Do you practice the one true faith? Do you know of denominations that identify as Christian that claim to be the one true church? Do you find this claim off-putting? How do you think your claim of Christianity as the one true faith is viewed by those who practice other faiths? Everyone thinks that their version of the truth is correct but they cannot all be insofar as they contradict one another. You want to be an advocate for the truth as you understand it, and this is an admirable goal.
Do you think that you are righteous and come to the right position on every issue because you are led by the Spirit? Do you encounter other people who have access to the same facts and come to different positions and assume that they are not righteous or spirit-led? Are you confident that your own motives are pure and theirs are not? They may feel the same way about you. Is it possible that you are both righteous? To assume otherwise is to judge your brother.
Which do you consider to be more important, the pursuit of happiness, or the pursuit of meaning? The pursuit of happiness may be enshrined in your founding documents, and you may see everyone you know putting forth a great effort to obtain it, but is it the most valuable thing? To answer this question consider the tradeoff. Do you know people who pursue happiness and end up shallow and disappointed, lacking substance? Who can endure a meaningless life? This is a spiritual longing that you can’t ignore. How many people do you know that lead meaningful lives who are unhappy?
What would you do if you wanted to become a better Christian? More Bible study? More prayer? More church attendance? What would you do if you wanted to become a better person? Be more thoughtful and considerate? More generous? More committed to care for and involvement with those in need? If you become a better Christian by doing the activities first mentioned, will you automatically become a better person? You may get a different answer from those within and those outside of your faith tradition.
Do you see the church as a separate entity, isolated from the society at large? You could point to the verse that says come out from among them and be separate. Yet you are also called to be in the world but not of the world. It is hard to live in isolation from the general culture. Is it desirable? One of the criteria for church leaders is that they have a good reputation among those who are without. Have you found that good character traits are universally admired, even by those who make no profession of faith?
Do you read advertisements and know that the terms ‘as-is’ or ‘fixer-upper’ imply that the item for sale is not in prime condition? You would expect the condition to be reflected in the price, or the seller willing to negotiate at a disadvantage based on the quality of his goods. Do you know that you are bought with a price and you are not your own? How do you see yourself as a result? Did I get you as pristine and immaculate or as a fixer-upper? So did I use that as negotiating point or did I pay the asking price for you?
Are you familiar with the concept of a variable focal length lens? This is more commonly known as a zoom lens. It has the advantage of offering you a wider perspective than a fixed focal length lens. Do you see a spiritual parallel for this? How wide is your spiritual perspective? Can you zoom out to see far-reaching effects of your current actions? The spiritual perspective adds the dimension of time beyond the immediate visual frame. You don’t know what the future will hold, but you do know that your current actions will ripple forward in time.
Pets and plants come in indoor and outdoor versions. In a sense, people do too. Outdoor versions are more robust and able to thrive under a wider range of conditions and adversity. Do you think the same concept applies to your faith? Is this something that also comes in indoor and outdoor versions? If your faith only works indoors, and in particular inside your church, then it is less robust than a faith that works outdoors, and by implication, everywhere.
Can you see your shadow? That would require a point light source and looking in the right direction. It is easier for other people to see your shadow. Can you extend this concept beyond visible light and optics? You could think of your shadow as your unlived life and unresolved issues. You can see these things in other people, how it affects their behavior and how they project their biases and rigid thinking onto others. It is harder to see in yourself. You could conclude from inference that if everyone else has a shadow then you do too.
I warned that many would come in my name, but if they didn’t follow me I didn’t send them. This may have seemed odd to my disciples who didn’t realize how far the faith I founded would extend, but now it is widespread. I also declared that my Kingdom is not of this world, so this provides you with a means of assessment. If someone tries to enlist your support for their cause in my name you have no obligation to respond, especially if their cause, and their agenda to implement it, appears to be very much aligned with this world.