This series posits a notion that in the modern experience of life, the idea of personal self has become the chief idol of the masses.
Even a professing Christian may fail to recognize how the sense of living one’s life is placed ahead of living unto Him. There are many reasons for this I suppose. I believe it is something folks need to think about, if they honestly want to walk in the spirit and not simply adhere to religious doctrine.
In the Old Testament, there are a number of false gods mentioned, and these are associated with literal idols. Two of the most conspicuous are Baal and Molech.
The pursuit and development of knowledge has turned the study of human behavior, individually and collectively, into sciences. Prominent among these are psychology, sociology and anthropology. As an education major and teaching professional, I have had a smattering of classes in all three. With little creativity, I have understood that the Christian religion and these sciences were talking about the inner-man and the larger societal implications of living outwardly from inward places. The longer I have read and thought within these disciplines and compared them to the Scripture, the clearer it becomes a matter of semantics that what Christians call the “soul” modern man labels the “psyche”. The conventional wisdom of man attempts to understand the inward man (and gets it wrong), while the wisdom of God has revealed who and what we are.
Modern science asks, “How is the inward man shaped?” and finds for answers only rationales forged within the limits of the humans' natural existence. The Christian must ask, “What does it mean to live in the spirit of Christ?” and in so doing seek and find the reality of drawing life from a Source who is beyond our natural world.
If one sees the issues of Christianity and the Christian life as simply a moral way to behave, there is no fundamental difference between such a perspective and the modern sciences. Man has become an object to be analyzed, understood, and educated for the achievement of a higher quality existence. Using Scripture as the major source of education doesn’t alter the weakness of this understanding regarding what is going on in the earth. Rather the Christian faith demands that we wrestle with how to connect with God beyond our rhetoric and practices, thus entering into Him being our source, all in all. If we fail such, those watching may truly assume there is no meaning to the doctrine of regeneration by the Holy Spirit.