I love John Ortberg. Although this was the very first time I’ve heard him speak, he’s the author of one of my favorite books. I’ve read it more times than I know. If you haven’t read it, but it now. You won’t regret it.
John started by sharing with the crowd what the fastest growing religion in this generation is. What do you think it is? The first though that came to my mind was the religion of “who gives a rip.” I wasn’t too far off. The fasted growing faith of this generation is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism states that there is a God. He wants us to be nice. he wants us to feel good about ourselves and other than when we REALLY need him, he’s not involved in our lives. I think I might agree.
What’s caused the growth of this new religion? Consumerism? Careerism? Entitlement? Selfishness? Take your pick. This new religion is the product of our culture.
I’m not exactly sure how John transitioned, but he talked about false views of our “selves” and the “selves” we’re often tempted to become. Here are the four false “selves.”
- The me I think I should be
This false self is born out of comparison. We see oursleves in the light of how we see others. Comparison kills spiritual growth. God plan is that as we grow, we’ll become more like the person he created us to be. God never creates “throw-aways.” He only rescues. Spiritual growth is simply becoming more like “you.”
- The me other people want me to be
This false self is born out of a need for approval. We have to be willing to disappoint someone. Who cares about someone’s approval. For everyone else, truly the best give you could ever give anyone is to not expect them to be anything other than the very best they can be.
- The me I’m afraid God wants me to be
In our Christian culture, we’ve inaccurately defined spiritual growth or maturity. We truly have to find a way to gauge spiritual growth where the pharisees don’t always win. Spiritual growth isn’t about what I’m doing. Rather, it’s about what I’m becoming. What’s a sign that you’re growing? You’ll experience less worry and become less irritated.
- The me that fails to be me
We have largely reduced grace to the salvation from sins. That’s only part of the picture. Saints are meant to grow in grace, run on grace and live by grace. There is a you that you are becoming and it’s God’s grace that you’ll become the you that God created.
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