Understanding the Truth in a Culture of Conflicting Messages
- Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Ravi Zacharias' book, Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality, (Faith Words, 2012).
American culture mass-markets a generic brand of spirituality which claims that all religions are basically the same, and that a relationship with Jesus is just one option among many different ways to connect with God.
Yet Jesus declares that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to God apart from Him. Although Jesus’ message can be hard to hear above the loud noise of our culture’s spiritual philosophies, Jesus remains unique, and a embracing a relationship with Him is the only true way to connect with God.
Here’s how you can clear away the fog of mass-marketed spirituality around you and find true life for your spirit in Jesus:
Consider how the “new spirituality” that’s currently popular differs from the historical spirituality of biblical Christianity. They differ in authority because new spirituality says that you have the authority to determine what’s best for you, while biblical Christianity says that the church holds spiritual authority. They differ in worship because new spirituality says that you define how and what to worship, while biblical Christianity says that worship should be a way to engage with Jesus in the ways He leads you to relate to Him. They differ about the path to God because new spirituality says that you can choose any type of path and still end up close to God, while biblical Christianity says that only one path will truly lead you to God: walking with Jesus Christ. They differ about what’s sacred, because new spirituality says that anything goes when you’re trying to live a holy life and therefore you can consider anything to be sacred, but biblical Christianity says that there are sinful parts of this fallen world and human nature that must be denied, sublimated, or transcended. Finally, they differ about the nature of truth, because new spirituality says that truth is constantly changing as you grow, so you never quite arrive at truth, while biblical Christianity says that truth is constant and knowable, leading you to real answers to your spiritual questions.
Realize the limits of a religion that revolves around you. The new spirituality that the culture pushes is one that urges you to try to find peace by looking inward at yourself rather than outward at God. According to the new spirituality, deep down, you are God. But you only have to consider how often you struggle with sin (such as pride, greed, and lust) every day to realize that you can’t overcome evil in your own strength. Reflect on how many times you’ve intended to do what’s right, only to end up doing what’s wrong despite your good intentions. Think about how your mistakes and weaknesses affect your life. Recognize that you need a Savior, just like all other human beings in this fallen world that’s full of evil unleashed by sin.
Understand that it’s impossible for all religions to be the same. Although the culture tries to insist that all religions are basically the same at their core, in fact they’re fundamentally different. Any kind of truth, by definition, excludes the denial of what it asserts. The world’s religious doctrines often contradict each other, and Christianity is distinct in that it alone focuses on how God reaches out to people rather than how people can try to reach out to God. Only Jesus is able to truly bridge the distance between a perfect God and sinful people.
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