Selection is in the heart of consumerism. Selection is what drives you as you browse the grocery store. Selection is what “helps” you have what you want. Selection is behind the relationship you have with your partner. Does that mean you’re a selective Christian? Well, it could… One thing is certain, though – being surrounded by so much “selection moments” can surely make you one. The more you exercise your selection abilities, the more you’ll think that you are always in the position and authority to select.
How is selection being practiced by Christians? It’s quite simple to answer actually – just pay attention to it as you go in your everyday life. The first thing which comes to mind is (sadly enough!) God’s very Word. We (me including) all have what we call “favorite verses”, favorite books, favorite characters. But what about the rest? Does our narrow focus mean that we don’t consider the rest of the Bible as important, as valid, as applicable… as directed to us? Yes, yes, yes!!! That’s exactly what it means. I know this will challenge you a bit, but answer to me, please, why then do you not study all parts of the Bible equally and apply them so? A bit too many Christians rather learn the “give me” and “bless me” verses, than the “I will do” or “I will be” ones.
Christian music… I’ve two examples to share and will leave the thinking to you. The first is Luther’s song “Create in me a pure heart” which is based on David’s Psalm 51. Way too often I’ve heard this song only in its first half – God make me this, make me that… But in reading Psalm 51 one clearly sees the heart of David’s devotion to God. He wants God to make him all this and “Then I will teach transgressors your ways… and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.” See, right there is the power of Psalm 51. Strip that and it turns into a selfish and fake prayer. The second example is Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name“, a song, the last verse of which states:
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
Now, I’ve heard that one way too often stripped as well. Here it’s more an issue of complete dependency and Paul’s joy from all of Philippians. Have we turned into selective Christians?!
One more thing I have noticed very often among Christians is complaining about one’s circumstances. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve done it too, and most likely I’m still doing it on daily basis – just not noticing all of it yet. However, I want to turn my and your attention to the issue, because I see it growing and growing… Circumstances in life are a funny thing. Actually, most of the time we pray for the circumstances, but not for ourselves. We pray that God will change this or that… but only rarely do we pray that God will change us. And it is even more rare that Christians in general do take on the daily journey to changing themselves consciously. And this is a hot topic because we cannot select the circumstances in which we live – be it poverty, loneliness, cancer, opression… This is for most people the moment when we hit the floor and come broken and empty before God.
Lastly, many Christians world-wide do selective theology. Life isn’t black and white they say, so I can twist a bit the meaning of God’s revelation. No! You can’t! If there is only one truth, one true way of living, and one true belief… It is black and white! Just that we’ve all been in the dirty and sticky waters of our culture for too long doing nothing, and now it seems impossible to live differently. And people get to claim their right to select when things get rough and tough. That’s when we tend to twist meaning and interpret a bit too much.
So, are you a selective Christian too? Remember, God doesn’t call us to select from Him only what we like. He has called us to obey His will… entirely! And that doesn’t always coincide with our own wishes and desires. Most of the time it actually opposes them.