Trite Christianity: Letting Jesus take the wheel


This is the second in an ongoing series about some of the vapid things we Christians say to one another or from the pulpit. I’m posting them as I hear them, so if you have your own suggestions, feel free to post them.

This one has a lot of variants: giving your life to Jesus, letting God take control, letting God be the driver/pilot/captain of your ship, etc.

I find it trite because it is completely devoid of any meaning.

Great. I’m letting Jesus take the wheel.

What exactly does that mean?

Does that mean walking through life trying hear some ethereal voice tell me to turn left? Does it mean living passively praying and making decisions based on some undefinable feeling? Does it mean shutting down my targeting computer before I take a shot on the Death Star’s main reactor port? (Obligatory nerd reference, sorry.)

But you get the point. The idea is that you should let go of making decisions, you should stop taking action, and just sit back and let God guide you. You should let the Spirit lead you. How you know it’s the Spirit causing you to feel like you should be doing one thing and not another or how you know that the voice in your head isn’t your own brain isn’t answered. You just do.

It’s subjective and it’s a call to passivity. It is meaningless advice.

Well, you should just check what your feelings/voice say to do against the Word of God.

Great, so we’re back to just read your bible more. Okay, what does the bible say about choosing one major in college vs. another? Does the bible say it’s a good time to take out a refi on my home loan? Which verse deals with whether or not I should take the job offer or stay with my current job?

Compare and contrast with one of Jesus’ calls to discipleship:

23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his [n]life will lose it, but whoever loses his [o]life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

It’s a call to a conscious action. It is a choice to follow after Jesus. And if you’re going to follow after Jesus, you need to look at His life and decide to mimic Him. Which while it does mean reading your bible, it means doing so with a specific goal in mind: how did Jesus of Nazareth live His life?

Next, it’s a call to the denial of selfishness, a daily call to devote oneself to a life of helping and caring for others. Find true live in giving your time and attention away to others.

And that’s it.

There is no answer about refis, no answer about which job is better, no answer about which major you should choose or who you should marry.

We are called to live in conscious awareness of the moment, of other people’s needs and feelings, and to make the choice to get involved, to deny our passivity, our inconvenience, and to respond to people how Jesus would respond.

And I think as long as you’re doing that, I think Jesus is okay with you “holding on to the wheel” and deciding whether or not you should be a doctor or a missionary or a fry cook.

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