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Chapter 27 - Surveying the Damage
Having given some brief consideration to many of the ways the Christian is hindered, attacked, and even subverted, we can review the list of impediments given at the beginning of this section. We should be better able to consider how these circumstances arise with a view towards how they might be dealt with.
1. A poor, incomplete, or erroneous idea of what Christianity is and how it is lived. There are historical, denominational, traditional, and Satanic reasons that there is so little correct information about the Christian life. The same reasons explain why there is so much bad information. The person beginning to suspect there is something more than that of which he is aware or suspects that he is not on a correct path may begin to read about alternatives, seek other denominations, or even watch some videos. However, he should not neglect studying the bible and prayer as the one he seeks has provided these specifically for him.
2. An inherited legacy of Christian tradition that misdirects us. If one lives a comfortable suburban life, one may not see much need for anything significant in his religious life. However, when a tragedy such as a death, serious illness, rebellious child, divorce, or other calamity arises, one might find praying to a saint or attending a church service to be unsatisfying. This is often because we may have come to consider our religion like a fire extinguisher (to be used in case of emergency).
3. A crippled ability to trust in the bible. If one has been tricked or bullied into accepting assertions that the bible in not trustworthy, he can find himself cut off from the very source of truth he needs.
4. Concerns with and interest in the things of the world. We often see activities such as education and employment as the mechanisms we need to navigate to insure our income and future. It is this trust in the world to provide for us that can lead us to consider religious faith as an 'optional extra'.
5. Unrestrained fleshly inclinations. The sensual life is consumptive. There is little room for anything that does not provide sensory stimulation. When a society has accepted and even institutionalized things like casual fornication as 'living together', it reflects a powerful social current drawing people to indulge in selfishness.
6. Pharisee-like self-righteous smugness of having achieved completion. There is that within the human heart that is satisfied by the assurance that it is special, superior, and to be envied. While one can find opportunities to feed this character defect in things like political and political activism, it is sad to see it so often in religious circles.
7. Diverted into scripted roles defined by organized systems. Many sincere Christians have come to see their committee work, service as an usher, grounds maintenance, or other systems function as service for the Lord. It is sad that too often this work can prevent the ministry Christians could have towards each other. When Christians function as a body, they are better able to minister one to another. When Christians function as components in a machine, they grow distant from the head (Jesus) and from each other.
8. Being unaware of the traps Satan has set out to ensnare Christians. Having adverse experiences can cause someone to be cautious and skeptical. Conversely, someone who has had prosperous and comfortable experiences can be excessively trusting and accepting. Given our historically unprecedented level of prosperity, it should be expected than many Christians would be vulnerable to trusting in Christian doctrines and practices that divert them from growing in Christ-likeness.
9. Having been diverted from individual inquiry into passive dormancy. Many churches do not react well to inquiry. They may see in it a challenge to their authority or leadership and counter with coercive pressure to remain silent or passively accept that with which they are presented.
10. Being unaware of Christian alternatives and options. Many people may feel that their particular denomination or tradition falls short of what they would like to see, but do not know what other denominations offer or even the availability of things like house church, one-to-one fellowship, or bible study.
11. Having been conformed to the patterns of the world. A person with school experience has come to understand they have to shut up, sit down, and do what the teacher tells them. When this reflex is brought into a church, the person may not actively seek after the things of the Lord. A person shaped by the consumerism of the world may come to church to evaluate his experience in much the same way a movie reviewer would rate a new movie release.
12. Inhibiting influences from friends, family, and coworkers. The Amish understand the power of shunning (using the fear of rejection by family and friends to coerce desired behavior). If someone considers doing something different than others expect, he should be ready to endure their discouragement.
Information about Christianity and the Christian life.
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