January 12, 2020

MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY - Part 3

spiritual

If you haven't noticed, I'm struggling! I think it's a good struggle and a healthy struggle, but it's still a struggle.

I'm confident and comfortable in terms of the fundamentals. I believe Jesus Christ is my Savior and I have unshakeable faith in the prayer, study, experiences, and guidance of the Holy Spirit, that have all led me to the place I now find myself in my walk.

I think the place where I tend to struggle presently is more in the So What Now? phase. What does the call of Christ look like in my life? How do I differentiate obedience to Christ from alignment with culturally accepted norms (which have too often been adopted by well-meaning but unequipped Christians as prerequisites for salvation?)

And what about church? In this context I'm referring to the local church. I have so many questions about that one that I hardly know where to begin. How do I even begin to look objectively at something that has burned me more than once in the past?

I recognize the local church is an imperfect institution made up of imperfect people, but that excuse grows old pretty fast when we're expected to get in line without the opportunity to ask questions or when our questions are basically evaded. It's no wonder people like me continue to follow Christ but have been part of a mass migration leaving the institution of the church in large numbers and for many years now.

With all that had been culturally engrained in me over the years, walking away from the church was an incredibly difficult and frightening experience. I would imagine it's similar to what a person experiences when leaving the relative comfort of the corporate world to start a business.

With my departure, my dependencies were shifted away from the institution and immediately and directly to God. The sense of dealing with God instead of man had become very real. And now, there was no one left but me upon which to place blame if things didn't seem to be going right.

As with a business owner, and in order to make better decisions, I had come to a place where I needed to better understand things that used to be left up to the institution. In addition, it had become important that I understand both what I believed and why I believed it. I no longer had an institution trying to direct me in those areas.

While I don't want to impose these ideas on anyone else, I do want to be able to provide well reasoned answers to anyone who asks. I have come to believe that walking in the midst of this struggle has been, and continues to be, a good and healthy place for me. For when I struggle most, it's clear to me that I am closest to Christ!



January 3, 2020

MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY - Part 2

spiritual

For some, coming to Christ was first and foremost an academic experience. For others, it was primarily an emotional experience. In the place I find myself now with Christ, I have come to believe, in a manner of speaking, that both are necessary to some extent.

Without an academic approach, we are at risk of subjecting ourselves to an unreasonable faith. One need not look much further than Jonestown, Guyana or Waco, Texas for great examples of what I'm talking about. Even if one or both started out from a truly sincere standpoint, both went off the rails and became far less than reasonable. How did those members who died miss that?

When I mention an emotional approach, I'm actually trying to communicate an approach that involves the leading of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps Spirit led is more suitable? Whatever you want to call it, it's the thing that causes us to stand firm in our faith when we don't have all of the answers.

At various points in my life, I've been in a place where I focused on each of these to the exclusion of the other. I've come to believe that those were very dangerous places to be! A walk without the Holy Spirit is nothing but an academic exercise and a walk without study becomes nothing more than an emotion-filled opportunity to create my own personal god and religion. Only with a balance of knowledge, wisdom, and faith has my walk with Christ become real.



December 30, 2019

MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY - Part 1

spiritual

As I travel farther and farther on my journey following Christ, I find myself with more and more questions and fewer and fewer answers. That seems counterintuitive, but it's very true. There was a time when I was quite sure I had all of the answers. I'm now so far from that place that I find it hard to believe I was ever there.

We can study the scriptures and the writings of the greats, and we can apply all of the logic that we want, but at the end of the day there is still a component of faith that is required and that's where the problems arise for so many of us who are on this journey. How does one follow (or defend) a system of beliefs that requires faith?

FAITH:

1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

I've spent many, many years studying the scriptures and the writings of many who are much smarter than I am. I've chased answers to all of those tough questions (e.g. why do bad things happen to good people?, etc.) and still the answers are less than perfect. Why? Because I'm required to have faith.

The difficult part of this faith called Christianity is that it is not an air-tight system of beliefs in the eyes of the masses. There are too many legitimate questions to be asked and too many people asking them.

Those of us who walk this walk often come to a point where we believe that following Christ is simply more compelling than any other option. And, it is likely that we reach this place only by study and ultimately confirmation via the wise and comforting counsel of the Holy Spirit.


Copyright © 2020 Hutch DeLoach



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