The most popular trends in Christianity is not WWJD, social justice or Tim Tebow. It’s introspection. To me, it’s almost become it’s own religion within Christianity – a denomination of sorts. People who have received Jesus into their life and spend the rest of their lives contemplating the minutia of Christian living. Here are some of my favorites…
- “I am not part of a church community because I wonder if the Church was ever intended to have a physical building.”
- “What if the bible was just metaphorical and a lot of moral suggestions?”
- “The bible doesn’t really explain how to live in this day and time.”
- “I am concerned with the idea tithing and giving to a church corporation.”
- “Wouldn’t God want the church to spend money on the poor instead of a fountain or building?”
- “What about an undiscovered people group in a tribe in the depths of Africa that never got to hear about God?”
- “I don’t like the the Christian label because I know a lot of Christians who are hypocrites.”
- “Consumerism is evil. Isn’t modern Christianity just another form of consumerism?”
- “If other christians were really christians, we wouldn’t have the needs around us.”
- “I would donate, but I don’t want to enable the problem or have them spend money on drugs.”
I could go on for days, but these kinds of questions of every day Christian living are complete distractions from the implications of a living God who lives inside of us.
Now, you may reject that truth (which is a different topic altogether), but if you believe Jesus is who he said he was, then the implications of His truth should dramatically change our life and how we live…
Specifically that our old selves are gone, His very Spirit dwells is inside of us, Jesus Christ himself lives through us, we are Children of God, we are co-heirs with Christ, we are a royal priesthood, we have been given a renewed mind, we have the mind of Christ, we’ve been given power to impact the world, we can receive direct revelation from God, His mysteries are made known to us and that He will instruct us and watch over as we go forward.
Someone out there in cyberland, please give me an “Amen.”
If that doesn’t turn you on to God, you don’t have a switch.
The point of it all is to have an actual RELATIONSHIP with Jesus and get away from trying to fill our heads with knowledge ABOUT Jesus or about Christianity itself. I would have the crappiest marriage on earth if I merely read the wikipedia about a woman and forsake an actual relationship with my wife.
It seems that the habit for many is to over complicate our relationship with Jesus with theories, philosophies and such. I think the Apostle Paul observed this very phenomenon:
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
Bottom line, relationship with Jesus is simple and pure until we make it complex and muddy. The essence of relationship is not facts, knowledge or theories, it is intimacy and genuine relationship.
Let me hypothesize that introspection can only exist where there is no intimacy with God.
Call me crazy, but when you are interacting with the living God, hearing His voice, following his leading, there is very little interest in spending endless hours in introspection pondering.
I can only guess that people who are trapped in introspection are actually spiritually dead and do not have an intimate relationship with Jesus. Because the answer to every question in life and about God should always be answered with “more intimacy with Jesus.”
When we are in intimate relationship with Jesus first, we will be continually made into His likeness. In doing so, we will live as he lived. The practical answers of life are answered after and in response to intimacy with Jesus.
In my circles, introspection is especially popular with people who attended my college – a challenging christian liberal arts college. It feels like so many of the once faith-filled zealous believers now brag about their indecision about Jesus and faith at large. How did this become cool? I even ran across an old classmate and prominent leader who blogs (and brags) about his wanderings into doubt asking others to join him. Surely he missed out on the intimacy of Jesus.
I am becoming increasingly concerned that in the amazing Christian educations available that we are actually educating people into their apostasy.
We are filling the world with people who can recite scripture, facts and details about a man named Jesus but cannot tell you whether or not they hear the voice of the living God (who lives inside of them).
The areas of introspection I hear, to me, sounds like endless rabbit trails that shouldn’t make any significant difference in practical Christian living. Perhaps its an easy excuse to justify a stale faith or avoid being involved. But the level of introspection seems so extreme that it’s almost like the very purpose is to intentionally avoid the intimacy with Jesus…that is, avoiding the implications that He specifically designed for you to be in close proximity, in continual dialog and led by Him all the time.
We have to come to accept that while all of the bible is fully contained in God, not all of God is fully contained in the bible.
There are some things that we will never be able to know in this life. But those unanswered questions should never come at the expense of developing intimacy with Jesus.