Inside every cynical person, there is a frustrated idealist. – George Carlin
I’m an idealist (read: naive). Well, I guess that makes me a cynic. A short time ago, I hit a period where I was up against a brick wall at work, fighting a force much stronger than I. My idealistic viewpoints were being met with cynicism. Refusing to succumb to the pressure only to become cynical myself, I moved on to another role. It was a very tough decision, but it was my only alternative to stay sane in such a cynical world.
Modern Christianity leans toward the cynical as well. Think about it. If you’re too lazy to think, pick up unChristian by David Kinnaman. In it, he tells us exactly why we’re cynical. Those who don’t share our beliefs look at us as hypocritical, antihomosexual, sheltered, too political, etc. How do I translate each and every single point he makes? We’re cynical.
We put forth so much effort protecting ourselves from the scary world around us by staying safely inside our Christian bubble, boycotting and avoiding terrifying things like alcohol and R-rated movies that we don’t have any energy left to do the things we’re called to do like love.
We display our cynicism in regard to not only distrust of the world around us, but ourselves. We add all sorts of extra-biblical ideals to further our protection level. Don’t dance. Don’t drink. Don’t set foot on the other side of town, even if that’s where God needs us most.
May I remind you (and me) about a very important aspect of Christianity known as the Holy Spirit. When we make a decision to become a Christ follower, so begins a journey led by the Holy Spirit. With His involvement in our lives, and our daily reliance on His power, everything else becomes secondary. We don’t have to make up rules for ourselves because he guides us, teaches us and protects us. He knows if we can drink without becoming drunk and will provide us with the proper self control to do so. Does that sound familiar? Isn’t one of the fruits of the Spirit self control?
Now for what I’m not saying. The Bible has some very clear, black-and-white, guidelines for us. We need to be extremely careful when exercising our freedom in Christ and reliance on the Holy Spirit that we are truly relying on the Spirit and the Word of God. My rant is on adding to the Bible, not taking away. If, at any point, we find ourselves doing anything that assumes the Bible is “not good enough” and apply our own rules on top of it, we’re treading shaky ground. Yes, there is much open to interpretation and the Bible was penned (not written) by men and translated by men. We’re prone to screw it up. But in those areas where the Bible is clear, we must trust the word and Spirit.
So why the title of this post? If we’re truly doing our job of relying on the Spirit, we shouldn’t worry. We shouldn’t shelter ourselves. We shouldn’t need to boycott. We just plain shouldn’t need to try so hard. The Spirit, frankly, makes our jobs pretty simple. Rely on Him daily and love others. In my ideal (albeit naive) world I live in, at least.
Why do we rely more on our own “wisdom” and not fully on He who is our greatest comforter and protector, the Holy Spirit? There is so much more to this conversation. Please comment and let me know your thoughts. I left a lot unsaid and you’ll probably call me on it. Let’s talk.
Scriptures pertaining to my rant
- Galations 5:16-25
- John 14:16-17
- 1 Corinthians 2:6-16
- Acts 16:6-10
- Philippians 4:13