The Christian Soul: Looking for a Way Out

So we are saying then is that the Christian life is a life motivated by love. That in the Christian life, we are only responsible to do what love for God compels us to do, and this is what true Christian spirituality is all about.

I am actually surprised that I have not gotten more push-back from this idea, some nasty comments accusing me of making the Christian life too easy, and giving Christians permission to abandon all sense of obedience to God. Even of heresy. Really.

But what we are doing here is not really giving Christians a way out; we are giving them a way in. My concern is not with the believer who is looking for a life of no challenge, no responsibility, and no spirituality. Such a believer does not need my words to find an excuse to live far from God, and only for themselves.

My concern, rather, is with the believer who wishes to surrender all and to experience all God has for them, but has somehow gotten lost on their journey. Because they have not understood how the Christian soul functions.

And this raises an important question concerning Christian spirituality: Given the choice, do you believe the Christian believer is inclined to do the wrong thing or the right thing? Do you believe the believer (and by believer I mean you) is looking for a way to get out of this relationship, or to fall more in love in it?

See, if all of us are looking for a way out, then we need external forces to keep us in. We need things like sermons telling us what you should be doing if we wish to be pleasing to God. We need people emphasizing the rules. We need people telling us, “In light of Jesus’ sacrifice, the least you can do is . . . ” Bottom line, we need the Person in this relationship saying to us, “Since you love me, you must . . . ”

But if you are looking for a way to fall more in love, then what you are needing is entirely different. You need assurance. You need to know you are deeply loved. You need to know you are wanted. You need to know you are safe. You need to know you are free, even free to leave (gasp), if you chose to. This is the environment in which you will flourish.

Honestly, the only time I have wanted a way out of the Christian life was when I was being presented a version of Christianity so oppressive, so externally motivated to control my behavior, that it was tearing apart the very fabric of my soul.

And the only reason I stuck it out is because something deep inside me was telling me, “this is not the way it is supposed to be.” I knew there was something more, something sacred, something so much more beautiful that the grotesque caricature of Christianity I was presently having to endure. I knew it was about love.

So how about you?

5 thoughts on “The Christian Soul: Looking for a Way Out

  1. Amen! Good stuff. I believe Jesus calls to us, and we naturally just begin to want more of Him. It really is like falling in love.

    Your analogy about “emphasizing the rules” reminded me of an old joke. We tell people, “warning, be sure to consult with your doctor before engaging in any diet or exercise program.” Any changes that might be potentially healthy, good for you, you better consult with your health care advisor first, just in case. Nobody ever says that about the bad things. Like, “warning, before you drink a bottle of whiskey and eat a whole chocolate cake, consult with your doctor to make sure it’s healthy.”

    Sometimes we treat faith like that, too. When people turn to Jesus Christ, suddenly out come all the warning labels, rules, lectures, obligations. Don’t mess this up, this might be dangerous, you might be doing it wrong! And yet when we’re just out there downing whiskey and chocolate cake, crickets.

    1. LOL! I could not help but think of the time I worked in a pub in Ireland and one night I had a bad cold. The bartender served me up a “hot toddie” (Irish whiskey with cloves, etc.) and instructed me to drink it down. I woke up the next morning feeling great. That did not come with a warning label, either 🙂

  2. I have never wanted a way out of the Christian life, but there were things that I allowed to get in the way of understanding the truth and freedom of my position in Christ. During that time there was still a burning to go deeper and know Christ more but it was hard to make good choices. Even in that God was amazing.

    I think its sad that many believers don’t understand who they are in Christ and many more have no interest in going deeper in their faith. I don’t think they are wanting a way out, its more that they have been saved so lets get on with it, our way type of thing. No time
    Lots to think about from what you have written. Thanks for your post

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