Step One: Remember the rules.
There’s nothing more important than keeping the rules. Don’t worry if those rules aren’t found anywhere in the Bible or if you can’t even keep them. That is irrelevant. What really matters is keeping the standard. Your standard. The one that you can’t even keep. But someone has to and there’s no one better than someone else.
Step Two: Evangelize!
Do everything you can to make people see things your way. Don’t be afraid to work your views into an otherwise friendly conversation.
“Did you catch that Cowboys game last night?”
“No. Football is a sin. Remind me again why you like watching men cripple one another.”
This really is a thing of beauty. Before too long, and with a lot of hard work, you’ll raise up other followers who vote like you, listen to music like you, watch what you watch and dress like you. And they’ll be even better at being you than you are.
Step Three: Learn to lie.
No, no, no, not that kind of a lie. The good kind. Here’s an example.
“Did you hear about Ronnie and Sheila? I heard that she threw him out of their trailer and put his entire Dale Jr. collection out in the front yard. How delightfully bad!”
Okay, that’s clearly gossip which is unacceptable. But people have to know about Ronnie and Sheila. Besides, why should you be expected to keep that kind of information under wraps?
Easy. Just lie. But remember, this is the good kind of a lie. A Christian lie, if you will.
“Will you please pray for Ronnie and Sheila and their Dale Jr. collection? All three are out in the front yard right now. It’s bad. Real bad.”
There’s a fine line between a prayer request and a nice piece of juicy gossip. The difference is in the wording.
Step Four: Tithe.
Always remember to give God ten percent of your stuff. You have to go to the penny on this one. And make sure that others do the same. In fact, when one of your friends at church gets a leaky distributor plate shifter in his new minivan, assume, out loud, that it was because he didn’t give his ten percent back to the “storehouse.”
As for the remaining 90 percent, that’s your business. If the church can’t manage to take care of orphans and homeless people with the ten percent you already gave then maybe those orphans and homeless people just weren’t meant to have anything. Besides, how exactly are you supposed to be able to pay for your cat’s $6500 ear surgery if you’re giving away all of your money?
Step Five: Look the part.
Buy yourself a Buick. Or don’t. Whatever. Just look the part. If you’re in a context where poor equals spiritual, sell the nice car and ride around everywhere on a bicycle as you look down upon all of those pagans who have yet to get rid of their cars. When people ask you why you don’t own a car, say something about not being able to justify it with all of the poverty in the world. Then, carefully remove your iPad from your $80 vintage backpack and enjoy your favorite $18 beverage.
Don’t pay much attention to what’s going on inside of you. I mean, it’s not like anyone can look into your heart or tell what you’re thinking. Take advantage of that. Focus on the exterior.
Step Six: Love the rules.
We’ve already discussed the importance of keeping the rules but it is important that you love them too. Become preoccupied with them. Put your identity in them. Search for your righteousness in them.
Again, this makes it harder and harder for people to recognize the actual condition of your heart. Trust me, if you want to obey step five and look the part, you definitely don’t want people recognizing sin in your heart.
Step Seven: Talk a big game.
You know that guy who is never around when some confrontation goes down but is always there when you’re telling the story? The guy who feels the need to say what he would have done if he would have been there.
“Look, if that would have been me I would have told that police officer a thing or two and thrown my Big Mac at him. Yes sir indeed.”
Be as much like that guy as you can.
Convince yourself, and others, that if you were in Adam’s shoes, you would have bitten that snake’s head off before he even got close to Eve. When you read through Scripture, always identify with the good guys. Think of all the ways that you relate to Jesus. Remind yourself that you are nothing like the woman at the well or all of those people demanding the crucifixion of Jesus. To put it another way, treat the Bible like your own personal guide to daily affirmation.
So there you have it. These seven simple steps should have you well on your way to following god. Not the real God, of course. Some god of your own making? Sure. The god of religion? Definitely! But certainly not the God of the Bible.
Following the God of the Bible requires repentance from sin.
It means putting your trust in the righteousness of Christ instead of trying to earn God’s approval on your own.
Those things can get pretty messy.
And you certainly don’t have time to be a messy Christian when you’re so busy just trying to look like one.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)