We have a love problem…
Researcher George Barna performed a massive study on how American Christians’ lives are being transformed or not being transformed. The results revealed that only 1 in 10 Americans that had identified themselves as born again Christians have made any substantial changes to their spiritual practices and commitments. He identified ten “stops” on the Christian journey and found that only 11% made it past stop number 5, which he defined as “forgiven and active,” meaning they have accepted that Christ has forgiven them through his death on the cross and that they actively participate in a faith community. Stops 6-10, all steps of transformation, are practically unknown by the vast majority of professed American Christians. Moreover, only 18% of American Christians “claim that they are totally committed to investing themselves in spiritual development.”
What difference does it make that Christian intentionally commit to investing in themselves in spiritual development? Once you know you are saved and going to heaven, why taking any further steps? In a word, the answer is love. Barna’s 9th stop on the Christian journey is having a profound love of God and the 10th and final stop is having a profound love of people. According to his research, only .5% of professed Christians reach these two stops. Let that sink in for a moment. 99.5% of Christians do not have a profound love of God and people.
My friends, we have a profound love problem.
I think anyone with any sense at all can see that there is a huge lack of love between people in the year 2020. Our love for each other is highly limited to family, close friends, and people that are like us. Love gets lost in our differences- our politics, our races, our cultures, our histories, our theologies, etc.
I think the kind of love that Barna is referring to is the kind of love we see in Jesus Christ. It has no limits. It has no conditions. It only loves the person as they are and where they are. It is not a transaction, but a gift given in recognition of the gifts of love that have been given to us. Love ultimately comes from God, but we have received this love through family, friends, neighbors, strangers, professors, and our church families. It would be rare that someone received love from nobody and certainly, God’s love is given to all even if not recognized. God’s Kingdom spreads through loving.
So what’s the problem? What is keeping God’s love from flowing limitlessly through Christian lives?
The answer to the questions has been my life’s work, culminating in my dissertation, and now through the work, I am doing with Soul Metrics.
The problem is not with the God we know through Jesus Christ, whose love was displayed for all in his death on the cross. The problem is inside of us. We all have some level of love blockage in our hearts. Relationship wounds, resentments, griefs, betrayals, shames, our malformations and even a deeply seated belief that we are unworthy of love or others are unworthy to love, all contribute to the damming up of God’s love.
The work of the church and its workers is a work of spiritual plumbing. We help to unclog each other’s spiritual pipes. This is the work of spiritual health.
Like any kind of plumber, you need tools. That is why I developed the GPS Spiritual Inventory©, the only tool for conducting a Christ-centered data-driven spiritual health assessment
At Soul Metrics, we believe that spiritual health flows out of a deep and abiding relationship with a personal, loving, and forgiving God as known in Jesus Christ.
We believe that emotional health and empathy are essential to spiritual health.
We believe that spiritual health can be measured through an examination of our relationships with God, self, and others.
Soul Metrics is on a mission to transform spiritual health, enabling God’s restoring love to flow through all people. We want you to join us in our mission to flood the world with God’s love!
For more information about becoming a GPS Spiritual Inventory© Certified Practitioner email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are a few spots left in our October training cohort! We will be finalizing it in the next week.