My wife and I will soon open a new chapter in our lives. As we near our middle years (according to human averages anyway) we decided to return to university to expand our education and being new careers. Many factors contributed to this decision, but one in particular led the way…the issue of intrinsic v. extrinsic living.

Several months ago I was researching a sermon and discovered a story by Heinrich Böll that helps define this concept well:

An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” The American asked.

“Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.

“I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” The Mexican said.

“But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you could buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

“Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then, señor?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

The American said slowly, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”

American Dreaming

Growing up in America I understand the attitude of the Harvard educated businessman. Our educational system and culture are geared toward achievement and a drive toward success in finances above everything. American culture is extrinsically driven, for the most part, and we see this in our attitudes toward one another and life. We want fast food, entertainment on demand, high paying jobs, and long vacations. Everything we do is extrinsically driven because we are taught to be motivated by money and success. We even call this insanity the “American Dream”…American Nightmare might be a better appellation.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 18.1% of Americans are affected by anxiety in some way. I believe this stems from our culture’s obsession with extrinsic motivators. Sports champions receive rings, trophies, cash, and fame…extrinsic. Musicians or actors are rich and popular (seemingly anyway) and we fawn over them constantly…extrinsic. Business people are given bonuses, focus on metrics and numbers, and knock people down to grow the bottom line…extrinsic.

Extrinsic motivations are not entirely bad, however. We all need a paycheck and we enjoy accolades and trophies and there is nothing wrong with people recognizing excellent work done by others. We must not throw the baby out with the bath water, but we cannot expect to live entirely driven by extrinsic motivations and find inner peace and happiness. Indeed, the very concept is antithetical because inner peace and happiness are intrinsic by definition.

Peace Within

Intrinsic motivations are driving my wife and me to make a major life and career change in our middle years. If we only cared about extrinsic motivations we would stay put and push on to larger bank accounts and the acquisition of things. We don’t care about those things anymore. Things are nice, but inner peace and joy are far greater than an expensive car or beautiful home.

Ultimately, we find our inner peace through Jesus Christ. It is through our faith that we experience what Galatians calls the “fruit of the Spirit”. This “fruit” is now the driving force in my life. My thoughts and focus are on growing the intrinsic values of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. For what good are things if I am unable to enjoy them because my inner life is in turmoil?

My encouragement to you today is simple: find your intrinsic motivators and begin to live according to them. Before you go out and quit your job and move to Mexico, please understand that being driven by intrinsic desires does not require such radical change. Most people can experience deep and lasting changes in their daily lives simply by adjusting their focus from extrinsic motivators (all of which eventually fade) to intrinsic motivators (which are more permanent).

In Christ we can discover peace and love and joy, and that allows us to be truly free because we are no longer held captive by extrinsic motivators. Experience Jesus and experience freedom and peace. I can think of nothing greater or more pure than being driven by those intrinsic motivators that saturate our lives with hope and joy and love.


Static Cling

Facebook’s data logs will one day be a treasure trove of information for anthropologists, historians, and psychologists to sift through when learning about this era. Social media has its uses, of course, but on the whole Facebook and Twitter have become places for people to proudly display ignorance, bias, and misinformation. Parsing unending streams of information to determine fact from fiction will be the most beneficial skill for future humans.

Today’s post was prompted by an exchange of ideas on a friend’s Facebook post. One of the authors in the thread angrily told the original poster that they would not change the way they did things. The angry comment was laced with profanity and poor grammar, which is common on social media, but it is the sentiment behind the post that drives today’s thinking.

When presented with an alternative option…

To clarify, the argument between Original Poster (hereafter O.P.) and Commenting Poster (C.P.), centered around the usage of language. C.P.’s remarks on O.P.’s post contained profanity. O.P. objected to such language on their page, stating that posting on someone else’s page was akin to being a guest in their home, and asked C.P. to refrain from such language. C.P. angrily and sardonically retorted they would not change for O.P. or anyone else, continuing with the foul language of course.

Back to the discussion at hand…

When presented with an alternative option, C.P. refused to alter their behavior to accommodate O.P. because “that’s the way I am”. That’s the way I am…a phrase designed to take advantage of our culture’s penchant for self-actualization. When we are asked to alter our behavior by another person and we respond with “That’s the way I am”, we reflect the request back to the offended person.

