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Spiritual Professionals and ‘Seeking the Things Above’

August 19, 2007

Colossians 3.1 tells us to “seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” What kind of people come to mind when you think of people who “seek the things above”? Spiritual professionals? Priests, pastors, spiritual leaders? Desert-wandering divines? Perhaps you picture someone who seems invulnerable to ordinary struggles because of their great piety, people who seem to have everything together, who don’t struggle with sin or even suffering.

Just this week my wife and I were chatting with some friends, old and new, in our home. She suggested that we go around the room and share a story of redemption from our lives. We all shared stories of sin, failure, and grace. Spiritual professionals, Christians who appear to have everything together, don’t share those kinds of stories, but they do have them. Stories that reveal that they are, in fact, very unprofessional and very imperfect.

I recall talking to a couple shortly after the wife had a miscarriage. Concerned about how they were handling their loss, I inquired about how they were doing. The husband cavalierly remarked, “Oh, we are doing great; it’s just because our faith is so strong. Most people can’t really handle it like that.” Spiritual professionals don’t sin and they don’t suffer.

Or perhaps you think of people who segregate themselves from society. The people who are so spiritual that they don’t watch TV or movies, avoid 6th Street and only read Christian, Left Behind novels, wear Christian, Tommy Hell-fighter t-shirts, and only listen to Christian music? The kinds of Christians parodied in movies like Saved. Is this what it means to seek the things above? To have beaten sin and suffering and secluded yourself from society? Is God calling us to spiritual professionalism?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sam permalink
    August 21, 2007 12:42 am

    Isn’t spiritual professionalism neglecting the Great Commission? Love for your fellow human seems to be laid by the wayside when you start chasing a holiness defined by abstention from sinful deeds (sinful thoughts are one’s own judgment call–only you and God know).

    If you found the best gift in the world and never told your friends, what kind of person would you be?

  2. Sam permalink
    August 21, 2007 12:43 am

    oh, this assumes unsaved friends who you might have to meet on their terms…:) not every friend is immediately comfortable with their stereotype of Christianity! (and that’s the point, spiritual professionalism seems to neglect the suffering of many unbelievers in the world.)

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