Spiritual Renegade Cookbook
Aside from the fact He was the Son of God, Jesus was spiritually off the beaten path. He never resembled what others thought a spiritual leader should be like. He was caring along with being profoundly controversial.
Similarly, Paul the Apostle was off the spiritual grid as he began to unpack what it meant to believe in Jesus. He was roughed up by everyone from Jews to legalistic Christians. He was anything but a run-of-the-mill pastor.
Sometimes we forget that faith means more than fitting into the current church structures. It’s possible to be committed to Jesus while going across the grain of Christian expectations. If you are going to take the route of a spiritual renegade, here are some ingredients you can throw into the pot.
- Ask lots of questions that don’t seem to have answers. Ask questions realizing it may be a while before you get the answers. It is acceptable to have unanswered questions about God, faith, Bible, etc.
- Don’t pretend. Be honest about your doubts and struggles. Read the Psalms. David expressed all kinds of doubt and frustration. “My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long?” (Psalm 6:3)
- Don’t depend on your church to hear God for you. Flash! You have the Spirit of God in you to guide you through life. There are times when God will use others to bring wisdom into your life, but you do not have to develop a dependency on someone else to hear God for you. (1 John 2:27)
- Go for something others don’t. The woman with a flow of blood disease is my all time Bible hero. She didn’t understand today’s doctrines of God’s sovereignty and how God supposedly uses afflictions to grow us spiritually. She just knew she was tired of having a blood disease; so she pushed her way threw the crowd and grabbed Jesus’ garment. Even Jesus was taken by surprise. And she got healed. Unravel that story theologically. She is my hero. (Mark 5:25-34)
- Don’t settle for religious imagery. Someone recently told me, “Brother, you just have to go to the foot of the cross!” Hmmm. What exactly does that mean? You don’t go to a literal wooden cross; so the “foot of the cross” must be symbolic for something. What? The phrase is not in the Bible. If you mean you have to put your faith in what Jesus did for you on the cross, then OK. I get it. Just say that. The image may be accurate but not give a full explanation.
- Drill down into common religious phrases. While the fifth ingredient represents an incomplete idea, this ingredient explains how some religious phrases can be misleading. Many religious phrases have a grain of accuracy but skew the truth. For example: “God is not a vending machine!” is a statement people use to discourage others from asking God to do something. God certainly is not a vending machine. But neither is He a stoic cosmic force who enjoys withholding from His children. As a loving Father, God loves to give good gifts. (Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13, James 1:17)
Throwing these ingredients into the mix of your Sunday school class or home Bible study will make you look like a spiritual rabble-rouser. So, be careful. Stir gently. Try not to blow up the kitchen.