I love books. I also truly enjoy and appreciate many Christian authors, both present and past, whose writings are very Christ-centered. I see nothing wrong with this. However, I seen many times where this has taken my focus and spiritual dependence away from the Holy Spirit. With that being said, my thought then is that surely many, if not all, of us experience times like that.
While reading in 1 Corinthians I came across a very well known statement where Paul is calling out the Church in Corinth regarding the division and quarrels among them. Here is what says to them:
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be nodivisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
It’s clear that Paul is addressing the fact that these Christians were “attaching” themselves to certain apostles as grounds for dividing against each other. When our spiritual dependence rests upon mere men instead of Christ Himself and the Holy Spirit then division is more likely to happen. The Spirit leads us into all truth and if we are in the Spirit and not in the flesh we will be of one mind.
I find it interesting that Paul is not only rebuking those say they follow mere men but he also rebukes those who say “I follow Christ.” Why would Paul rebuke those who state they are following Christ alone? Perhaps it was because the attitude in which they were stating it. They were using that as grounds for dividing against their brothers and sisters who are also in Christ. Their attitude in stating “I follow Christ” was arrogant and not loving. Just a side note but very interesting.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Our Need for Spiritual Understanding, we need the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us us in order to truly comprehend it and grow. This applies to what we read (both the Bible and books about the Bible and Jesus), teachings that we hear and subjects we’ve devoured in Bible studies. If we rely simply on what we read, even if what we read is completely Christ-centered and good, we will not truly grow. We cannot learn spiritual things from a fleshly approach.
I think we all need to check ourselves to see who we’re depending on in order to grow in Christ and learn Him. Books are a tremendous help to me but if those books and my ability (or lack thereof) to comprehend and understand them is all I have then I will fail. The same goes for speakers, preachers and the modern day pastor. We have to search Christ out together and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth. Christ is our source. Nothing and no one else.