We live lives pulled by gravity. Physical gravity keeps on pulling us downwards. We can be a research physicist or a playful toddler. It doesn’t matter, gravity pulls. Fallen World Gravity (FWG) keeps on pulling us too. It pulls us toward a worldview where I am at the centre, where glory is a-relational and based on how weighty we can be in competition and comparison, and where independence just makes sense.
Here’s a fourth pull that is there whether we recognize it or not:
4. The pull toward speculation. This one is less obvious to us, even if we have done some good study biblically and theologically. It is strange, but the ‘theological gravity’ of this fallen world pulls us to enjoy speculation. We seem to be naturally pulled toward speculating intellectually, or experientially, or both.
Of course, God has created us to learn and to explore, but somehow this fallen world gives us a corrupted version of that. So rather than chasing all there is to know about God in His self-revelation through the Word, we will quickly put the Bible to one side and delve into intellectual and philosophical speculation.
Or we will quickly put the Bible back on the shelf and pursue some sort of spiritual exercise that might lead us into an experience that goes beyond anything God has directly offered in His self-revelation. Somehow these pursuits are permeated by an inherent independence, and that gravity continues to pull us away from God’s good plan to a fallen and twisted theological pursuit or practice. It is strange how much this happens and, for the most part, we remain quite unaware of how strange it is.
We will preach to people who just want to accumulate knowledge so that their intellectual curiosity can be assuaged. That is a problem. We will preach to people who just want to find some spiritual exercise that might lead them to a spiritual high. That is a problem.
What is more, since FWG is so pervasive, our listeners may hear a preacher who really just wants to accumulate knowledge so that his fleshly compulsion to speculate philosophically can be satisfied. That is a problem. Or they may hear from someone who is more concerned with climbing into some sort of anointed euphoria than growing in relationship to the God who can be known in Christ. That too is a problem.
Be a learner with curiosity. Let it drive you deeper into your relationship with Christ. Let the Bible be the ground you dig, and let God’s heart in Christ be the treasure you find. Let the pulpit be a place of sharing that treasure. May our churches be communities of increasingly captured hearts enjoying knowing the God who has revealed Himself in Christ so that we can know Him!
One thought on “Fighting Gravity – part 4”
Thank you for these reflections, Peter.
In relation to this one, No. 4, two quotations from ancient writers come to mind:
1) Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Bk i, ch 1: ‘What good do you get by disputing learnedley about the Trinity, if you be lacking in humility and therefore displeasing to the Trinity?’
2) Brother Lawrence (Nicholas Herman of Lorraine), The Practice of the Presence of God, 1st Conversation: ‘…That if this was my design, viz., sincerely to serve God, I might come to him (B.Lawrence) as often as I pleased, without any fear of being troublesome; but, if not, that I ought no more visit him.