As a pastor I have the opportunity to observe people, especially church people. One thing that I’ve noticed is that Christians have different focuses. That is, there are different things in the Christian life that are important to different people – and sometimes that leads to misunderstandings and wrong assessments.
When other Christians don’t attach the same degree of importance to the things that we think are important – well relationships can suffer.
Think about the things that different Christians stress as important in the Christian life:
And the list goes on.
It’s not wrong to place importance on any of these things, in fact they are all important. The problem comes when one of them becomes THE criteria by which we judge our own spiritual life and the spiritual lives of people around us.
There’s something that we need to clarify here and that is that there is a difference between an interest, even an intense interest in some area of the Christian life and what we might call a spiritual obsession (this may not be the best phrase to describe this, but you get the idea).
Many Christians have a strong interest in prophecy but they don’t expect all Christians to have the same degree of interest that they have.
One of the issues with a spiritual obsession is that it quickly becomes the standard for (and a poor substitute for) spirituality. If I can distinguish between the Beast from the Sea and the Beast from the Earth (Rev 13), explain every obscure prophetic reference, and rattle off all of the end time judgments, then I must be spiritual.
And if you can’t, you aren’t.
Knowledge and even involvement cannot pass for spirituality. Spiritual Christians are most often (always?) balanced people. They have room in their life for all of the many facets of the Christian life and don’t elevate one over the others.
Is worship more important or less important than exercising your spiritual gift? Is prayer more or less important than involvement in missions? Is witnessing more or less important than Bible study?
When we start building a hierarchy of spiritual activities we enter uncertain waters. What if you are wrong? What if someone else chooses something different? How do you weight the relative importance of each against the rest?
The key is not to focus on one thing but to focus on the whole thing. Each area of the spiritual life adds something to our personal spiritual life.
Don’t make your focus so narrow that you loose sight of what the spiritual life is all about.
Stay in the Word