Someone once told me that everyone has their own view of Jesus. One person worships the “Love Jesus”, who goes around preaching peace, love, and acceptance. Another worships the “War Jesus”, who is calling his followers to fight against anything that doesn’t align exclusively with scripture. A third worships the “Genie Jesus”, who’s only function is to give the seeker whatever they want. Though I found this to be a rather cynical observation, I couldn’t deny there was a grain of truth in their words.
Christians all share a belief in God, but sometimes our fears and insecurities can paint a false picture of who God really is. Like a compass with a broken needle, these false views can steer us away from Christ and burden us with an unhealthy faith that decays the spirit. A number of Christian writers, including Jason L. Clark of Relevant, have pointed out warning signs of unhealthy faith. Beginning with the following,
You're Motivated by Shame Instead of Love.
“Feelings of shame or condemnation are often the evidence that you believe God’s opinion of you is determined by how much you have pursued Him or, obeyed Him or loved Him. First, God never communicates using shame or condemnation—those feelings come from elsewhere. Second, you get no say in how God feels about you. God is love, and His heart toward you is perfectly displayed in the life, death and resurrection of His Son. Third, “we love because He first loved” (1 John 4:19). Your devotional life is always meant to be a response to your revelation of His love, not motivated out of a fear of His anger or disappointment.”
Rebecca Barlow Jordan, a Christian author and speaker, has her own thoughts to share as well. Jordan believes Christians have created a distance between themselves and God, filled with all the pain and disappointment life can offer. In reality, this is far from true.
God Desires Your Fellowship.
“We were created for fellowship. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9, NIV). Before sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were more than just caretakers of God’s creation. They were part of that creation and enjoyed sweet communion with God in the garden. God didn’t change in His desires; man did. He still wants our fellowship (Revelations 3:20). Furthermore, you were created for His glory: ‘Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them’(Isaiah 43:7, NLT). He even takes delight in you! (Zephaniah 3:17).”
Lastly, we must always remember the words of scripture when we search for answers. The Bible is filled with stories of people who tried to create God in their image, but true, life-giving faith does not conform, it transforms. Just ask Simon the Sorcerer, who tried to buy God’s power with money in Acts 8:18-24,
True Faith Transforms the Believer.
“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’”
“Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.’”
“Then Simon answered, ‘Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.’”
The Christian faith was never meant to be a stunted tree, but a life-giving orchard. It’s only through the acceptances of Christ’s grace that we can begin to shed these tainted views of God, and begin to nurture a flourishing, healthy faith. God does not want our fear, our shame, or our ambition, He wants us. So let us lay our burdens down, and take up a cross that brings new freedom instead.
What about you? Are there other warnings signs of a sickly and unhealthy faith? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
*Ryan Duncan is the Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com