After pondering variations on the assumption that it is all about me (either in the direction of striving or divinely enabled successful independence), yesterday we probed the issue of an “all about God” assumption – namely, the glory filter. Here’s another “all about God” filter that may be corrupting our reading and preaching of the Bible:
6. The takeover filter. There is no question that God wants to be God in the life of the listeners. The Bible says a categorical No! to our autonomy from God. But we must be careful not to misrepresent the salvation plan. The predominant biblical motif is that of marriage, not dictatorial control. I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but there is also the life I now live. Huh? Captivated by our groom and united with him by the Spirit, we are invited into a marital relationship, not a bizarre state of hypnosis and unthinking passivity. The Bible does not invite us to enter into a non-communicative and non-reciprocal relationship with a takeover Spirit. We are not invited to go beyond the Bible into a higher level of spirituality that is impossible to describe, yet worthy of our greatest efforts to pursue personal surrender to it.
The Bible invites us to know God and to be in fellowship with Him by His Spirit in response to His love. It is a relationship of hearing His heart in His Word and responding to Him in prayer and walking with Him and keeping in step with His Spirit and being both dead to self and yet more alive than ever (since life is, by definition, knowing God). There are various unbiblical and sub-biblical versions and perversions of Christian spirituality. Some do sound very Christian, but even when the focus is apparently all on God, it is still possible to corrupt the Bible and misrepresent what He is saying.