Thursday, April 17, 2014
When independence becomes a stand-off against God
Thomas Edison: His capacity to ‘think outside the box’ led to a number of significant inventions. There’s a difference between being able to take an independent direction, and being locked into having to be different and assert independence.
IN THE previous post I raised the curious but common situation of the superspiritual person – the person who is so insistently spiritual about everything, so sure that they are hearing God independently against the flow of all the good counsel of Christian friends – that they have toppled over into deception. And the deception, in its insistence, is of course rebellion.
“Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
So natural goodness or virtue, or directions we imagine are good, which do not flow from a heart totally and humbly relying on God’s grace, are just unacceptable. Offensive, even. Just plain sin.
What is it in us that says “I know best” or “I want to choose my own path” or, as we are told sometimes, “You always have to be different!”?
Probably Thomas Edison heard that that a lot in his early life. He, of course, was an independent thinker who was very creative. He used the capacity to see things differently, to try a different way, to be dissatisfied with current understanding, and this kind of independent creativity resulted in major breakthroughs.
The capacity to be creative requires the ability to hold an independent perspective – otherwise nothing will be created, but merely imitated. But that is not the same as a mindset of independence, becoming a resistant stronghold of independence which is a counterfeit of that creative ability God has put in each of us in different ways.
The stronghold is reinforced by our world of comparison sites and rankings and league tables. It is fed by the unreal world of TV soaps and celebrity magazines with their Photoshop-enhanced images. If you believe what you read, you may fall into the trap of comparing yourself – with something that doesn’t exist, most likely. And the stronghold is built up around the thoughts: “I don’t want to be like everyone else. I don’t want to be compared. I want to be in a special category of my own.”
When we’re not comfortable with our own identity, when we don’t feel good about ourselves, who we are and how we are, the comparison pressure can deceive us into seeking to create our own identity and try to be a different sheep in a different field.
To the independent person the question is: What are you trying to prove? Get that settled first.
Then be released into your own personal creativity for God, seeing your unique gifting enhance the genuine experience of God that comes out of life together and gifts shared as a body.