In other words, if I behave in a way that is irritating or offensive to another person, that person asks me to adjust my behavior, and I refuse, citing the “That’s the way I am” argument, I am actually asking the first person to alter their behavior to accommodate me. Perhaps it would be apropos when someone claims the “That’s the way I am” argument to counter with your own “That’s the way I am”. Essentially it would be an adult version of the “Did not…Did too” arguments you had with your siblings as a child.


What drives the “That’s the way I am” argument? Why do people feel compelled to return to this ridiculous claim over and over again? The answer lies in fundamental assumptions and choices and how they affect us.

In the example given, C.P. uses foul language with regularity according to their comments. At some point, this person chose to incorporate “four-letter words” into their daily speech. Perhaps they struggled with advanced language or perhaps they had a parent who frequently cursed, we cannot know for certain without further investigation. Whatever the cause, they now see this aspect of their speech as indispensable. They simply do not know how to respond without using foul language because that manner of speech is now part of who they are as an individual.

When we make life choices we are confronted with obstacles. Choosing to use foul language in everyday speech, C.P. likely faced opposition in some form from society. However, the opposition was eventually overcome through continued positive reinforcement of the behavior. Whether such reinforcement came from internal justification or from outward sources (e.g., friends or family), in the end the person hardwired this behavior into their system hence the argument “That’s just the way I am”.

We cling to such static behaviors and refuse to adapt or change because we associate most of our behavior with our identity. Humans are born with two powerful desires that are diametrically opposed: the desire to be known as an individual and the desire to be part of a group. It is possible for the “That’s just the way I am” argument to morph into “That’s just the way WE are”, but the concepts behind each statement are essentially equal. Because we are driven by these desires, as we grow and develop we seek out behavior patterns and make choices to validate who we have decided to be in the universe.

Whatever decisions we make about who we are fundamentally, whether those choices be existential, practical, or spiritual, we cling to them as if our life depended on them…because in a way it does. Most individuals have not reached the point of self-examination and self-awareness to become flexible. Most people are static creatures built on choices, often made decades ago, and as such they cannot see how to change…thus the “That’s the way I am” argument arises.

God is My Rock

Psalm 18:2 says, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” Powerful words for us to consider. 

God should be the static cling in our lives. We can connect with Him and cling to Him because He does not and cannot change. Fundamentally God is the same today as He was yesterday and He will be the same in a billion trillion years. God’s design for humanity was for us to connect to Him as individuals and then He would walk with us through our life’s journey and we could adjust our thinking and behavior to reflect His unchanging thinking and behavior.

We find ourselves on unstable ground emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually when we become self-referential. The “That’s the way I am” argument is built on self-referencing.

Think of it like this…imagine everyone’s life is a painting that we work on for decades until we cross over from this world to the next. We can paint our own image while looking into a mirror (self-referencing) or we can paint what we see outside of ourselves that God has provided. While there is the option of painting external sources other than God, all of those external sources can be traced back to a self-referencing source.

Only the God of the Bible, Yahweh, and Jesus Christ, provide a fully other source of reference for our life painting that also incorporates our personal identity into the picture. God is our rock to which we cling, but God does not ask us to abandon our created nature entirely. Instead, the amazing beauty of Christianity, is that God desires us to become what He desires us to be…and that is always a reflection of inborn desires.

To put it another way, we are each born “bent” certain ways. We may have a proclivity for the arts, sports, mathematics, or any number of things. We may be extroverted or introverted, quiet or boisterous, thinking or feeling, and on and on. Numerous personality tests detail data about the varying types of people on earth, but all people were created by God and He placed desires within us that are reflective of Him.

Part of the Christian journey is discovering which parts of ourselves are God-designed and which are not and choosing the God-designed parts to focus on. When we live life in this manner we become flexible rather than static. Learning to adapt to God and flow with His thinking will destroy the “That’s the way I am” argument permanently.

Believers in Christ should have one response, “That’s the way HE is…and that’s the way I want to be too”. When we reflect those traits and abandon those parts of us that are in opposition to God’s beautiful static nature, we begin to change and find peace and joy in our journey.

Being Right

Another famous person committed suicide this week. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, another 123 people committed suicide today…but most of us will never know because they aren’t famous. Every day in America and around the world people suffer from sickness, poverty, political oppression, and mental illness just to list a few. We live in a broken world and we see the effects of this constantly.

