Today concludes thoughts on a dream of a new reformation, at least for now. Check out parts 1 and 2 (previous posts) if you haven’t seen them yet. And then let me know what you think. Does this resonate with you? Are you living some/all of this out already or do you know someone who is? How does God want to bring joy and simplicity to your life and faith?
We have inadvertently fostered mistaken notions of spiritual growth in the Western Church. Life with God is poorly understood and half-lived among too many. We have represented His love poorly. We have allowed a church centric view of life with God to flourish. God’s work involves much more than what happens within church walls and missionary endeavors. All of life was meant to be lived encountering the Lord in every realm of life—from washing a dish to creating a marketing presentation to drafting a peace treaty with North Korea—all can bring Him glory and pleasure.
We need to have a vision of walking with God that spans work and rest, church gathered and church scattered, and both the active and contemplative spheres of life. We have not been realistic about the true nature of spiritual growth or how difficult it truly is. It is a battle to be fought and a race to be won against Satan, the world, and ourselves. We must be realistic about the difficulty of sustained spiritual progress and arm an army of spiritual parents to nurture and care for them as they battle.
We have made the mistake of taking our model for spiritual growth from higher education or business rather than from the Biblical model of spiritual parenting. There is much hidden influence from cultural and secular thought in common thinking about spiritual growth and formation. To combat this influence, it must first be recognized and understood. Several common but unseen ideas that cloud our faith are:
- Practical Deism: God is an absentee landlord
- Platonism: knowledge is the highest virtue
- Pragmatism: only what works is true and right
- Naturalism: only what is seen is true and right
- Humanism: humans are the center of the universe
- Relativism: tolerance is the highest virtue
We can’t wait any longer. It is time to call the church to elevate its vision of God and what life with Him can be. We must return to the central focus of the Great Commandment.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him,“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22: 36-40)
We must relate with God as a Person rather than a list of rules or practices. It is time to recover the messages of Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians and return to an inside-out view of life with God. When this happens, the breadth of our encounters with God and the depth of our responses to Him will be fundamentally changed. As we are transformed, the Bride is made ready. And that makes us that much closer to seeing Jesus face to face.
grace, peace, and truth,