Interpreting Spiritual Jargon

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, and as they talked about God all that was going through your head was, “What? Wait, what? What does that mean?”, but in that moment all you knew to do was respond with head nods and, “Wow. Cool. Interesting.”? I can say I have. I can also say I have been the one confusing others with my spiritual jargon.

I live in a deeply religious city. There are some 250+ churches and the atheists that live in my city believe in God and have quiet times. It is not uncommon for your checkout guy/gal, wherever you are, to “God bless you”. Whereas in the NW or NE to be a Christian is to be a minority, to be a non-Christian in my city is to be the odd one out. “Wait, you don’t go to church? Wait, you don’t call yourself a Christian?” That is my city.

It is also not uncommon to engage in a conversation with someone about God and come out wondering what you actually talked about. There are times I ask people very normal questions such as, “How did you end up with your job?” or “How did ya’ll start dating and get married?” and I receive answers with a lot of words/phrases used such as, “God,” “God’s will,” “the Holy Spirit,” and “God told me,” but I still have no inclination as to the answer to my question. Ever been in that situation?

I’m just a normal guy wondering how you ended up working at Starbucks, and somehow you made me start thinking about the rapture. What just happened?

So why am I writing this post? I want to free you from thinking that you need to justify every decision you make by making God the one solely responsible. I want to free you from thinking your life needs to be explained away as a spiritual mystery. If you are in Christ, your life is already a miracle. Ephesians 2 makes that clear. “…you were dead in the trespasses and sins…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” (Eph. 2:1-5). You are a walking miracle, in Christ.

You don’t need every aspect of your life to be explained away in such a spiritual manner that no one understands what you are saying, though they might nod as though they do. You don’t need to justify choosing the job you did by saying, “God told me…” You can simply say, “I wanted to work there. The pay is great (or good, or what I needed, or whatever). I can glorify Jesus there. Therefore, I accepted the offer to work there. Next question.”

You don’t need to justify asking that girl on a date with, “I prayed and fasted and God told me to ask her out.” And you better not justify breaking up with him, or her, by saying, “God told me to.” It is just fine to say, “She is really good looking. She loves Jesus. I am ready to date and get married, therefore I asked her out on a date.” It is just fine to say, “I didn’t want to take our relationship further, so I broke it off with him.”

Don’t be so spiritual that even the writers of the New Testament would be confused when talking with you. In Christ, you’re free.


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