16 years ago today, I wrote this in my journal:
I’ve read several books and have discovered that I really like Andrew Murray and Francis Schaeffer. I also got a couple of D.L. Moody books and a lot by C.S. Lewis. Some of these are a bit advanced for me, but I like a challenge. I’ve been focusing more on spiritual growth books. I need them. I can very easily forget how infinitely wonderful and important the Lord is to me and I want Him to be the focus of my life.
I talked to Kyle about God again, but he didn’t show any signs of thinking so I’ll just pray for him. And I guess that’s it. I could say more about how horrible Y2K will be and how much preparing we have to do, but you already know more about that than I do so, later!
— November 19th, 1998
Dear Former Self,
I would say that reading Christian books is better than reading no books, but that’s debatable. Reading difficult books will improve your reading comprehension, but the more you fill your head with the ramblings of religious leaders, the more your view of the world will be restricted by the views of men who don’t understand the world.
Why focus on spiritual growth books? Because you feel inadequate? Because you feel guilty for all the wrongs you’ve committed? Becoming more “spiritual” won’t help you. The problem with spiritual growth is that it’s an impossible task. There is no clear definition of spirituality. It is a vague, subjective idea that has something to do with getting more in tune with God.
But no matter how spiritual you get, you will always fall short. If God is infinite, there is no way you can ever fully understand or appreciate him, so there will always be room for improvement. That means you will continue to feel inadequate and guilty. As it says in the Bible, even your most righteous acts are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). How demeaning.
And considering that you are trying to become more spiritual, it is amusing that in the next paragraph you insult a long time friend just because he didn’t immediately agree with you. His refusal to accept your newfound religious beliefs doesn’t mean he isn’t thinking. In fact, it indicates that he is thinking. It takes more thought to withhold belief until there is evidence than it does to simply start believing when there is no evidence.
All I will say about Y2K is that you are right, I know much more about that than you do.
— Matt, November 19th, 2014
This is part of an ongoing series called Letters to My Former Self.
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