If you dwell on those negatives, the world can be a very depressing place. For those, like the young celebrity who killed himself, they found themselves in exactly that place. As their minds focused on the darkness within them and around them, they were overwhelmed by it until they finally broke. Darkness surrounds us every day if we choose to focus on it, and it’s still there even when we don’t. It’s inescapable.

On Facebook earlier today I scrolled past a post by a friend with very different theological views. His post was attacking another Christian because of their views, which do not align with theirs of course. Now the person being attacked is a well known television preacher with a large church.

This person has written books and made videos and has a massive media presence, so from one viewpoint they should expect to be attacked by detractors. On the other hand, I doubt anyone was seriously swayed by the critical views from this preacher’s opponent. What I have found following decades of time spent in American churches, are myriad insular groups each convinced of their own place in the universe.

There’s an old joke that goes like this:

A man arrives at the gates of heaven. St. Peter asks, Religion?

The man says, Methodist. 

St. Peter looks down his list and says, Go to Room 24, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.

Another man arrives at the gates of heaven. Religion?


Go to Room 18, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.

 A third man arrives at the gates. Religion?


 Go to Room 11, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.

The man says, I can understand there being different rooms for different denominations, but why must I be quiet when I pass Room 8?

St. Peter tells him, Well, the Baptists are in Room 8, and they think theyre the only ones here.

Feel free to swap the punchline’s denomination for one of your own choosing, as the joke is ecumenical.

It’s a humorous little joke, but it exposes a deep issue in the American church. We are all so concerned about being “right” we are willing to sacrifice other Christians on our altars to appease our theological gods. When we start tossing around the term “heretic” for anyone who doesn’t subscribe to our form of orthodoxy we are treading along thin ice.

The Bible is an incredibly complex and nuanced book, and anyone who has spent serious time studying it should readily admit this fact. As I have studied it over the years, I am amazed at the wide differences of opinion among decorated scholars over fundamental issues of theology and interpretation. We cannot ignore this. We cannot pretend like our little group, or big one, has the market cornered on theology and simply dismiss everyone else out of hand and label them all heretics.

We are all human and all of our interpretations carry some measure of error no matter how many letters follow our name. As we interact with others, especially those who profess Christ as Lord, we would be wise to remember this. Recall the story of Jesus restoring Peter and then noticing John was following them. Peter was irked that John was eavesdropping and indignantly pointed to John and (I imagine this line in an accusatory tone) says, “Jesus, what about HIM?!?”

Jesus’s response should be enough for each of us, and it should cut us to the quick and remind us of our proper place in things. Jesus turned to Peter and said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow ME.” The Word goes on to say that a rumor started because of what Jesus said to Peter. Since the scripture only says that John, Peter, and Jesus were present when He made this statement, one wonders which of the three started the rumors…I have a guess.

Orthodoxy is a necessary part of our lives. Everyone lives with some form of orthodox belief system, even if they are not Christian. Humans require boundary lines and we invent them for ourselves if we reject those God has designed. However, our theological views should not lead us to degrade others even if the other person is wrong.

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned suicide and pain and the darkness surrounding us all. When we follow Jesus we become light-bearers, the only beings on earth capable of dispersing the darkness and replacing it with beauty and goodness. By focusing on “being right” we are covering our light with a basket, becoming those who are more concerned about attacking those who disagree with us rather than shining into the darkness.

Should we, and will we have orthodoxy in our beliefs? Absolutely. But can we be kind to others even when we disagree with them? Without a doubt.

If Christians spent a little less time hammering away at each other and a little more time focused on the fruit of the Spirit, those things that actually matter, we might dispel even more darkness than we ever thought possible.

Just remember that some of what you believe isn’t true. You do not have all the answers. You do not understand everything in the Bible. No human does, has, or ever will. God’s revelation is accessible but never fully comprehensible because His full revelation is greater than humanity…and that’s how it should be.

See, He designed us so that we could each carry a portion of Him but never all of Him. Because of this design, we require Jesus and each other. God created humanity to live in community with one another and with Him. We are designed to live as a family.

