I have a family friend who sells a weight loss/sports performance product. She is incredible and inspiring. But I fear for her that she will become like so many who are “into” that product, and that the dogma of the company will overtake her. I already see her pursuing “health and wealth.” I know it’s a dead end street.
I have another friend who worked for a great nonprofit. They helped children, especially young women, to learn about science and pursue careers in science fields. But her two bosses, as dedicated paleontologists, were staunch atheists. I prayed the entire time she worked there, knowing that there was an atheistic mindset among the employees/ I hoped she wouldn’t be pulled into it. But I watched as she became engulfed in the world of Oprah-ism. You know — “We’re good people. We make a difference.” I don’t know if she’s ever fully recovered.
And then there’s my own faith. Ah, Christianity! If the media hasn’t proved that we have some mental health issues, cultist ideas, and behaviors, then I don’t know what will convince us. At this moment, I’m worried sick about some family members who worship their church more than the God they proclaim to believe in.
The truth is we can get really weird following “Jesus.” And then we can turn around and say some stupid statement like: well, the world is not supposed to love us….
The truth also is that when you’re weird, you can’t be relational.
The weirdness factor comes into play every day of every moment when we interact with other people. Sure, we can find people who buy into our ideas, but we usually end up only being able to be around others who think like us. That’s not being a relational person.
For this reason, for a little over five years now, I’ve been asking God to do something in my heart, mind, and body that may seem incredibly simple. But it’s been one of the most difficult things to implement.
I’ve been asking Him to make sure that I stay natural.
When I look at Jesus, I see the most natural human being who ever lived. But that wasn’t always the case. I used to think that he was pretty volatile. And pretty stubborn. And sometimes a little weird. And because He was, that gave me a right to be the same way.
But then I read this statement one day. It laid out the argument that …
If God is all good and all loving all the time THEN it is impossible for Him to do or say anything that is unloving or unkind. SO, when we read His words and actions and we think, “that’s pretty harsh, etc,” we have to ask ourselves…. “How could this be said in a loving way?”
This practice, more than any other, has radically shaped my ideas about who God is, and who I’m supposed to be. And pretty amazingly, it’s kept me from swerving into the weird Christian lane more than any doctrinal guideline ever could.
I think it’s what God (through Paul) was talking about when he said, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
This is what according to Christ means: To be loving. To be kind. To be selfless. And to be natural. While still loving God enough to obey His commands.
That’ll keep me growing till the day I die.