Addicted to my own ideas

Church History

“So, this is where our movement came along and finally got the Bible right.”
“Jesus is so lucky to have us.”

I have recently noticed how addicting my own thoughts can be. It’s scary how right I think I am all the time.

I think the reason why I love what I think so much is because it is a part of me. Like the pencil sketches I love to draw occasionally, it is a unique creation of my mind. My theology, even, becomes like art to me.

But, theology isn’t like art, is it? It isn’t simply an expression of beauty or emotion. On the other hand, it is more that intellectual comprehension.

My good friend Jacob loves the quote from C.S. Lewis,

We murder to dissect.

We are willing to completely remove the life of something in order to understand how it works.

Scripture, and what we think about scripture isn’t just a mere intellectual thing. The scriptures say about themselves that they are “God-breathed.” There is something about this book that we base all our doctrine on that is more that just words. Consider what else has been God-breathed.

Humans were the only creation that God formed with his own hands, gettin’ down and dirty. We are also the only creation that received God’s breath. I believe that His breath was His nature, or His likeness. We were breathed into His likeness. We traded His likeness for a “Good vs. Bad” human-effort demonic Sin-likeness. Then, a few years later Jesus breathed upon His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” His spirit! This is a restoration of the original blueprint (to steal a line from the Mirror Translation).

This same breath of God has been breathed into the scriptures giving it a supernatural, God-like nature, just like us. Let us be careful not to murder it in order to understand it.

But how is it that so many people can think so many different things about these scriptures and all be so convinced that they are right? How can I do this? Here’s the crux: No one believes anything that they think is wrong (on an intellectual level). If they did, they wouldn’t believe it! In each person’s mind, they are right.

I’ve been thinking about what the role of Teacher is in the church. I think that role is to maintain and protect doctrine and speak it out. I think this is done by the empowerment of the Spirit of God and cannot be something that is removed from the supernatural, spiritual realm. But, James tells us that not everyone should assume to be a teacher. Maybe we’ve all assumed that we are teachers? Maybe we’re in big trouble because of that.

Now, I’m not saying that only Teachers should read the Bible. No! Everyone needs to interact with God through His chosen book. But, maybe we should return to the way of humility and submit ourselves to those who have been anointed as teachers when it comes to doctrine. Maybe we need to recognize God at work in others who are smarter than us and who have the Spirit of God for a specific gift that we don’t have.

This is a difficult message to preach to myself.

Do we trust that the other parts of the body will be able to do their part well without our micro-managing? Or are we addicted to control? In the end, our obsession with our own ideas stems out of our desire to control. Jesus taught humility, not control, even to the point of death.

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About Nathan Banker

Nathan, Michelle and their two sons are occupational ministers in the Twin Cities. They do spiritual mentoring, a form of prayer ministry call Prayer Resolution and help run a small church-like community called Immerse. They dream of changing the world, one person at a time.

11 responses to “Addicted to my own ideas”

  1. dwmckay says :

    LOVE the ‘toon.
    Learning to distinguish my thoughts from me–that is a hard skill to learn. Prayer, meditation, and practice–and a mentor in the spiritual life–all heartily recommended to grow in this skill. I’ve been working on it for sometime now, and if I do say so myself, I’m better than most folks I know at it–but not as good a some–and not doing it 50% of the time or better. Hard work. And like praying in secret–no one sees the fruits except you and God.

  2. Chad says :

    The sketch is great! And good word. Thank you for sharing. The Lewis quote reminds me of my favorite Billy Collins poem. After reading it through, insert “scripture” for “poem.”

    Introduction to Poetry
    Billy Collins

    I ask them to take a poem
    and hold it up to the light
    like a color slide

    or press an ear against its hive.

    I say drop a mouse into a poem
    and watch him probe his way out,

    or walk inside the poem’s room
    and feel the walls for a light switch.

    I want them to waterski
    across the surface of a poem
    waving at the author’s name on the shore.

    But all they want to do
    is tie the poem to a chair with rope
    and torture a confession out of it.

    They begin beating it with a hose
    to find out what it really means.

    • nathanbanker says :

      Brilliant poem. Thanks Chad! Sounds very much like an artist’s mind clashing with a scientist’s. Some things don’t need to be understood to be enjoyed. Paintings, music, love, relationships, and God!

  3. sacredstruggler says :

    I know. I have to constantly remind myself that my interpretation of Scripture is mine. I also get quite frustrated when others don’t put things under the net of “their” opinion but link them up with God’s. I have to be open to being wrong and patient with others. What a good reminder.

  4. Janet Brown says :

    I don’t think dissecting scripture and scripture being God-breathed needs to be an either/or thing. Your parents got me into Precepts which teaches us how to study scripture and have scripture prove scripture.

    It has dissected AND brought life into the scriptures for me. It is good to submit to the teachings of others but always test what they say against scripture. There is so much false teaching creeping into the Church and the only way to have discernment is to know the scripture ourselves.

    Thanks for your challenge this morning!

    • nathanbanker says :

      Thanks Janet. I’m not at all saying that we shouldn’t dig into scripture, but it is a difficult thing to dissect and an easy thing to remove the life from. For the untrained or inexperienced, the life is too often removed for the sake of understanding. The first priority, in my opinion, is to enjoy God through scripture like you would enjoy a poem or a piece of art. Secondly, we should understand scripture, which will ever increasingly enlighten our ability to enjoy God. We need to connect with God through scripture. Scripture is a sign pointing us to life. (John 5:39)

      • Janet Brown says :

        Yes, good to remember to have that balance of study, understanding, and breathing in the life of scripture. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. nathanbanker says :

    Just to clarify… The drawing posted is not mine. Sorry! My sketches are more raw and vivid. I will have to post one someday. Blessings!

  6. smackdabchina says :

    Scripture was written on the streets, not in some quiet study. Our problem understanding it starts when we sit in a quiet room and think this is all we need to do to how to know what it means. Meditating in a quiet room helps but isn’t enough. Rollup your sleeves, meditate while you minister, you will understand it better then. Got to see it through the lens of life. That’s what it was designed for.

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