Have you ever thought about the law of first impression,’ spiritually speaking? This law says that the FIRST thing we are impacted with (the first impression on us) is the most influential. Other, subsequent things are less influential. This can be applied to anything in life.
THE FIRST SEED SOWN INTO US This law of first impression’ can be called the first seed sown into us.’ The Bible talks a lot about the principle of sowing and reaping (for instance Galatians 6:7 – what you sow is what you reap.’) It is also the oldest truth in the Bible, if viewed from the perspective of Genesis 1. Here it talks about things producing after their own kind. Thus, spiritually speaking, this is a very important concept to us: what we FIRST have planted into us is the most important thing to influence our lives. It can be as simple as the first kiss,’ or something much more complicated.
Children live what they learn.’ This applies to children, but it also applies to a person of any age. What we are taught stays with us, – if what we are taught is right, or if it is wrong. If we are taught that 2 + 2 = 5, at an early age, we will tend to believe it, even though it is wrong. As an example, when I was in high school I saw the Jerry Lewis movie called Pardners.’ When I got to law school I thought the title of the book called Partnerships,’ was misspelled! Early on I had believed that partner’ was spelled with a d’ – not with a t.’ “Children live what they learn.
SUNDAY SCHOOL 101′ Let’s apply this spiritually. What is the first seed’ sown into most of us in what I humorously call Sunday School 101′? It is usually the ten commandments. It is the concept of doing good, vs. doing bad. We should read our Bible, pray, go to church, and give lots of money. We should not lie, cuss, cheat, steal, commit adultery, kick the cat or be a brat. Thus, we come out of the shoot eating from the wrong tree: the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This is most often our FIRST IMPRESSION of Christianity: do good and don’t do bad.
I read an article that made the point that few missionaries are really trained in the gospel of Jesus Christ. They know the gospel only as what was called entry level Christianity.’ In other words, they knew how to get someone saved, but once this was accomplished, they knew nothing about getting people to repent and believe the gospel’ (which was the first sermon of Jesus in Mark 1:15). The article said that few of the missionaries knew anything about the higher Christian life’ – other than doing good and not doing bad. Thus, the most important thing they taught tribal converts was that, now that they were Christian, the women must cover their breasts, and the men must cover their butts.
If this is all that Christianity is to a person – doing good and not doing bad – they have missed THE GOSPEL TRUTH.’ The law of first impression’ has them trapped in a religious lifestyle, rather than living a truly spiritual life in Christ.
ARE YOU ADDICTED TO RELIGION? Many people go to church on Sunday to try to become more like God.’ This was the first temptation of Satan: “You shall be like God” (Gen 3:5). It’s a noble, but totally impossible undertaking – we will never be like God. Yet, this is the addiction many Christians are fed from the pulpit: “Here’s another way to try to be more like God.” It’s like getting a religious fix.’ Spiritually speaking it is more deadly than becoming addicted to drugs. Thus, Paul contrasts 10,000 instructors in Christ’ (who impart another new weekly fix) as opposed to fathers of the gospel’ (I Cor 4:15). The religious addiction of the body of Christ is of a high proportion.
God’s kids (which includes Christians of all ages) are most often taught a religious lifestyle – not the gospel of the finished work of Jesus Christ. They don’t know the gospel as the power of God within them (Rom 1:16-17), but rather as something else they should – or should not do. It was the first impression’ of Christianity they received in Sunday School 101,’ and it’s the way the interpret everything.
In ‘The Parable of the Sower’ Jesus says we are required to UNDERSTAND the gospel of the kingdom of God (Matt 13:19, 23). He says this ‘gospel of the kingdom’ must be preached in all the world before the end will come (Matt 24:14). Revelation 14:6 says if WE don’t preach it, then ANGELS will.
DON’T MAJOR IN MINORS I’m not saying it’s not a good thing for women to cover their breasts, and for men to cover their butts. But if our thoughts of Christianity are on doing good and not doing bad (from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad), we miss the big picture, and major in minors. In the gospel, Jesus became The Tree of Life. It is this tree that we should be eating from, and not from the tree that tells us the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things we should and shouldn’t do.