Last night, I participated in a podcast with the Amateur Dads. These guys are attempting to help ordinary men grow into the spiritual leaders that they need to be and have to be for their families. I love their heart because they realize that simple and practical is often the best way to go.
One thing we talked about in the podcast was how often we hinder those we are trying to help by the way we offer advise. I call it the Philosophy of More.
Increasingly it seems, the solution to every problem in the modern age is more – more scripture reading, more church activity, more Christian reading, more Christian music, more exercise, more service. From the pulpit to our loved ones we are told to add more to our lives. As long as I am piling on more spiritual things than secular things than I must be doing something right. Yet, statistics concerning spiritual life and behavior among Christians show that we are often not doing things right.
We have heard the phrase “God does not give us anything that we can’t handle”. But we give ourselves plenty that we can’t handle and then we wonder why God did this to us?
We quickly realize that we cannot keep up the level of time and intensity needed to continue with all of the more we have added to our lives. What do we do next? We look for a quick fix. Some new methods to try, some new book to read, some new equipment or gadget to buy. We convince ourselves into thinking that these shortcuts are working and so we end up adding even more to our plate.
As an example, lets pretend we want to improve our golf swing. We get all of the latest books, we pay for lessons and videos, and we practice at the driving range. Unfortunately, we cannot sustain the intensity that we started with so we try the latest club, the latest ball, the latest swing doctor gadget to cut corners. By cutting corners we convince ourselves that we have become more efficient but all we have done is add more (stuff, time, complexity) to our lives and more is the last thing we need. More importantly, by taking short cuts we have undermined what really will improve our golf swing – thoughtful practice and patience. We as believers often approach our spiritual growth with the same faulty mentality. Thoughtful practice and patience along with the Holy Spirit are what will result in growth in our lives, not bowing down to the idol of more. Have you been guilty of the “more philosophy”? Do you often advise people with a “more solution”? In what ways could we reject the idea of more and develop effective ways of taking small steps to spiritual growth?