“Not everybody must know everything -- nobody knows everything; if we waited to be saved until we knew everything, nobody would ever be saved -- but that is a very different thing from deliberately or thoughtlessly diminishing the content.” (Francis A. Schaeffer, Two Contents, Two Realities, Ch. 1)
My generation grew up under the banner of, “Just believe”. The current generation is growing up under the religious banner of, “Just feel”. While we must have faith, and we may have deep feeling in our relationship with God, if content is lacking, neither of these will hold up in our world today.
Countless people who professed faith have gone with the next voice on the wind due to little content being provided to their faith. Fifty-two speeches a year will not cut it for a grounded faith.
Action Two: Consume and share great content.
So how do we first find reliable content, and then, how do we provide reliable content. You’ll need a few things: Prayer, The Holy Spirit, The Book of God, The Books of Men, and several trustworthy companions along with a willingness to pursue truth and others.
God says seek and you shall find. Every true “seeker” I have ever met has found Christ as the answer. They may differ on the micro elements, but “salvation dependent on the finished work of Christ” is a shared truth of all true seekers. Many people claim to be seekers, but they look for what “feels” good to them, not what “explains” the world. Prayer and seeking are a must and a means, but not the end.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
A Christian can count on God’s Spirit to teach us and direct us. He will assist us in the discernment of what we experience, observe and read. Know that the Book of God (Bible), the written revelation of Truth can be used to weigh and measure all things. The Holy Spirit, the Word, and the life of Jesus , provide the best content, and should be used to weigh and measure all other content.
Be careful with the Word. One portion can seldom be taken alone to be understood; it must be read in whole and considered in whole. This takes effort. You will be challenged and others will challenge your thought. Be sure you offer a “Biblical” view of life, not a “one verse” view.
Also note, the Word is not the gift of one denomination, nor theirs solely to provide interpretation. Denominations are manmade institutions. There have been hundreds of them over the last two thousand years and there will be hundreds more. 1 Peter 2 ordained you as a priest. Use this authority in your life to act like one.
The Books of Men are also vital. These books help us understand how others think, put our thoughts and beliefs in check, and give us tools for communicating to the world. I enjoy seeing how faith, philosophy, science, observation and experience match up with Biblical revelation. Men were created in the image of God, therefore, they have the intelligence and creativity to generate incredible works or dangerous systems. Once again your discernment is key. Read those you trust along with those that interest you, and read even more of those that disagree with you.
Choose carefully who you allow to speak into your life. This is one of the most important decisions you will make when it comes to learning. Most professional ministers don’t have the time for individuals so you’ll have to work hard at finding the right person. What does this person look like? Here are some of my suggestions, in no special order, of what to look for:
- A person at least two decades older than you
- Someone that asks you lots of questions
- A person well read
- Someone who has followed Jesus for at least three decades
- Someone willing to meet with you weekly and alone
- Of the same sex
- Someone not in professional ministry
- Someone who is in a successful marriage
- They have the presupposition that Bible as Truth
- A person that provides input with permission or when asked
- A person that will commit to you even if you disagree on a major point
How do you find this person? You ask every older person you meet about the items above and you beg them to invest in you. People want purpose, and you can become purpose for them. It requires commitment, and that commitment can grow into a bond unlike anything you’ve experienced in Sunday School or CCD. In life I've have had the fortune to learn from several men with the elements above. Today I have a few of these men I meet with weekly, and I only allow them to speak into my life on the serious questions. I allow them, they don't demand it. We are in almost daily communication. This is possible even with a busy life.
At the same time, you must be working on being the description above and investing in someone younger than you. How do you find that person? You ask young people in whom you see an opportunity to teach and you replicate the characteristics above to them. Don’t become a dictator to them, become their ally and their Socrates. This is possible even with a busy life, and you will discover as I have, just as much as a gift to you.
Today’s churches are not providing this kind of discipleship. You are going to have to seek it and create it with God’s help. Don’t sit around waiting on someone to invest in you or to invest in someone, start looking for these people today.
This is how good content is sown. No other way works as well as a one on one investment. None. This is how God invests in us. He speaks to us personally. He wants us to engage with Him personally. Human relationships are improved along these same lines.
Are these relationships possible? Yes, but you must be patient and you must be open to poring your life into others, including the person(s) you allow to speak into your life.
Christianity is becoming unimportant to Millennials because these types of relationships are not happening in the home or the church. We must emulate this Christ like behavior of discipleship.
By investing in one person you can change the world!
Here are some communities I created to build these types of relationships in my life, as to have a constant source of opportunity with individuals.