The article was shared and highly recommended. As I read through the material, I felt sick to my stomach. The words were written by someone with a good heart, but the information was sheer garbage. The writer was shallow, uninformed, and a borderline false teacher. I appreciate the writer’s heart, but that does not change the fact that what was shared with wrong.
What bothered me about this article was that someone recommended it to me as something positive for a Christian to read. It worries me that people are allowing misguided voices to speak into their life about faith.
We live in an information age, and while I appreciate that as a writer, it also concerns me as a pastor. We must be cautious about what we are allowing to impact our hearts and minds about faith. This is true whether it comes from a friend, social media, a blog post, or any other sort of teaching. There is so much lousy teaching from well-intentioned people.
For me, I have decided that I am not going to listen to people who are NOT –
- A Committed Member of a Christian Community. This is huge for me. Listen carefully to people who are living their faith hand in hand with other believers. We were not saved for a life of private faith and individual consumerism. Living in a community will stretch your faith, challenge your thinking and force you to enlarge your idea of grace.
- Reading their Bible Regularly. I am not saying they have mastered it. I mean, they are at least spending time in it regularly trying to understand and apply it to their life. Throwing around the name of God and using some Christian language does not mean a person has the mind of Christ. You only achieve that through time in the word of God.
- Serving the Lord Consistently. The adage is that sitting in a Church does not make someone a Christian any more than sitting in the garage makes you a car. The followers of Jesus are committed to serving one another and their God in love. This one action will shape your idea of grace and faith, giving you insights that others will miss.
- Regularly Exposing Themselves to Christian Thinkers. Lectures, podcasts, sermons, conferences are everywhere. Thousands of good books exist. Hundreds of thousands of useful articles and posts are all over the internet. If you are not exposing yourself to these, then you have nothing to say to me.
- Have a Goal of Spiritual Maturity. I prefer people who are already spiritually mature, with dozens of years of Christian life under their belt. If those people are not available or are not sharing their insights, then at least I want someone who has a strong desire to know God intimately. I want someone who is on the same journey and walking the path with me. Be careful with people who are making are making a profit from selling books, writing articles, and conference tickets. Seek people who care for the growth of people in the name of Jesus.
I believe in reading numerous authors over a variety of topics. I believe in listening to several speakers on a wide range of issues. BUT not all of them have an equal influence in my life. Chose carefully what finds its way into your heart, mind, and soul. You have a choice in who shapes your faith, choose wisely.