It used to be that a wide selection of choices applied to products and services only, but not anymore. In our present day culture, religion is also on the shelf, able to claim and adapt as needed. As I saw it fittingly phrased on a Facebook profile, “mix and match” is the religion of choice, a spirituality that is custom made for you.
You may not know too many people that claim to believe in “mix and match” but in actuality, this theology has conquered the hearts and mindsets of many unassuming Americans, both Christians and non-Christians. “Mix and match” flaunts the acceptance of all beliefs. Everything is permissible. It advertises synergy of religious ideas, combining the best of it all, and discarding aspects of doctrine that are difficult or offensive. Take some of this and some of that and ta-da you have religion on your terms.
“Mix and match,” so attractive and carefree in nature, generates such popularity that it is even mistaken for increased interest in spirituality. However, it is a false sense of spirituality; it does not lead its followers to belief in Jesus Christ. As I see it, spirituality in our culture is a quest for personal fulfillment, not a quest to know God. Rather than submitting before God’s authority, spirituality today encourages soul seeking and pursuit of inner peace. Instead of attending the church, people are signing up for yoga classes and ascribing to detoxification diets. Doctrine is old-fashioned, strict and unreasonable. God’s way is too rigid, too uncompromising and too many Americans are simply not impressed by these features of the product.
I can understand why people feel this way; after all, it is mankind’s own selfish nature to rebel against God’s way, hence the need for salvation through Christ. “Mix and match” is a manifestation of the flesh that has unfortunately been adopted by the world. For that reason it is no longer just a craving for independence from God, it is everyone’s craving, and the world says it is OK to indulge. Now every person can feel good about telling God that they are in control, not Him, and that they determine what truth is.
So where does this self-indulgent religion leave Christians? The answer: in a very difficult position. As believers of the Gospel, Christians who strongly declare their faith are often labeled intolerant in our politically correct world. As I share my faith with others I myself begin to worry maybe I am being rude or perhaps religion is a personal affair, and soon I decide that it is just too hard to share at all.
Beware of such attitudes. If Christians can be swayed to abandon their obedience to God based on the difficulty of the calling, then they too have become their own spiritual authorities; their own breed of “mix and matchers”. I have seen this enacted in many ways, in my own life and in the lives of others. The great commission commands followers of Jesus to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), yet I know many of my friends that have never told anyone about their belief in Jesus. In Romans 12:2, Paul warns us not to be conformed by the world, but I have been to bible study hangouts where movies that glorify sex and money were watched.
I shudder to think the outcome if Jesus had applied His own “mix and match” theology. God had many hardships for His Son to endure on this earth, and had Jesus discarded His fate to die on a cross, the payment for our sins would not have been met. Instead, Jesus showed us that to be a follower of Christ, we lay down our lives.
There is nothing more contradictory than the calling of a Christian and a subscriber to “mix and match”. Will we cheat ourselves from knowing God because we have been fooled by our own selfishness?
“You felt secure in your wickedness and said, ‘No one sees me,’
Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you;
For you have said in your heart, ‘I am and there is no one besides me.’” –Isaiah 47:10