religion, but, on Sunday morning, we all went out and got in our cars and went to worship.
She said she didn’t go.
I’m sure I must have been surprised by her answer, and, given that I’m not at all skilled at hiding what I’m thinking, I’m sure she knew that. What she said next, has stuck with me all these years. She said, “going into a church doesn’t make me a Christian any more than going into a garage would make me a car.”
I knew that she was right. I was a new Christian. I hadn’t become one by going into the church. It had been a gradual learning process for me. I came to understand the truth of John 3:16, the miracle of Christmas and the hope of Easter. God had sent His one and only Son as a sacrifice for my sins. It was a gift that I had only to acknowledge and accept as my own. I had accepted Christ into my heart, and it had been transformational for me.
It was years before I realized that the phrase, “going into a church isn’t going to make me a Christian any more than going into a garage will make me a car,” while completely true, was likely one that she had heard from her parents … that they must have used it as a justification for not being actively involved in a local fellowship, but, that’s off my point.
This chapter of Jeremiah, Chapter 7, speaks exactly to that phrase.
The people are off doing all sorts of things that are abominable to God. And, when it is time to worship, they enter the temple to praise Him. They treat their temple experience as the thing that will be their salvation.
They were trusting in the temple. They were entering it and expecting to be made holy … walking into the garage and expecting to become a car.
That isn’t going to cut it. God clearly says that they cannot trust in the building, the Temple, even if it bears His name. Trusting anything other than God, is wrong, and, in my case, leads to nothing but worry.
God wants, expects, demands that I trust HIM. Nothing else.
That’s what I’ll think about today.