According to the dictionary, one of the definitions of the word “default” is, “a selection made usually automatically or without active consideration due to lack of a viable alternative.” For our purposes today, I’d like to talk about our “default” mindset, spiritually. To help us understand what this means, let’s ask a few questions of ourselves:
- - What is our immediate response/reaction towards sin in others? What about sin in our own life?
- - Are we sympathetic towards those who are caught in sin, or are we judgmental?
- - Are there certain sins/sinners that we are “tougher” on than others?
- - When a spiritual “issue” arises, what happens in our mind/heart? Do we become confrontational, thoughtful, humble, angry, frightened, or do we avoid it altogether?
In other words, do we find ourselves “resetting” ourselves to a specific spiritual mindset, regardless of how many opportunities we may have to grow beyond that mindset?
For example, a person whose default mindset is to be judgmental might hear a lesson or a class that reminds them about God’s grace and it may affect them deeply; it could even cause them to change the way that they think about their approach towards their faith and towards others who might be struggling with sin…until they “reset.”
Another person’s default mindset might be non-confrontational, by nature, until they hear a powerful lesson on the importance of dealing with sin or church discipline. This lesson might cause a temporary change of heart…until they “reset.”
What causes this? Here are some suggestions, some of which are simply excuses, and others that cut more to the “heart” of the problem:
- - Perhaps we were “brought up” in a certain way, and our desire to remain faithful to that upbringing (and to the people we associate with it) can be a powerful force that pushes us back to our default mindset. We don’t want “so-and-so” to think that we’ve become “soft,” “liberal,” “conservative,” or “one of THOSE people,” so we reset ourselves back to the mindset that fits into that mold.
- - Maybe we are afraid of real spiritual growth, so we stay in our “comfort zone,” where we know the “rules” and we can be “religious” without ever really having to experience the pains of true growth.
- - Actually, we are deceiving ourselves into thinking that our “version” of Christianity is going to be acceptable to God. We have moments, perhaps even “seasons” when we are shaken out of our default mindset, but we always return to it. We know – deep down – that this is unacceptable to God, but our comfort is more important to us than obedience to God.
- - In reality, we are worshiping the idol of “self-made religion”, and we have simply called it something else.
For whatever the reasons may be, we must be careful and we must guard ourselves against the mindsets that prevent us from growing, spiritually. Spiritual growth is not an option for the faithful child of God (Eph. 4:15-16; Heb. 5:12-14; I Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; etc.); it is a requirement.
Please don’t misunderstand. There are some things that we need to DECIDE on, and there are things that we NEVER need to compromise on (sound teaching, the authority of Scripture, etc.), but when it comes to other things: our attitude, our treatment of others, and our understanding and application of the “whole counsel” of God, we will be in a constant state of uncomfortable growth until we are called from this life!
By the very definition of the word “default,” if we find ourselves in this position, it means that we probably aren’t “actively considering” everything. As Christians, we DO have a “viable alternative” to these limited perspectives/approaches, don’t we? We might need to consider that we should “become all things to all people,” (I Cor. 9:22) and that we need to be careful to “walk in wisdom toward outsiders…so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Col. 4:5-6) These are not only “viable alternatives,” they are commands of God and examples from some of His most faithful servants!
Personally, I am in a constant state of painful and uncomfortable “inner dialogue” with myself when it comes to my own faith. My conscience is sensitive, easily provoked, and annoyingly persistent when it comes to these issues; which, according to several Scriptures found in God’s Word - 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 11:28; 10:12; Rom. 12:3; Phil. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:7; etc. - is exactly the way it should be. If this discomfort ever stops, I may have formed a “default” mindset!
What is YOUR default spiritual mindset? Let’s all pray that our “default mindset” will be to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” (2 Pet. 3:18) which is a lifelong pursuit!