“The way I connect with God is the best and holiest way and if you don’t relate with me you’re obviously less spiritual and less holy than me.” This is a far too common and dangerous line of thought. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us have been guilty of thinking this at one time in our walk.
The dangerous part of this way of thinking is when we come to accept this line of reasoning as normal and acceptable. This happens most frequently when larger groups of people who connect to God in similar ways congregate together. Because everyone in the group is similar, they use each other as a gauge to tell themselves just how righteous and holy they are.
When others come into this group who don’t connect to God in the same ways, they are told there is something wrong with them. They just have to try harder and mimic the larger group and they will find spiritual fulfillment there. Those who are different are encouraged to become more like the group, not draw closer to God.
When we learn to accept God has created each of us differently and has wired each of us in a unique way to bring Him worship, we can break this harmful way of thinking. We can disciple individuals and encourage them to pursue God in the ways God has wired them to pursue Him. Each of us can connect to God in a passionate and vibrant way without feeling guilty we don’t conform to the larger group.
Gary Thomas identifies 9 different temperaments, or pathways, in which people find connection to God. As we learn more about ourselves and others we can pursue Christ in freedom and liberty and extend grace and acceptance to those unlike us. Every church is filled with a diverse group of people. Why should our worship be ‘one size fits all’?
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)