The Christian life is not cut and dry or black and white. There are a lot of factors that play into a believer’s walk with Christ. Because there are so many variables, the Christian experience is going to be very different for a lot of people.
This is not to diminish the importance of authoritative truth, but to point out that there is actually a lot we can NOT prove definitively. What is more important, Orthodoxy or Moralism? Which is a more accurate demonstration of ‘being like Christ,’ Evangelism or Social Activism? How can a Christian live “in the world” but yet not be “of the world?”
The average Christian does not look very much like Jesus Christ. Jesus was the only one in human flesh who was ever perfect and complete. But instead of looking at Christ’s life in it’s entirety – through narrative and doctrine – we tend to limit His character to the preconceptions we have of Him and view Him in light of how we really want to see Him.
If you prefer to see Christ as a loving benevolent being, you’ll read the stories about Him healing the sick and be motivated to go out and work in a soup kitchen. If you look at Jesus as the perfect victor over sin, you’ll probably enjoy the story where He’s cracking a whip at the sellers in the temple and then you’ll be motivated to confront anyone who gets out of line during the worship service.
Few Christians are actually balanced in their daily life. We tend to swing from one extreme to the other like a pendulum. I can even testify to the major shifts in my own life and ministry. It’s not easy being balanced. As soon as we start to feel like we’ve achieved or learned something we begin to relax and slowly drift off course.
The problem is, we don’t come to the Bible critically willing to be challenged and convinced. Instead, we keep reading the same stories to confirm our biases. In my observation, the average Christian is not well read, cannot debate an idea with objective reasoning, and lacks the determination to tracking down the truth.
As as result denominations are distinctly different, churches become divided, relationships are often severed, and individuals feel conflicted.
Balance is not easy and it may never be achieved, but it is the target that we shoot for. A person aiming at the ground will hit it every time.
Lately I have been challenged in my worldview. Our perception is more likely affected by our idea of the object than the object itself. As Americans in the Western Civilization and brought up under modernity, we have a tendency to unequivocally trust what we see and hear without doing the due diligence of actually critiquing it first. I am challenging myself to be more discerning.
I’m sure we’ve all fallen into the trap of faulty reasoning by forwarding an email we thought carried undeniable facts only to be followed a week later by a rebuttal. One thing the dawn of the information age did not bring was a heightened level of discernment.
If we desire to be more like Christ it is essential that we strive to be more critical thinkers and challenge our preconceptions. We must work out our faith with fear and trembling in order to live a life that is truly worthy of the gospel.
This week I am going to be challenging myself to wrestle with some very complex ideas and I am inviting you to help me along this journey. I’d appreciate your input, either publicly on this site or privately in an email.
I value your insight because it’s the only way that I can be certain I’m not completely out of my mind. In a previous article on Half Truths I stated that it’s easy to be duped when ideas are left uncontested. So, if you disagree with me, as a brother or sister in Christ, I invite you to challenge me for the glory of God.