They were both very passionate about their position, this fact made obvious by the increasing volume with which they both argued their point and the speed with which they cut the other off in order to insert a new point. I sat on the couch nearby, forbidden to enter the fray, and for perhaps the first time ever, felt grateful for being so restricted. The discussion was over the rapture – when it might happen, who would be around before and after, and how world events were playing into the hands of biblical prophecy. Behind closed eye-lids I rolled my eyes and to this day, 2 years later, can remember but one piercing thought:
Despite such passionate convictions on secondary issues like this and many others, all of us here have one thing in common: We are here, in “rehab” for sexual addiction, and therefore all of our theological posturing sounds stupid. You may be right about the rapture, but if you are addicted to pornography or serial adultery (or any other habitual sin), those arguments aren’t doing you any favors now, nor will they in the future.
When I arrived at Pure Life, the director of counseling discerned exactly how I needed to be handled and issued a gag order on me with regards to talking theology. I wasn’t allowed to enter into any theological discussions while a student there in large part because he discerned such discussions fed my pride. He was right. He was also right about the other part: such discussions concealed a wicked heart, making me feel I was “good” simply because I talked about God a lot.
What I really needed was a return to the simplicity of the gospel. I needed to get back to the basics. I needed to return to the cross.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2).
It is so easy to be distracted by issues and soap boxes and theologies. It is so easy to get mesmerized by the dust kicked up around us by our words and blogs and comments and arguments and before we know it we believe being a Christian is about proving ourselves and our beliefs as “right” over and against others.
All of this stinks of pride, and it’s repugnant to God (Prov. 16:5).
I am grateful for men like Billy Graham, who turned 95 yesterday, and for decades of ministry stuck to the simple, clear, clarion call of the gospel: Repent and believe in Jesus and be saved from your sins. The cross is where the blood of Jesus was made available to destroy the works of sin and death in us, and without that sacrifice and our trust in Jesus we will remain lost.
Every time I find myself wanting to argue about this or that, or chase some rabbit trail about secondary matters, or let someone on social media know what I think, I am doing well when I bite my tongue and remember to keep it simple, stupid. Anything pulling me away from the cross is nothing but a distraction from what really matters, and what will truly transform my life and the lives of others.
Lord, keep me simple and focused. Amen.