Christianity Is Not About You

What is the focus of Christianity? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In America, we have entered into a very me-centered time and this has entered into our Christianity. Yesterday, I shared a video with a lady talking about the solar eclipse and all her dreams and everything with it. While she is one who is quite exceptional with thinking these dreams are all from God, she’s the one speaking out the most about so many people who do XYZ because they think God is telling them to do something or God is leading them to do something without any Biblical mandate on seeing if this is how God communicates.

That is a very dangerous place to be because if you think God is telling you something, then you cannot be wrong. How can you listen to possible rebuke and concern? I would hope readers of my blog would recognize I have studied and take what I say seriously by all means, but please do not ever treat me like I cannot be wrong. I most assuredly can be and have been.

Yesterday, my wife also had someone message her about how they thought God had given them some verses for their ministry. The sad reality was that these verses were all about Jesus, except, well, they got a new referent. It’s pretty amazing to see that we can go through the Bible and look for verses that are about us, not in the sense of being a part of the people of God, but that God wrote something for us individually.

This could also be contributing to our marriage problems in our culture today. There are sad times when I think a couple should really divorce, such as when a husband is being abusive and won’t stop, but even then, divorce should be seen as a sad tragedy. It’s a tragedy to think that someone broke a lifelong covenant made before God and man so badly that one person had to leave for their own safety. It’s sad to think someone promised sexual fidelity to one person but gave themselves up to another. That’s all sad.

The saddest part is many times, divorce is not often for those reasons. It’s more being done because the other person isn’t making me happy and doing enough for me. This is a relationship where we are supposed to learn how much we can give for another, and yet we use it just as much to seek our own well-being. Ideally, in marriage, both persons are making sure their spouse’s true needs and desires are being met in a proper way. If that is so, then both people will get what they want.

Suppose one person isn’t doing their part? It’s always amazing that we tend to think that means we don’t have to do ours. God will not hold you accountable for what someone else did or didn’t do. You are held accountable for what you do.

The problem with making ourselves so often the focus is that it’s really hard to get away from that and everything is interpreted about reality through us. That will also downplay the love of God in us. How could God not love us? I mean, we’re just that awesome. Right?

Scripture tells us the opposite. We were the enemies of God. God doesn’t love us just because we’re just so awesome, but because He’s so awesome. Anyone can love someone who’s completely lovable. It’s loving someone who is unlovable that is true love, and we are all many times unlovable.

We all have our own sins and failures. Last night, my wife and I were talking with someone about marriage. One thing I brought up was that my wife and I each have things about each other that we wish the other would work on. I said that if we got these worked out completely and they never came up again, does that mean we’d have a perfect marriage? No. There will always be a new issue. We are all fallen human beings and we will not achieve perfection in this life.

If anything, this should humble us. That means we will always need grace. There will never be a time that we don’t need God. There will never be a time when we earn love and grace. It will always be a gift.

One of the most humbling things I’ve come to realize is that. Aside from what He promised He would do for me in the covenant, God doesn’t owe me anything. If He doesn’t owe me anything, then everything else He gives me is a gift. My spouse is a gift. My income is a gift. My talents and abilities are a gift. The land I live in is a gift. My friends are a gift. My very life and breath is a gift.

Wouldn’t the great tragedy be if I wasn’t thankful for these things? Romans 1 tells us this actually. One of the great sins of mankind is that they did not give thanks to God. They acted like it was something they were, dare I say it, entitled to.

If you are doing a ministry, and much more of it is about you than it is about Jesus, you’re not doing it right. Those of us who are in ministry need to realize that we are not essential. God can get His word out without us and if something happens to us, God’s ministry will still get along just fine. We are not the focal point of the universe.

Live your life then dying to yourself and giving of yourself to those around you. We are all tempted to look out for ourselves, but in the way of the cross that cannot be done. Had Jesus taken that route, you and I would have no hope. We are to continue the ministry of Jesus who gave Himself for the world so that they could come to know God. We must give ourselves to those around us as well.

