I have been thinking about a lot of things lately, and I am finding a very common theme that continues to permeate most of the things I am noticing and thinking about. I am finding that there are so many expectations put on believers – far more than I expected.
Some of the examples I have seen lately:
- A small group decided that they would pick 3 books of the Bible, and have each member read a chapter of each during the week so that we can discuss things that were learned through the reading.
- A group decided that they really needed to better follow the great commission and focus harder on going out and making disciples.
- I saw a blog post questioning the effectiveness of prayer, saying that we “have to” pray for x, y, and z, and that we should be praying for all peoples.
- Numerous other things that are said that Christians “need” or “should” do.
All of these things are not bad things at all, and the going out and making disciples is a Biblical command. However, there are two things that I struggle with in this area: The first is the failure to recognize the effect of continuing to say things “need” and “should” be done. The more people hear that, mentalities like the following have the potential to be formed:
- It feels impossible to successfully do all those things all the time.
- If I don’t do all of those things, I am failing, and I will feel guilty.
- Even though I may not want to do these things, I’ll do them because they are expected of me.
The second is that the state of believers is not really assessed. I guarantee that there will always be those who are struggling with their faith (like me) and who may not at all feel like going out and making disciples or praying for the nations with a group of people. They may need some help. It is never safe to assume that everyone will want to do x, y, or z. But, in order to fit in, they may often do things they feel really uncomfortable with or that they don’t at all feel ready to do. They may not feel comfortable to just volunteer that they need help.
I feel like the heart of believers is being neglected, and the focus is being turned instead to the things and behaviors that Christians ought to do. What do you think?