Column: Flawed experience
Discovering the spirit in one’s own heart is no guarantee that one is responding to the right and true Spirit of God.
It’s a great weakness of how modern Christianity markets itself: mimicking secular culture’s insistence that our true self, our true humanity, our true love, our true peace, our right, wrong and eternal destiny all constitute our vital identity, all resulting from how we “feel” about the sum of our own life experiences.
“Listen for the voice of the spirit in your heart. That’s the way to spiritual life.”
The elephant that is not in the room, the huge piece of truth, love and humanity catastrophically missing from the thin identity of “just me” and the unedited “voice of my heart,” is the external, ultimate and final authority of scripture and the eternal, unwavering truth of God. This omission, this broadband failure to understand the Almighty as the beginning, purpose, and end of all things, is why joyful Christians who espouse the truth of Jesus Christ encounter the worldly hostility of prioritized personal opinion and sacrosanct situational morality.
For example, “Who are you to say that Jesus is real? That’s not what my heart says.” The irony, of course, is that the world reflexively sides with the assumption of divine vacancy. The tragedy, of course, is a Christian stumbling to find words of truth.
Churches – most of them, anyway – say “Jesus is real.” And Christians say, “Jesus is real.” Yet there are the quasi-Christian, qualifying “but-heads” who say some version of: “Jesus is real, but … he just wants me to be happy, to be free (meaning “do what I want”), be prosperous, etc.”
And there are the flip-side, angry Jesus believers. They’d say, “This hard thing happened so now I’m mad at Jesus,” or “I’m waiting for Jesus to answer this prayer to show me he is real,” or some version of “I like Jesus but I can’t stand Christians.”
So there is our world today, where politics, academia, culture, entertainment and media have steamrolled God’s truth by prioritizing personal preference and sanctifying indiscriminate feelings of the heart. “My experience defines my truth.” Satan loves it.
Don’t get me wrong … you will never experience Jesus without your heart, your head and probably your hands, for the Christian’s soul, mind and industry are inseparable and constant witness to faith in the external truth, righteousness, good, glory and authority of God.
It’s really too big a job for one lone human heart, no matter how experienced.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) says read the Bible, seek council of Godly men and women, pray … and THEN listen to your heart.
PS: The Holy Spirit is the only one that counts.