Your Purity & Piety Will Get You Nowhere (TAW043)

Episode 043 – Your Purity & Piety Will Get You Nowhere

You want to grow as a person. You want a sense of intimate connection with the Divine. You believe or suspect that the way of Jesus has something to say about this. That’s why you’re here. That’s why I write.

But in order to grow in the way of Jesus, we have to unpack some ideas we have about the spiritual life, so we can clear away some of the garbage that’s getting in our way. One obstacle to growing spiritually is the picture we have in our minds about what a really spiritual person looks like. Yea. Our expectation of spirituality can be an obstacle to encountering Jesus.

Show Notes

  • Do you have either of these ideas internalized?
    • “If we want to know and experience God, we must deal with sin in our lives. Intimacy with God and spiritual growth is tied to our purity.”
    • “If we want to know and experience God, we have to really, really want it and demonstrate commitment through an investment of time and effort. Intimacy with God and spiritual growth is tied to our piety.”
    • If you’re not sure, try this quick test. What is your immediate gut response to the question, “How are you doing spiritually?” If your answer is tied to dealing with sin or spending more time in spiritual practice, then one of these ideas has taken root in your heart.
    • We often compare ourselves to an imaginary ideal holy person in our minds. Whatever this holy person looks like will shape how we feel about ourselves and what we think we need to do to have an encounter with God.
  • Consider a different narrative about encounter with God:
    • Reflect on the story of Jacob. (Read it for yourself in Genesis 32)
    • Jacob encounters God while wrestling in the dark. He doesn’t recognize God. He didn’t go into the dark to be spiritual. He was at the end of his rope. Do we feel like God isn’t present in our lives because we are expecting God’s presence to be something we recognize?
    • Jacob has to tell the truth about himself. The stranger asked for Jacob’s name. In his culture a person’s name represented their character. Jacob’s name was “Heal Grabber,” a conniver, a cheater, a betrayer. God gave him a new name and a new story, but before that he had to admit the truth of who he was. Do we miss God’s presence because we are clinging to justifications and lies about who we are?
    • Jacob wouldn’t let go. Even though he had lost the fight, he would not let go until he received a blessing. Do we sometimes feel like God isn’t present because after we have prayed a little while, we don’t feel like we’ve gotten an answer or a sense of God’s presence, and we give up?

You can also watch and share the video version on Youtube.


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