tozerThere are buzz words which stir me to question the validity of your walk with Christ. When hearing particular phrases, I stop listening to you and start judging your heart. Your interpretation of being a Christian is suspect to the scripture I hold dear, and I need to warn and advise you to escape the flames.

I confess forty years as a Protestant evangelical taught me to suspect anyone who wrote or spoke the truth in opposition to mine. Words like contemplation, centering prayer, and mysticism or teachings from Catholic theology were questioned at all costs. The spiritual discipline of mindfulness as a way of practicing the presence of Christ in my life was playing into the hands of the devil and eastern religion.

Christian faith and religion seldom progress beyond an intellectual mind game of right or wrong belief about God. The mind in its arrogance sets up the proper parameters of knowledge to achieve salvation. I as a Pharisee know the way.

The mystics and the contemplatives who were probably a hundred times more Christ-like than me because their doctrinal belief didn’t fit accepted teaching were cast out of the church, condemned and banished from the faith.

As a recovering Pharisee, I now focus on living out the love of Christ toward all humanity. Jesus taught, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Scripture teaches how I treat and love others portrays how I treat and love Jesus. God’s love lets us see the beauty of our brothers and sisters even when His love doesn’t appear present in them. It is up to God to change them not me! Leonard Sweet beautifully narrates that a relationship with God trumps belief about God.

“Being a Christian is more about a relationship with God than beliefs about God; more about the presence of God than the proofs of God; more about intimacy with truth than the tenets of truth; more about knowing God’s activities than knowing God’s attributes. It is time to move from a religion that seeks to comprehend God to a relationship that seeks to encounter and be a home for God–to move from points and propositions and moralisms to mystery and paradox and participation in the divine life.”

What are your buzz words that cause you to judge others? Do others see Jesus in you?