Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Selectively Directionally Challenged

I've been thinking lately about how so many of us, myself included, are sort of selectively directionally challenged.

This is what I mean: when it comes to interpreting the bible, we sometimes move in one direction and we sometimes move in another. Some of the time we (correctly) look to scripture in its appropriate context and try to determine what the original authors meant. We then attempt to make application to our lives today.

At other times we look at our lives today, decide what we believe about whatever issue, and then look for scripture verses to support our current practices. We don't like to admit doing this, but we all fall into this trap at least occasionally.

We see two directions here.  On the one hand we let scripture inform and direct our experience.  On the other hand we let our experience determine scripture verses/passages we search for.

I said above that we are "selectively" directionally challenged because we often choose which direction we desire to move. As much as we don't like it to be made public, the reality is that we often let the bible inform beliefs and practices of ours that already happen to line up with the bible. However, when we have certain practices, traditions, behaviors, etc. that cannot be defended well from the bible, we often search for verses, pull them out of context, and use them as "support" for what we want to do.

Let's be honest. We all do this to some degree. As it relates to the church, we all (I think) like to believe that the bible informs how we think of the church, live as the church, and serve as the church. However, if we honestly looked at our church practices, whether individual or group, we would see that some flow from scripture whereas others come from our preferences/traditions.

How should we handle this conundrum? As much as possible, let's discard our habit of being selectively directionally challenged. Instead, may we try to start with scripture and move from there toward our experiences. When we do this, Jesus Christ speaks to us as Head of his church to inform all we do.

This is only something that the Holy Spirit can accomplish. Additionally, Christian friends often see blind spots in out lives that we have no idea exist. Let's encourage and exhort one another to move in one direction.


John Mureiko said...

Thank you for the encouragement brother. The Lord is so merciful and gracious to us despite these obvious shortcomings! Oh, how I hope and pray that I will in some measure be delivered from the sin of defending what I want see rather than what God intends to reveal.

Eric said...


Thanks for commenting. We all have a long way to grow. I'm sure that I still try to find ways to justify traditions that I like. I'm sure I'm blind to these. My prayer is that God will gradually open our eyes.