Deconstruction has become popular in the Christian realm and, sadly, many have fallen away because of it. This scares the rest of us, making us think that the whole thing is bad. And to an extent, that may be true if your intentions are to depart from faith, anyway.
Many Christians try to deconstruct through the perspective of the world instead of through God’s lens and the Gospel. This means they go by what the world offers. This doesn’t always line up with God’s Word, resulting in a “Jesus-dropout” (a term I recently heard!).
- According to Google’s definition, deconstruction is an approach to understanding the relationship between text and meaning.
- Another definition is a way of understanding how something was created, breaking something down into smaller parts; not demolition, but breaking down or analyzing something to discover its true significance.
And again, in my terms, deconstruction is a breaking down of one’s beliefs to understand the why behind their faith in something or someone. You deconstruct what got built up from your past to your current state.
But to deconstruct through God’s lens, you need to dig deep into God’s heart and character, study Christianity throughout history, and the Bible through historical and cultural context, not just popular sermons. You’ve got to do your research and take apart your belief system to get to the truth!
You must also question yourself.
What’s your heart motive and approach? Were you offended or curious about your Christian roots? Are you opposing someone or something in the faith, or the Bible, because you don’t agree or because it makes little sense? Are you seeking truth or to be right? What’s your end-goal? To deepen your relationship with God or turn away, anyway?
In this post, I’ll share some interesting takeaways I had from my Bible group, called Go Night. We talked about deconstruction and how to stand firm in faith when everyone else (primarily Christians) seems to fall away. You must remain:
- In the fear of the Lord (reverence and awe)
- In trust of the Holy Spirit for revelation of truth
- In godly community
- Open-minded and ready to change
I can’t emphasize enough on how the very definitions of deconstruction validate what I’m trying to say. So, without further ado, here’s my take on standing firm in faith when everyone else seems to fall away.
Remain in the fear of the Lord
I bring this up first because it’s not a hot topic. The word fear already has a negative connotation, and the phrase, the fear of God, can easily be the thing that turns many away from faith. But if you examine the Hebrew language and the context of these words in scripture, you’ll find that there are layers of meanings to this phrase.
It doesn’t mean to be afraid of Him like people are of clowns, spiders, or the dark, but to have a reverent fear like an obedient child does to his loving parents. An obedient child knows his/her boundaries, but still has the freedom to question, wonder, and imagine. The reverent fear keeps him/her in obedience and abidance to the household rules. Other examples include an employee with management or company leaders or even how you abide by traffic laws when you drive your car. There’s reverence and awareness to go by the rules because you know it’s for your benefit, even safety.
When you deconstruct, remaining in the fear of the Lord means to be reverent and aware of God and His presence in your life. Lois Tverberg writes about its meaning in her blog, saying, the “fear of the Lord” [in these passages] is an awe-filled love of God that allows us to grow in intimate knowledge of him. It teaches us how to live and reassures us of God’s power and guidance. It gives us a reverence of his will that keeps us from getting caught in sins that will destroy our relationships and lives.
Just pause and read that again. I also encourage you to read her post on this topic.
As you study and research, you’ll get an understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing with the Holy Spirit’s help. The fear of the Lord will help you stay aware of who God is and His presence, and it will increase your reverence to His will.
Remain in trust of the Holy Spirit
Anyone who believes in God has Him. He’s your guarantee and gift, post-salvation. If you don’t trust Him to lead and guide you, it’ll be a lot easier to fall away from faith because you’re now trusting in someone or something else.
As I mentioned earlier, people often try to deconstruct through the perspective of the world, but the thing is, we live in a broken world. The world will offer you what it can, and it will never be wholesome. By trusting the Holy Spirit, you open your heart to understand biblical truth versus traditional beliefs.
John chapters 14-17 talk about the role and the benefit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In chapter 15, Jesus goes as far as saying, abide in me and I in you, and that, when the Helper comes…the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. This means that the Holy Spirit will always point us back to Jesus.
A couple of years ago, I really started questioning why we (Christians) do things the way we do them. It boggled my mind how “lifelong” Christians were living as if they didn’t know God. Transformation seemed seldom, even unreal at some points. And so, as I read the Word more and dive deep into the Jewish religion and culture, the Holy Spirit helped me understand, time and time again, that if it didn’t point to Jesus, it wasn’t from Him. And that’s what helped me trust in Him more.
It’s essential to remain in trust of the Holy Spirit for all truth and revelation. Take some time to read through John 14-17 to see how the Holy Spirit helps us daily.
Remain in godly community
Understand that people will not always see eye to eye and agree with you.
The church is the Bride of Christ, but it doesn’t mean she’s perfect. She’s filled with many, many, many broken people with pasts, baggage, and beliefs, and often people don’t know that they’re in the wrong. This doesn’t mean the entire church is. It just means the people in it can be.
To confide in trustworthy people means to have people in your corner who are open-minded, available, and willing to get in the dirt with you to discuss topics. It’s not about being right or wrong but pursuing truth that we haven’t reached yet.
For example, the Bible night I’ve been hosting is a safe place for open discussions about what we agree and disagree on. When deconstruction came, we got to see many angles about it. We came to these 5 conclusions and agreed that if the intention is pure before God and you’re doing it with God, you will not fall away because you have the Holy Spirit and people that are after God’s heart in your corner.
When people are questioning and having a hard time believing, some of the best conversations can happen! (Granted, it can also cause dissension, but that’s why the next point will be helpful).
This brings me back to an earlier thought: are you seeking to oppose or seeking to understand? Because when you dig deep to understand what you currently believe in, you must be available to learn. If you’re not… well, that won’t be helpful. If you’re relying on your own opinions, self-indulgence, and life-program then you’re just like the waves disturbed by wind. Easily turned and agitated.
The thing is–questioning is ok.
It’s what helps us sharpen our understanding. It clarifies the why and how to your what. We grew up in an era where we wanted to be told who we are (personality tests), what to do (instruction manuals for absolutely everything), where to go (GPS’s), and the why for all of those. This is a problem because it doesn’t let anyone speak for themselves. I’m not saying any of these are necessarily bad, just that, it’s okay to step out of the lines to seek to understand.
I know, that seems like it goes against deconstructing. But if you, as a Christian, want to deconstruct your beliefs, you must do it with an open mind and a willingness to change your mind if necessary.
With Google’s definition in mind, people fall away from Jesus because they often misunderstand the Bible and its true context. They try to look at Truth through a worldly perspective: through their reasonings, emotions, opinions, personal beliefs, etc. and this leads to offense, confusion, and even disinterest. Instead of trying to understand what it’s saying, they interpret it on their own terms.
If you read the Bible outside of context, you’ll get confused, mad, and probably irritated. That’s why and how many people fall away and why many are skeptical. They see something that makes little sense, contradicting verses, and messages, and don’t want to go any further. Through offense, criticism, and lack of understanding, they turn their backside to God and say; I tried.
But God is more than okay with us discovering and learning about Him, especially outside of our “Christianese” practices. However, it must always come back to the simple Gospel, bring you closer in your relationship with Him, and strengthen your faith. Ultimately, your intentions and heart motives matter, because that will reveal how strong or how fickle your faith is.
The goal is to know truth. And what better way than with the fear of the Lord, trusting the Holy Spirit, godly community, and being open-minded.
I hope this was helpful!