The Question: So what are you doing or reading in order to have an answer (to theological questions that come up) and stay thirsty for God, etc?
My response: That's a tricky question, because my spiritual disciplines today reflect the foundation of my spiritual disciplines in days, weeks, months and years past. In everything I read or engage in, I am seeking four things:
- How can I increase my awareness of what God is doing in a person/situation/me? (This drives me to become more intimate with the Holy Spirit)
- How can I identify what is truth, what is opinion and what is a lie? (This drives me to read the Bible, certain books based on what I am dealing with or talking about, and so on)
- How can I say "YES!" to God quicker today than I did yesterday in whatever He leads me in, even if I don't understand why? (This drives me to become more obedient, courageous and a bigger-than-I-can-see-thinker in everyday things)
- How can help someone take one more step in God's direction in an area I have no authority in? (This drives me to not rely on my personal channels of authority, such as being a pastor or writer, to do all my evangelism but pushes me into new areas where I have to rely on God?)
- How can I not only know the facts of what is coming up on the horizon culturally/theologically, but be in a place where I've asked the first and second round of questions about it? (This drives me to make sure I am not just recycling my faith and photocopying my walk with God from year to year)
- From the Bible: James (I wrote a study on it for a publishing company and it forced me to go places beyond the usual stuff)
- From the Bible: Matthew 5 (Beatitudes)
- Seven: The Deadly Sins and the Beatitudes (Jeff Cook)
- Sifted: God's Scandalous Response to Satan's Outrageous Demand (Rick Lawrence)
- Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We Made Up (Francis Chan)
- God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist? (David Lamb)
- Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope (MaryBeth Chapman)
- Imaginary Jesus (Matt Mikalatos)
- Normal Christian Life (Watchman Nee)
- Closing The Window (Tim Chester)
There are others, of course, and some of it I read to help me know how to serve others. There are some real tragedies in my midst (situations I can't share publicly). I mean, you have to dig deep to sidestep the temptation to spout off cliches or easy answers.
So that's a slice of my life today, but like I said - it takes into account my past attempts to make progress in this area. I didn't know much of anything about Jesus Christ until my junior year of high school. I still feel like I'm playing catch up - maybe that's what helps... I never feel like I know enough.
I know I'll never have this down pat, but I do think God does. To paraphrase Rich Mullins, the Bible wasn't given to us so we can prove how right we are; the Bible was given to us to show how right God is and how the rest of us are just guessing without Him. I'd say that's good motivation to jump into it and do more than read it - rather, let it read us.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)