One of the basic truths that we need to remember is that everyone is going through a process of spiritual formation.
A big influence in spiritual formation is the information that we consume and what our minds think about. This is why the New Testament emphasizes our mind and thoughts.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Phillippians 4:8; NLT)Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. (Colossians 3:1-2; NLT)
Our minds play a major role in our discipleship. This is why we need to be intentional about what our minds think about.
We have access to a vast amount of information. All of our devices are designed as media consumption devices.
As we consume media and as that information directs our thoughts and emotions, our spirits are being formed.
This is the reason the world feels so divided now. Everything in life has become political.
Politics deals with the best way to run the world. We come to believe that our side has the best way to run the world and the opposite side wants to destroy our way of life.
Making everything political has led us to live with fear and declaring everyone who doesn't agree with us as our enemy.
In this environment, imagine what happens when the pastor says something that you don’t agree with?
Too often the pastor becomes the enemy. You can convince yourself that he has, at the very least, been influenced by the enemy, if not entirely in their camp.
If you are able to see the pastor as an enemy, who is leading the church astray, leaving that Christian community behind is an easy thing to do.
The sad reality is that many Christians in the United States are being discipled, not in the way of Jesus, but in the way of partisan politics. It is hard to breakthrough this partisan barrier because people have convinced themselves that their politics are the politics of Jesus.
Instead of consuming and meditating on cable news, podcasts, Facebook, and Twitter, we need to read and meditate on the Bible.
If we are going to be discipled in the way of Jesus, then we need to let Scripture challenge us in all the different areas of our lives.
We can't allow our partisan political culture to be the greatest influence in spiritual formation. If we do, then we will end up looking just like the world.
That is not what God wants from our lives.