So the next time you see someone bashing another person because of their views, move along. Find those who will be respectful of others and their beliefs. Connect with those who desire to live a life of love and kindness first and put orthodoxy second. Live within God’s defined boundaries, but do so in a way that spreads light rather than accusations.

Above all things, seek Jesus first and His Kingdom and then everything else will flow into your life. He tells us what the results of life with Him entail: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Christmas 2017

Crowds. Anthills of humans stirred,

Prowling the aisles for deals.

Bouncy, sugary sweet tunes

Endlessly repeat, but somehow

Pour peace into our minds.

Merry Christmas…Happy Holidays?

How did politics get in here? Who invited them?

Joy’s virtues extolled in word and song and film

Christmas is here.

Lights grow on trees, houses, bushes,

Mini Macy’s day floats spring from yards

Internally glowing with Christmas Spirit.

Pastries and goodies and dinners, oh my!

Jesus, the Christ child, in plastic and wood and glass

Dusted off, arranged with the menagerie on countless shelves.

Cards and special gifts and family and friends.

Hope. Above all, hope.

Sunlight evaporates all the trappings leaving only


Darkness will not persist…Hope.

God loves us…Hope.

Jesus came to rescue us…Hope.

Light can be touched, felt, experienced, internalized.


That’s Christmas.

Jedi Theology

Last night my family and I saw the new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. I thought it was a good addition to the franchise and enjoyed the film. Reflecting on one of my favorite fantasy worlds, the theology of Star Wars began to emerge. Now before you get concerned, there are NO spoilers ahead.

Almost everyone on earth has heard of Star Wars at least tangentially. People from numerous countries were shown a silhouette of Darth Vader and recognized the character immediately. Star Wars is modern mythology, a story of such magnitude and universal appeal that it transcends cultural barriers and touches the heart of humanity.

But what should Christians do with the themes of the film? How do we respond to the theology of Star Wars?

In this post I’d like to deal with some major themes brought out in all the films and relate them back to Christian thinking so we can know how to respond and how to parse the elements presented throughout the film series.


Nothing makes Star Wars more universally accepted than its primary theme of good vs. evil. From the very first film (chronologically), we are introduced to a massive, seemingly all-powerful Empire of pure evil. Facing down this Goliath are our heroes, the weak and underfunded Davids of the story. Every major epic in human history deals with this theme.

Religiously speaking, this theme winds its way through every major religion on earth. Because good and evil inescapably exist in human reality, all religions handle this theme in some way. To save space, I do not wish to examine other religions views here, only to focus on what Christianity actually teaches on the topic.

In Star Wars the “force” is the energy that binds the universe together and is split into the “Dark”, i.e. evil, side and the “Light”, i.e. good, side. Dark and light are two sides of the same coin, inextricably linked together for all time. Balancing the dark and light sides of the force is actually a powerful underlying theme of all the films thus far. Hinduism and Buddhism along with several animistic religions see good and evil this way.

Christianity views good and evil quite differently. Indeed, it is the only world religion to deviate from the view of good and evil as two equal yet oppositional forces we must balance between. Rather than seeing good and evil as two equal forces, Christianity describes a God who is purely good with no darkness or evil within Him at all. God, in the Christian view, is incapable of evil. Evil exists only where God’s creation has deviated from God’s pure goodness by exercising its free will.

Therefore, in the Christian view good and evil are not equal opposing forces. Good is the driving force of the universe encapsulated within the beauty and wonder of God Himself, but available to His created beings through submission to Him and His will. Evil is the absence of good, occuring when we abandon God in favor of ourselves and make decisions apart from His light.


The force in Star Wars is everywhere. While good and evil are inherently intertwined into the force, the force itself is ambiguous. The force drives and powers all living things, even existing in inanimate objects like rocks, but it is neither good nor evil. It is both. At its heart this relativizes good and evil making ethical implications of our actions dependent on circumstances and the whims of the force.

Christianity takes a very different stance. In one sense, we do see an all-powerful force filling the universe and holding all things together. We call this force God because the Bible says that He holds all things together by the power of His Word. Jesus, the son of God, is described as in all things, through all things, and the creator of all things. Sounds quite a bit like the force with one major exception discussed in point one. In Christianity God and Jesus are purely good with no darkness in them at all.

