Sometimes we must turn around the things we despise in others and see if we are likewise guilty. We all hate people forcing their preferences on us. Even the most strident legalist hates seeing judgmental barbs flying his way.
Earlier in this series, I wrote on Spiritual Profiling and that we are so quick to size up others based on some crude criteria. Beyond the pain of others unfairly sizing us up, and beyond the crime of us sizing up others, there remains one other similar error that may greatly affect us–using a litmus test to size up ourselves.
Such lists are easy to throw together–attend church, read my Bible, wear the right clothes, avoid certain activities, only listen to approved music, and –Presto– I am a good Christian. At this point, the issue is not even if the Lord actually asks for everything on the list, though we often have the Pharisee’s penchant for going beyond Him, but our underlying thinking that says these things make me spiritual.
Am I the aggregate of what good things I do plus the sum of the bad things I do not do? Is it really that simple to gauge spirituality? Or is this even the gauge at all?
I am far enough in this journey that there appears to me to be little help for the dyed-in-the-wool legalist–his litmus tests will always be with us. I join you in disliking when someone foists his litmus test upon me. But I must ask: how is it any better when I forge a litmus test to prop myself up?
Could this be me creating my own smokescreen before the Lord? If I rapidly throw my fine little list together perhaps I can drown out what He really might want to talk to me about. It might not be something I can proudly point to on my list to you. It might be something so deep inside that you could never know. The ultimate point of my litmus test is, I suppose, that I simply don’t want to go there with the Lord. If that is the case, then my pretty little spiritual litmus test might just be one of the most unspiritual things in my life. It’s worth thinking about, wouldn’t you agree?
Find all articles in the series here.