Monday, January 4, 2010

The Gospel Frees You from the Tyranny of Hyper-Spirituality

Yes, people watch too much TV and play too many video games and spend too much time on the Internet and what-have-you. But the proper response to our media over-saturation is not a rigorous attention to the explicitly "spiritual" in every margin of life. Be a Christian, not an ascetic. Don't be lazy, but realize that Jesus Christ did not die and rise for you so that you would stress out about whether you're being spiritual enough. So take a nap. Watch some television. The gospel frees you to chill the heck out.


Anonymous said...

Tell it brother.

Rob T said...

FOR REAL! I would swear Piper has an XBOX 360.

Randi Jo :) said...

I like this one for sure :)

Phil Cotnoir said...

Alright, help me out here. As one who struggles with feeling the need to be "hyper-spiritual," out of guilt, can you flesh this out a bit and explain how the gospel does this?

I totally agree with the thrust of what you're saying, and I want to internalize in my heart the fact that the gospel frees me to chill the heck out, I just need to understand it better.

Thanks =]

Phil C

Jared said...

Phil, I don't have time to elaborate right now, but will do so soon. In the meantime, I'm working out of passages like Galatians 5, so maybe a re-read of that could help. Will offer more soon.
Blessings, brother.

Phil said...


Jared said...

Phil, thanks for your patience. Here are some further thoughts that I hope will clarify what's missing in my post:

I'm trying to say that the idea that every spare minute we've got must be filled with some explicitly spiritual thought or exercise is a burden hardly anyone can bear, and it's a burden nobody needs to bear. The Spiritual work that covers every second of our lives has been more than accomplished by Jesus.

What I mean to say, really, is that when you are really satisfied in Christ you do not worry about every milisecond of your conscious thought: you rest in the knowledge that enjoying a good movie for being a good movie is a result of freedom.

I believe it is for freedom that Christ has set us free and that taking every thought to the obedience of Christ doesn't mean adopting a religious tyranny of the consciousness.

Because the gospel is not just salvation from sin but salvation from self-righteousness, we don't need to worry about filling every spare second with unrestful duties, even ones we think are in service to God. God desires mercy, not sacrifice. Christ made the sacrifice sufficient.

If I were to hone in on one particular passage that might help in seeing the glory of the gospel in this it might be Philippians 2:12-13, in which v.13 is gospel to those burdened by v.12.

But if even that is hard to "rest in" right now, I would read through Galatians, but particularly Galatians 5. Don't return to a yoke of slavery. When Christ sets you free, he sets you free from a margin-less life. :-) The Sabbath was made for man.

Phil said...

Thank you Jared, that's very helpful.

I'll spend some time thinking about that.

Your writing is an encouragement to me. I knew I would like this blog when you posted that rap video as an example of a contextualized gospel presentation.. and I was right.


josh otte said...

"The gospel frees you to chill the heck out."

that is now permanent, recurring appointment for my mondays (day off).

I've needed to repent of not recreating to the Savior's glory for a while.

Anonymous said...

Over decades of my own experience and watching the decisions of other Christians, I would say that this train of thought--"chill the heck out" re. spiritual thinking--is a mistake that leads to drift in our fervency of love to Christ. Of course, we relax and recreate. But He's always with us, always informing us, and always watching us. Going to movies? Who wants to soak in Hollywood's lostness when we can revel in God's world, enjoy people one-on-one, etc. There are decisions to be made about how to spend spare time, and soaking in the entertainment fed to us by the world and chilling out regarding our walk with Christ is counterproductive to a growing walk in the Lord. Don't go there.

Jared said...

Anonymous, without commenting on anything else, what if I replaced "Watch some television" with "Take a walk in the woods"? Is that okay?

The post is not endorsement of "soaking in" Hollywood

Harry said...

Look man, I don't know you from Adam, but your post stopped in the first part of Gal. 5 which is always dangerous when you leave out the rest of the chapter; "Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the the desires of the flesh . . ." etc., etc. Always, always combine the two, Grace alone, Christ alone, faith alone AND "pray . . ., asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so as to walk in a manner worth worthy of the the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1. 9, 10). It is ALL grace, but then "walk!" You get it!

Jared said...

Harry, and others: It doesn't matter how many times you say it, I HAVE NO IDEA why you're deducing that I'm saying "don't do anything ever."

It is a judgmental assertion of me and not even warranted by the post.

If I had written simply "Make sure you sabbath not just from physical work but from self-righteousness" would I still get the same comments?

I actually think I would!

Somebody would be "yes, butting" about still needing to do the spiritual disciplines -- which incidentally is what my book which comes out this very week is about :-) -- as if sentences, statements, blog posts all exist in a vacuum.

I think I need to take a sabbath from superfluous criticism.

Richie said...

Just some thoughts responding to 'Anonymous' (and forgive me Jared if this is slighty off-topic):

I agree whole-heartedly that we should guard our hearts and minds and not carelessly 'soak-in Hollywood's lostness', but could we not make application of Paul in the Areopagus, where he put himself in the midst of some of the most influential unbelievers in Athens, in order to counter their unbelief, even using their own poets to point to God? (Acts 17:16-34)

In like manner, should we also not make an effort to interact with the culture of our day, and dialogue with unbelievers in a more well-informed fashion?

As 'Anonymous' rightly states, God is always with us and watching us, and His word should always inform and guide us. Jesus told the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations...that command is still true today. Missionaries do not go into a foreign land ignorant of the customs, practices and beliefs of the people they will be witnessing to, and neither should we be ignorant of the culture (in which we live--in the world but not of the world) of those to whom we would proclaim Christ. And please do not misunderstand, I am not advocating a Gospel plus 'X' position; rather, I am stating that we as Christians should be aware (as Paul was) of the 'idols' that those around us worship, then presenting Christ as the true and only object worthy of worship.

I would humbly disagree that observing and engaging the culture (via various forms of media) is necessarily counterproductive to a growing walk in the Lord; on the contrary, I submit that it can enhance our witness and our walk, and glorify God.

And Jared, I hear you brother. I detected no antinomianism in your article whatsoever. I think a healthy, robust, and exegetically precise understanding of justification supports what you have written.