For the Christian, while we recognize the universal power holding all things together, we deny the duality of that power, recognizing the teaching of the Word that God is all good and pure light. It is important that we see God as the universal power holding all things together because it helps us relate to all the other world religions and begin a conversation with them about Jesus. Then we can draw the distinctives that separate Christianity from all other belief systems.


Star Wars would be pretty boring if the light side of the force dominated things. After all, there would be no conflict at that point, and any writer worth their salt knows that conflict is central to great storytelling. Modern news outlets tend to appeal to this same false narrative of the universe. By focusing on the evil in things, we have great and compelling stories that get people to sit up and listen, but the reality is quite different.

We cannot ignore evil, but we must not offer it more credit than it’s due. Star Wars has almost all-powerful evil forces constantly dominating the galaxy for dramatic effect and to give our heroes something to fight against. In reality here on earth, evil is not the dominant force because God’s divine light shines through creation and through His people and His Word.

Just consider that the average murder rate on earth, according to a recent calculation, is around 7.5 people per 100,000. This means 999,992.5 people are not murdered each year. World hunger rates and poverty rates have steadily dropped over the past three decades. We have more cures for sickness today than at any point in human history. Of all the eras in history we could live, this is the best one for almost every inhabitant of earth.

Do not mistake my thinking here. We still have myriad issues. We still face evil on a daily basis here on earth, and we will until Christ establishes His kingdom here on earth permanently. But evil is not a monolithic, all-powerful force. Good is. God is the all-powerful force in the universe and He contains no darkness. So we should not fear evil, for it is simply the momentary shadow eclipsing the immovable, immutable, eternal being shining upon us all.


Star Wars is an amazing world that has produced incredible films appealing to people all over earth. I love it. It’s easy to love because its central themes are universal. But as Christians we must know where and how we differ from the picture of reality painted by those living outside the pure light of Christ. By knowing where we deviate from the false narrative presented by those still living in the shadow of darkness, we will know where to aim the light to pierce through and shine hope and love.



Why God?

Yesterday, as of this writing, a lone gunman fired on a church in a little town near San Antonio, Texas killing twenty-seven people. It’s the worst shooting in Texas state history. When we read about horrible, tragic events like this we inevitably come back to one question: Why, God…why? When we examine the history of our universe and read about its origins, we will find our answer.

In the beginning God created everything, including humans. He gave us planet earth as our home and began instructing us on how to properly care for it. But one day humans decided that was not good enough. We decided we wanted to be God ourselves, to be the same as Him, so we defied His one restriction. In that moment the creation broke as evil flooded into our universe.

Today we are living with the consequences of that fateful decision. We live in a broken world with broken people, and broken people often commit unspeakable acts. This is the result of sin and evil in the world, and God is not to blame. We must accept our responsibility for what happened and blame ourselves for the death and destruction we see around us every day.

However, if we left the story there it would be pitiful and tragic. But that is not the end. God did not simply leave us to our own devices, allowing us to rot away in our disobedience and evil. Instead, He began a centuries long plan and one day brought forth His son into the earth to reconnect Heaven with earth. Now that Jesus has completed His work, all of humanity has access back to the Father and we can overcome evil and sin through Christ.

I have heard people say, “Why would you take a tragedy and turn it into an evangelistic push?” My response is simple: because Jesus is the only answer for our questions.

We look at this tragic shooting and we ask, “Why, God…why?” His response every time is to show us Jesus. Because in Jesus we have freedom from tragedy. In Jesus we have a pathway out of the darkness. In Jesus we have peace even in the midst of heartbreak. And in Jesus we have a solution, an answer, to present to the atheists of the world that can finally answer their questions and bring them peace.

Why do horrible tragic things happen on earth? Because humans broke it, and because humans are broken. What is God’s role in all of this? He has provided a solution, a fix, a way back to Him through Jesus Christ.

And that’s the pattern for all of eternity. There is no other. We misstep, we mess up, we sin, and God’s overwhelming love offers a way to redemption. All we need to is accept and walk in that way. That’s the answer to the question, “Why, God, why?”, and it always will be.

One Voice

One of the issues in our modern political system is the lack of dialogue between opposing sides. Those in the conservative, Fox News camp tend to be dismissive of anything from the liberal, CNN camp and vice versa. Lots of people are talking but very few are listening. Modern church life has developed the same issue.

