Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Fads of the Faith"

(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)  (Acts 17:21)

         I once heard my son use this term [“Fads of the Faith”] in a sermon, referring to a new idea being hyped in Christian circles. It reminded me of just how “Athenian” we as Christians can become in an effort to stay on the cutting edge of spiritual trends. Whether it’s a new tool or a new taboo, we all like to think we are “current.” The trouble is, trying to keep up with the Jones’, spiritually speaking, leaves precious little time for sincere soul searching. Undoubtedly, conferences, campmeetings, seminars, and “feminars,” no matter how beneficial they may be in other ways, are prime enablers of this phenomenon. It is one thing for my pastor and my friends and fellow church members to follow a set of guidelines, but if a preponderance of pastors and church members also do it, it’s easy for guidelines to turn into binding rules for all.

         This is not to say that you and I should be suspicious of anything new. On the contrary, new methods that reflect current technology, if they do not seek to transcend the Spirit of God and the individuality of salvation, are a wonderful means to spread the Gospel. For instance, I’m able to reach out to women like you over the World Wide Web with words of encouragement and exhortation in a way that I could never have done in my earlier days, as glorious as they were.  My husband and I could have stubbornly hung onto old methods, unavailable to us now; but we chose to use new means at our disposal to share the same old message that is ever new: Christ is the Answer.

         The danger I’m trying to point out here is the nearly overpowering seduction to be like everybody else. None of us likes to feel dated; I don’t care how old we are. If Dr. So-and-So says the best way to witness, if you really want “results,” is his method; and if Preacher Pointy-Finger warns that his ever growing list of “sins” is today’s best hope; and if Miss or Mrs. Spirituality is offering to show you her way of always pleasing your husband…and God—stop and take a deep breath.

Don’t ever give up your way for somebody else’s way, until you are sure it’s God’s way. Nobody is more qualified to direct your walk with God than the Spirit of God within you. When He’s calling the shots in your life, you won’t fall for any of those “fads of the faith,” no matter how “spiritual” they may look.

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