The other day I wrote about the unhelpful movement of Christian self-help gurus, many of whom become very rich off of turning Christianity into a New Age faith of self-empowerment. Gurus like Joel Osteen and his guide to living your best life now, or Rachel Hollis and her directive to stop apologizing and realize that, “All that really matters is how bad you want those dreams and what you’re willing to do to make them happen.”
In my article I wrote about how this philosophy is almost completely at odds with the doctrine of Jesus who taught that our “dream” as believers should be to live a life of faithfulness, with an eye on eternity, no matter what that means for our material success or worldly renown. Specifically, I wrote,
“True Christianity isn’t about living our best life now; it’s about sacrificing this life now so that we can enjoy our best life later.”
That remark really rubbed one reader the wrong way. Ordinarily I would have likely missed her response because I haven’t been very good at policing the comment sections to my articles. But when I saw someone engaging with the name “Ms. T” quote that line from my article and remark simply, “That’s sad,” I was intrigued.
It’s important for us believers not to get caught up in our own Christian intellectual bubble and forget that there are truly people out there – a great number of them, in fact – that find the idea of self-sacrifice or “dying to self” completely at odds with something that brings fulfillment. As much as we may have found life with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the reliable foundation of God’s Word, the wisdom of Christ’s moral boundaries for human conduct, fulfilling and liberating, there are far more who don’t get it.
Spiritual blindness prevents them from escaping the assumption that a sacrificed life can’t be enjoyed. Where we experience life in the Spirit, they see only life without fun. Where we anticipate the unimaginable as our reward for faithfulness and perseverance, they see only the temporal joys of the here and now.
This reality isn’t a cause for haughtiness, conceit, or self-righteousness on our part. It’s not like we have had our eyes opened through our own wisdom or intelligence. We received our perspective, our transformative understanding of the world, as a gift from the One who gave us life. If we brag or boast, it should only be in Him, His greatness, and His sufficiency.
apparent belief that sacrificing fleeting manmade pleasures in exchange for
eternal heaven is “sad” burdens me, it doesn’t annoy me. It burdens me to find a way, some way, any way, to convey the greatness of what we receive in Christ to a
soul He desperately wants to share His eternal inheritance with.
I want Ms. T to see what I see. Not for my sake. For Christ’s. And for hers.