“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us….For,
“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?”
But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12,16
With the explosion of social media and blogging and twittering and whatever else people do to put their thoughts out there, it’s become apparent that anyone can say just about anything and that anything can become quite popular. Even in the community of believers. Actually, I should say, especially in the community of believers. Indeed, we are engaged in a spiritual battle for the entirety of our lives here on earth and we should not forget that there is an actively plotting enemy desirous of our failure…or at the very least of our confusion. This should make us nervous. And prudent.
There is virtually no accountability when it comes to posting and “publishing” online. What a sweet space for deception to reign. What a sweet space to cloak lies in spiritual verbiage. What a playground for the Enemy to draw children of light back into darkness. We have been given the mind of Christ; we have been indwelt with the Holy Spirit; we should have discernment beyond measure because Truth has set us free from the bondage of sin, which is a condition fed and nurtured by lies. If writers are not landing in a place where Christ is supreme and Eternity is paramount to how we interpret the world around us – we need to think twice before we subscribe to their promoted worldview. (I think there is a profound level of responsibility for writers who put their thoughts “out there,” particularly as they pertain to spiritual matters. Heaven forbid we promote a lie as truth, however ignorantly it’s done.)
I fear that the lack of accountability over some of what I’ve read (I’m speaking strictly of Christians writing to Christians) has led us down a path that has usurped Christ from the throne and in his place put self. It is the age-old lie, the one that got us into this mess to begin with, but it’s a lie that is as subtle in its promotion as a weed is among plants to the untrained eye. It’s not a blatant or obvious “de-throning” – indeed, as a community of believers we wouldn’t stand for that – but it’s an occurrence that happens by a nearly imperceptible shift of our focus from Christ-centered to self-centered living.
Such opinions that say things like, “Take care of yourself so you can do the Lord’s work.” The reason sounds good but the focus is all wrong. The focus is self: self-concern and self-reliance. Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28) He says, “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Mt 6:32b-33)
Opinions say things like, “See? We all sin! Let’s give ourselves a break and rejoice that we’re forgiven.” Jesus says, “You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Mt 5:48) Paul says, “Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.”(Rom 12:9b) Sin is evil – to excuse it by normalizing it is not simply access to but a shove down that slippery slope that leads to the valley of self-absorbtion.
Opinions say, “This mom/missionary/_____ life is difficult. Let’s rally around each other – connect with each other in our struggles and praise one another for our efforts.” Paul says, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others…For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.” (2Cor 1:3-5) We must connect with fellow believers on the basis of being united in Christ, not on the basis of our struggles. We must praise Him not each other.
It’s a subtle difference to be sure but the implications of promoting self over Christ are dangerous. Pretty soon we will turn around and start to believe that we deserve pity/praise/rest/grace when really the magnificent thing about the gospel is that we actually deserve nothing, less than nothing – eternal punishment – but for Christ, and for him alone, we have been given everything. We are alive to race for the prize that is our eternal home. And lest we fool ourselves into thinking this race is really a slow jog with plenty of breaks and pleasant scenery, we should remember that this race involves labor; it involves sweat and toil and hardship; it involves suffering and injustice – none of which is anything Christ didn’t experience in his time on earth. Moreover, he has given promise after promise to meet our every need, whether it be emotional comfort or physical sustenance.
We have the mind of Christ. We have the ability – no, the freedom! – to discern Truth from lies. We need to listen to the Spirit within us when uneasiness at something we’ve read or heard pricks at our spirit. Lies are often couched in the sweet words of Scripture being used out of context – it’s the favorite ploy of the enemy. The time we spend reading other people’s opinions should be surpassed by the time we spend in the Word. It’s the only defense. After that it might be helpful to think, “Is Christ’s supremacy upheld as the purpose and meaning of all things? Is Eternity the lens through which this author is viewing and commentating on life?”