I think one of Satan’s greatest tactics is to get God’s people, or anybody really, to avoid pressing issues and difficult questions. He keeps us from thinking about deep things when we’re alone, and he keeps us from talking about deep things when we’re together. He makes us feel awkward…or ridiculous…or downright crazy. I mean, think about how many times in a day you stop yourself from saying or doing something simply because you’re afraid of how people will respond, or you stop yourself from thinking something, because you don’t know where those thoughts will take you. The flow of culture and the social pressures we face have such a powerful hold on us.
It reminds me of that part in C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, when the guy is sitting in a museum (I think?) and begins to wonder about life and God and all the things that really matter. But then, suddenly, he remembers he’s hungry, and there ends the pursuit for truth. Later, he says. When I’m not so hungry or when I have more time. He exchanges thoughts on eternal matters…for thoughts on cheeseburgers. Good grief.
Really, though, it makes sense, right? Of course we face the most resistance when thinking about or talking about the things that really matter.
Even as I write this, I must admit, I’m a little nervous. What if I say something that makes people feel awkward, or makes me look like a fool? And, call me crazy, but that right there tells me it’s something that probably needs to be said.
You see, I think this kind of fear runs far deeper than we realize. And, I think, it’s often the thing that keeps us from experiencing God more deeply and from seeing real, authentic fellowship. Sometimes I feel so attached to the “social norm” of Christianity that when God asks me to think outside of that box, or challenges me to do something different, I’m tempted to just say no. Oh God, doesn’t that seem too “radical”? Will I be understood? And really, what will people think? But then, I am cut to the heart, and I realize that I, too, am exchanging the eternal for foolish and fleeting alternatives. Okay, maybe not for cheeseburgers this time, but for the approval of others, or for the sake of fitting in, or to simply protect my own reputation.
I hate the thought of people not understanding me. It’s like the worst. But if that’s the thing keeping me from deeper intimacy with God, then it’ll have to go.
Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you wonder these same things? What is God calling you to think about, or say, or do that doesn’t quite fit into the “social norm”? Maybe you’re supposed to consider questions you don’t know the answers to, or maybe it’s all about bringing up conversations that might make people feel uncomfortable, or maybe, you’re just meant to stand when everyone around you is sitting.
Whatever it is, you’re really being asked to defy the lies of the Enemy and to take a risk of faith, whether other people get it….or not.