Many of us live by a perversion of Christianity that I like to call “Checklist Christianity.” This is the false belief that God wants us to focus on doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. As a result, we believe he has a long checklist of all the right things he expects us to complete each day.
The phenomenon of Checklist Christianity is not new. Way back in the garden of Eden, we find two very important trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Both trees were real trees, but they represented how Adam and Eve were going to choose to live. The Tree of Life represented how God wanted every human to live—dependent on the life of Christ within them. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represented living independent of God. The couple chose poorly, eating from the second tree.
The moment Adam and Eve ate from this tree their thinking changed from a relationship mentality to a checklist mentality. Their list was about what is good and evil, right and wrong. This was fake godliness. It replaced real godliness with human good and evil, right and wrong. Before this, everything they did was motivated by the belief that God loved them and had blessed them. Now they believed that, if they performed well and could check off more right than wrong each day, God would love and bless them. But if they committed more wrong than right, God would reject and punish them.
Sadly, a lot of Christian teaching and discipleship today fosters Checklist Christianity, using the Bible to focus on doing right instead of wrong. This is simply swinging from the evil side to the good side of that tree. It’s where the false idea of being a good Christian comes from. God wants us to enjoy the fruit of the Tree of Life by living dependent on the life of Christ in us.
Let me be clear. God isn’t interested in right and wrong. What he is interested in is life—you and me living from his life within us!
Do you have a checklist? What’s on it? How does it affect you to focus on right and wrong instead of on Christ living within you?