The other day, I was reviewing an older Chuck Swindoll book titled, “Three Steps Forward and Two Steps Back.” And I was amused to come across a section that he entitled, “The Four Spiritual Flaws.” It is a cute play on words.
Since 1965 or so, Campus Crusade has been distributing a great evangelism booklet entitled “The Four Spiritual Laws.” Over 1.5 billion copies have been given to people all around the world as men and women share their faith in Jesus Christ.
At any rate, the four spiritual flaws caught my attention and I thought I would share them with you. Swindoll is writing about how to attain authentic spirituality and before he launches into the meat of the matter, he points out some modern misconceptions about spirituality.
The first flaw or misconception is that because you are a Christian, all your problems are solved. This is absolutely false. The bible actually teaches the exact opposite. Look at II Timothy 3:12 where God explicitly says, “All who live Godly will suffer persecution.”
The second flaw states that all the problems you will ever have are addressed in the Bible. Again, this just isn’t so. There is not a specific answer for every possible human difficulty in the scriptures. But there are basic principles of living by faith that are reiterated in many different scenarios. And they are sufficient to help guide our lives.
The third flaw contends that if you are having problems, you must be unspiritual. This is the “advise” that Job’s friends were giving him. Essentially they were saying, “If times are tough, you must have blown it somewhere along the way!” That is clearly not scriptural. Some of the most spiritual men and women in the Bible suffered greatly. Consider the pain and suffering Paul endured (see II Corinthians 11). And notice his concluding thought after listing all his traumas, “…I will boast of the things that show my weaknesses.” He understood that the suffering of spiritual men and women has purpose.
The fourth flaw suggests that being exposed to sound Bible teaching will automatically solve your problems. That is no truer than the statement that having a map ensures that you will never get lost. A map has to be used, the person needs to orientate themselves directionally, and they need to trust that the directions noted will get them to their destination. Good sound Bible teaching alone does not solve our problems. We must diligently apply what we learn to our daily living. Truth does not eliminate difficulties; it establishes principles that help us deal with them.
Perhaps you have bought into one or more of these flaws. Stop this week and remind yourself that the truly spiritual among us are not void of problems; they just have a different focus. “And the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and satisfied (I Peter 5:10).