Our Disappointment with God

Why our expectation of spiritual intimacy with the Divine so often fails to match the reality.

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Overview

When John Koessler was a kid, he badly wanted a toy sub that was powered by baking soda. Unfortunately, the young Koessler discovered the difference between reality and the expectations that marketing hype often engender. “A wave of disappointment washed over me,” Koessler writes, “and I realized that I had wasted my savings on a cheap plastic toy.”

Yet as a mature Christian, Koessler sees the same kind of dynamic at work in the Christian life—overpromising and under-delivering our “personal relationship with God,” a phrase nowhere found in the Bible. He writes, “The church is not immune from this way of thinking. American popular theology combines the innate optimism of humanism with the work ethic of Pelagianism, resulting in a toxic brew of narcissistic spirituality at once pragmatic and insipidly positive. This is Christianity without scars, and with all the sharp edges of our experience smoothed over.”

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 18:18–20; 28:18–20; John 20:10–29; Acts 1:4–11; Ephesians 4:20–32; Hebrews 11:13–16

LEADER'S GUIDE

    • Identify the Current Issue

    • Discover the Eternal Principles

Teaching point one: Jesus Christ promises to be with us.
Teaching point two: Jesus has departed physically but has left us the Holy Spirit to do his work.
Teaching point three: Jesus blesses us when we believe without seeing.
Teaching point four: We must wait for the ultimate fulfillment of our longings.
Teaching point five: We know Christ in some sense by how we live.
    • Apply Your Findings

    • Additional Articles

ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY

    • "Disappointed with Intimacy," by John Koessler

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