It’s about Him. It’s not about you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Christianity As Therapy

Have we lost the focus in our Christianity today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Christianity. What’s it about? Well let’s look at the name. In it, we see the name “Christ”, so that could perhaps tell us that Christianity is about Christ, but there are too many times you can go to a church service or listen to Christian music and very little of it is about Jesus. Most of our sermons have turned immediately to application and much of our music is not really to enter us into the throne room of God, but rather to get us feeling good about ourselves. In fact, we could even say that some songs that are being sung on Christian stations today are explicitly being sung to the audience instead of to God.

Now of course, this is not to say that application in sermons is unimportant. Every good sermon should have application, but that application should come after telling us what the text means, what it tells us about God and what it tells us about Jesus, and what it meant to the people back then, and then we see how it applies to ourselves. It’s fine to have songs to remind us of who we are in Christ, but we should always have it that the song is mainly about Jesus and our reply can only be awe, but too often, our Christianity has turned into therapy. Instead of equipping us for war, we are being told to feel good about ourselves, as if that is the goal of the Christian life and if we don’t feel good about ourselves, then there’s something wrong.

Good Christian. If you are walking in the path well, there will be many times you feel miserable about yourself and that’s a good thing. You will feel miserable because you know you serve a holy God and you fall short. In fact, it is only by the feeling miserable part that you can come to appreciate the good part. We can often have two extremes. We can seek to have an emotional high with no connection to reality other than that we are supposed to feel this way as good Christians supposedly, or we can have a part where we tear ourselves to shreds regularly and feel miserable while forgetting that the word “Gospel” refers to good news. Christianity should be news that gives us hope. We thus either live in la la land unaware of the pains of the world and acting as if they should be foreign, or we live in the pains and just say “Well someday I will be in Heaven but I must trudge through Hell for now.” Neither of these are Biblical.

Of course, in all of this, I want to be clear that I am not disparaging therapy. Therapy is essential for many Christians, and there are reasons to have therapy. It could be because of a valid mental or psychological condition. It could be because of a trauma one has gone through. It could be because of an addiction one is struggling with. It could be for advice on dealing with someone else, such as a loved one, having such a problem. All of these are valid and thank God we have therapists who can help, but the goal of therapy should not be to help us to feel good about ourselves, though that does not mean it is bad if that happens, but the goal of therapy should be that we are to be holy.

And isn’t that what we’ve lost so much of? We’ve lost holiness. We have forgotten that Christ in our lives and the work of the Holy Spirit is to make us more like Jesus. It’s not just to make us mentally or psychologically fit. We are to be holy and that holiness means that we are to die to ourselves every day. I suspect much of the problem in our psychology is really that we don’t think about sin as much any more. We ask God to take away wrong desires, but we don’t ask God to make us holy. We don’t strive for holiness. We want God to allow us to stay in our comfort zone. If you want to be holy, you are going to have to be uncomfortable because holiness is not the natural state of fallen man and God will have to do some serious renovations on you to get you to be holy.

When we take this approach, we also lose the grandeur of God. We get so caught up in ourselves and our feelings and our world and what we’re going through that everything else seems distant. I’d like to say that I’m immune to this, but I know I am not. With my personality, empathy is very hard for me. My wife is the one who constantly has to remind me when we pray about the other people on our list and I have no doubt that her heart beats more for them than my does. My struggles seem larger than life, but everyone else’s just so often don’t really matter. So yes, what I say to you I also say to myself. I often wonder why it is that I don’t think about God as much as I do? Again, my wife puts me to shame in this area as if she thinks God seems absent to her, it absolutely kills her and she hates the loneliness. At the same time, we must always remember we are to seek God not to feel good about ourselves, but because we know that He is good in Himself and we owe everything to Him.

The worldview that we follow is Christianity. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about Him. Are we applying the proper focus today?

In Christ,
Nick Peters