Providence sees fit to weave a variety of people into my regular comings and goings. I live in the neighborhood where my faith family gathers for worship, so the neighbors know my vocation is to be a mouthpiece of God and a shepherd of His people. With that in mind, the conversation tends to hover around spiritual matters.
There is a bewildering common denominator in most of these conversations: people readily ask spiritual questions but refuse to listen to spiritual answers! It’s the strangest experience. I get that unrighteousness causes us to suppress the truth (Romans 1), but I’m not talking about one’s ability to be converted and embrace the truth. Simply, I’m astounded at the level of incompetence and/or arrogance exhibited by one who asks a deeply personal and eternally significant question yet refuses to hear any answer that differs from what s/he has already decided is the answer. Are “incompetence” and “arrogance” too harsh? You decide:
If one lacks the ability to be teachable/intellectually curious, then it’s a competency issue.
If one lacks the desire to be teachable/intellectually curious, then it’s an arrogance issue.
Particularly troublesome to me are the souls who claim to be Christian but know literally nothing of the Christian Scriptures [Christian Scripture being both the Old and New Testament]. And instead of searching the Scriptures to find answers to God-questions, such a “Christian” relies on folksy religious sayings to help interpret their life experience. To be sure, the Bible won’t answer every question we ask, but as we learn what the Bible teaches about God, humanity, life and eternity, we will find ourselves asking a set of questions that is different from the typical questions I hear some “Christians” ask: Why does God allow children to starve? Why do pastors run off with girlfriends? What’s God’s will for my life? How can you trust the Bible when it has so many translations? How can you believe Jesus is the only way to heaven? These are reasonable questions that are reasonably and clearly answered in the Christian Scriptures. [I know there are some passages that can be interpreted differently, such as the parables and apocalyptic writings but the majority of didactic Christian Scripture is pretty cut and dry.]
I am most troubled that these questions cause some to experience years of spiritual paralysis, yet they can be answered in an afternoon conversation!
Christians, let us learn from the One who is the source of Christian knowledge so we may enjoy our relationship with Him and help our friends find reasonable answers to their reasonable questions.
Pray that I continually point self, family, neighbors and congregation towards Jesus Messiah/Christ (both terms mean “anointed one”) Who is both the Wisdom and Power of God (1 Corinthians 1). He is, for us, the source of Life, Knowledge, Reason, Wisdom, Power, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption.
And may the Scriptures – His living and active Word (Hebrews 4.12) – lead us to Jesus, from Whom we eat, drink and live.