How we view ourselves matters supremely. How we picture our walk with Christ as his followers — as his people, his community and family of faith — frames the context of our goals and determines the focus of our daily lives as well as the fabric of our fellowship.

As I was pondering these two truths, a powerful image in the form of a question flooded my mind: "Why do we try to defend our old fortresses when we are actually on a journey to a better home?"

To put it a bit differently, "Why are we so worried about defending our old positions when we are always on the move toward God's will for us?"

As I shared this with a group trying to find ways to better connect with the emerging post-modern culture, an older and wiser brother in Christ, an English professor who works with the post-modern culture, chimed in. "I remind my Sunday morning Bible class of older adults that we are constantly saying we are finding new insights into Scriptures we have read many times. If this is true of us, then why are we so resistant to the new insights that younger folks find in the Scriptures?"

So much of our approach to faith depends on our perception of what the goal of our faith is.

Are we on a journey or are we defending the fort? It can't be both. You can't defend the fort when you are caravanning to a new and better home (Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14)!

If we are daily being conformed to be more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18), then how can we be overly critical of those who find themselves at different points in their own journey?

My own church family is made up of newborns and people over 100 years old. Our journeys are different. The language of hearts is different. The music imprinted in our DNA is different. The primary modes of communication are different. The way we comprehend truth is different. (See for some examples of why this is true.) But, our destination and our Father and our Lord are the same. So rather than being so critical of others who are not where we are, why not pray for their journey to our common destination? Rather than trying to defend the fortresses we left behind to pursue our higher and heavenly goal, why not encourage other caravaners along the way to press on toward that goal?

Does this mean we give up on core values or God's revealed truth? No! But it does mean we take seriously Jesus' call to look for fruit rather than judging motives. It does mean that we value those who sojourn with us even if they are taking different routes through the wilderness. It does mean that we welcome folks into our caravan who are at different points in the journey (Romans 14:1;  Romans 15:7). It does mean that we focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3) and the upward call of God rather than the flawed human embodiments of our Savior we call churches.

The apostle Paul put it this way:

I don't mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That's what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason that he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven.
And all of us who have grown to be spiritually mature should think this way too.
(Philippians 3:12-15 ERV)

How can we be overly critical of those who find themselves at different points in the journey?

So often, we end up getting defensive about our biblical positions on many matters that are less than central and core to the Christian faith. The biggest challenge is for us to remain open minded about others at different stages of the journey than the place where we find ourselves.

How do we learn to value the faith journey of others and not be critical of the positions they currently hold?
Why do you think we have a tendency to be critical of others' views on certain issues when we admit that we are constantly growing and learning new things biblically every time we study Scripture?
How do we determine the trajectory of others' faith rather than judging them on the current position?

I'd love to hear your take on all of this on my blog: