Recently I read this principle about motherhood, “Raising a teenager is like nailing Jell-O to a tree.” I laughed so hard I cried. But it triggered a spiritual reality for me. There are times we seem as if we believe in Jell-O faith-–staking our hope or belief on something other than the Scriptures.
About a year ago our pastor held an open forum to discuss why Christians don’t share the Lord with others. A few of the responses revealed some of our Jell-O attitudes.
“If I weren’t so busy, I would have more time to serve the Lord.” “If I were more bold and outspoken and not so shy and timid around others, I would be able to witness to my neighbors and friends.” “Isn’t that why we pay the pastor? He should be sharing the gospel with people.” Christians with this ‘Jell-O faith reasoning don’t seem to know Daniel 12:3: “Those who lead many to righteousness will shine as the stars forever.”
Another Jell-O faith concept is as author Timothy Keller describes “the conscious belief that God’s love for us is conditioned on something we can be or do;” as racking up points with God, is like nailing Jell-O to a tree. However, Ephesians 2:8b and 9b remind us, “. . . By grace you have been saved through faith . . . not by works of any kind.”
I overheard someone at church explaining to a friend a final Jell-O faith reasoning. “Forgiveness is a problem for some people, but not me. A few years ago a person really hurt me very deeply. Oh, I forgave him, but I left the church so I didn’t have to see him or serve with him.” This woman had slipped into nailing Jell-O to a tree with her false forgiveness. Perhaps she had never read Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:15, “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” In the context, Jesus meant our prayers will go unheard and unheeded.
Our prayer should be, Thank you, Holy Spirit, for reinforcing to us that a Jell-O faith insults Jesus’ finished work when he nailed our sins to the Tree.