“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto be Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven…”
Largely because of my travels, I’ve been to a lot of Christian churches. I can’t recall one that failed to make it known that they believe in the inerrancy of scripture. I’ve been to some that prefer one version over another and others that read multiple versions in a single reading. I have my own preference, perhaps you do too.
Having become a reader of scripture, what have you done with it? Has it become integrated into your life? Or is it an exterior source of reference material?
We live in a day when fewer and fewer people are their own best seekers and processors of information. The media “news” sources love the lead-in, “X happened, here’s what you need to know.” This is not something unique to modern media. Newspapers of old were not free of party or area bias. Publishers like William Randolph Hearst were no less without an agenda than CNN. That these sources sway hearts and minds is self-evident. That these influences creep into churches is likewise undeniable.
That it happens and is happening on a growing scale, is a warning to the followers of Jesus to guard their hearts and minds against popular sentiments and the attached buzzwords that go along with them. Unweighed and untried rises and ebbs of popular tides are the raw material of inner rot.
How best then, to proceed? First a biblical injunction, “Be still.” Adapt, Improvise and Overcome are most successfully achieved when preceded by, Be still and know.
In stillness there comes peace of soul and spirit—wait for it. When you let the world slip away, there comes next a little voice. Sometimes it sounds like us, sometimes a voice unknown, yet familiar. This voice is generally meek and easy to entreat; it speaks because it has first
This voice will lead you to thought, not dictate it. It’s slow going. This voice requires thinking from views within, without and above. It calls to action more than acceptance. It makes you question yourself until you find a truth verified from your experience—drawn from within heart, not handed down from manmade counsels.
The result is that your life becomes a paraphrase of the divine voice, speaking from the heart those things tried and true that produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a life-altering ongoing stream of epiphany.
Without this experience, we are reduced to parrots squawking lines we have been fed. There is nothing wrong with quoting scripture, but it is a crumb from the master’s table compared to living the truth from the inside out and speaking in your own paraphrase all the Spirit has led you to.
And as evidence, my own realization as I was typing this—perhaps there are people who are spiritual, but not religious. That is, of course, they are spiritual because they are human—and humans are spiritual beings—but maybe they really have no focus, no self-direction, nor self-disciple (the real meaning of religion). Perhaps they are really only parrots after all with nothing to call their own.