As one who is an explorer seeking out truth in its many forms, my primary focus is on Jesus and this makes me a free agent of sorts. In other words, I’m not firmly tied to any denominational or theological camp. However, I was for many years. While living life in the “bubble” I was warned away from certain things while being firmly pushed toward others.

For example, when I was in traditional church I was told to avoid certain teachers like Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer or basically anything on TBN. When I ventured into the charismatic world they were less focused on who I shouldn’t listen to and more focused on who I should. So the same process was happening but in a less obvious way. My brief flirtation with Calvinism produced even stronger results as the Calvinists tend to demonize anyone who does not fit their theological framework.

So, generally speaking, what we find in the average church of any kind is an acceptance of certain viewpoints and dismissal of others. While we should help newcomers to Jesus find their way, the Word does not teach us to create clones it teaches us to create disciples. We cannot do this if our attitude toward other truth-carriers is dismissive and arrogant.

Our litmus test for acceptance should be based on Jesus Christ alone. If a teacher is submitted to Christ and demonstrates the fruit of a Christ centered life (i.e., love, joy, peace, patience, and so on) then we should not dismiss them outright. There should be room at the theological table for differing views and varying interpretations. To put it another way, only one person in human history walked in complete revelation of truth and that person isn’t me or you.

So why do so many walk around like they have the market cornered on theological accuracy? Because that’s what we’ve allowed to occur. Going back to the Reformation we find the beginning of this concept. Calvin was so convinced of his position that he formed a political system around his ideas and essentially took over Geneva even going so far as to burn “heretics” at the stake. French Huguenots were forced out of their homeland by opposing Christians. Puritans were forced out of England, and the list goes on.

These ideas of “rightness” are firmly entrenched in modern Christian thinking. People either float around until they find the “right” group or they stick with the group they grew up with. Either way, most folks will never consider an alternative view on anything because they won’t bother to listen to anything outside their own bubble. This should not be.

We need to stop attacking one another and dismissing revelation others have received. No one man or woman carries within them the complete revelation of Christ because we are incapable of carrying something of such magnitude. Indeed, Christ Himself does not desire this because He wants us to function as a body, united together to carry His truth forward. We require one another to expose revelation as we have received it, and to correct error within one another.

We are quick to point out the perceived errors in others but loathe to listen to potential truth. Even those who are not followers of Christ may carry some measure of truth within them because they have been, however unwittingly, exposed to God’s truth by simply existing in His creation. So we need to stop being so arrogant, pretending we have it all figured out because we do not. All of us have questions about things. All of us are missing pieces of the full revelation of Jesus Christ…and we always will be.

To carry the full revelation of Christ would make us equal to Christ Himself and this will never be. We will spend eternity continually growing in revelation and truth because God’s truth and revelation is unending. That should be our focus and goal even today. We should expect to walk daily in ever increasing revelation.

But here’s the thing, ever increasing revelation means some old things we believed will change to more closely match God’s truth. So it is not just about learning new things, it’s also about replacing the old or updating the old as new things are given to us. When we walk with an openness, ready to receive from Holy Spirit whatever He chooses to teach us, then we will learn from all creation as we follow Christ. This is how we should live.

As we walk we must learn to hear one voice, the voice of God. His voice may speak to us through believers, unbelievers, the Word, creation, art, books, music, etc. God is not limited in how He can communicate with us. Throughout the Bible He used multiple methods to communicate including dreams, visions, and even personal visitations through angels or in human form. He still speaks in many ways today.

We have the Word of God to verify truth claims and to clarify the revelations we receive, but we cannot be so tied to a single interpretation of the Word that we fail to recognize truth outside of our bubble. To put it another way, I fully expect to meet both John Macarthur and Bill Johnson in heaven. Those in either camp may shudder at that thought, but both men demonstrate a firm reliance on their view of Jesus Christ to help and disciple others. We are the ones who have judged them.

Let us learn to walk in ever increasing revelation of Christ as He carries us from glory to glory. Let us not be so closed off to truth that we fail to recognize it when it comes from alternative voices. Let us find Jesus in every place He wants to reveal Himself. We can only do this if we are actively seeking Him and His truth.

Meditate on this word today and ask Jesus where your thinking still needs to be shaped to be more like Him. Ask Him where you’ve been dismissive of other believers and where you can grow in truth.