The label seeker is often used to describe those who are seeking spiritual enlightenment. In the Christian community, a seeker is often thought of as someone seeking an understanding of Christianity, or seeking a better understanding of God and His word. However, seekers may not always be what they seem.
In some ways we are all seekers. At least, we should all be seekers to some degree. We should be seeking a closer relationship with God, or a greater understanding of His word. We should be seeking deeper understanding of our role in His plan, and our responsibilities as Christians.
Seekers come in all shapes and sizes. They come in all ages, all backgrounds and all occupations. The one thing they have in common is questions. Seekers have questions, and they are looking for answers. Sometimes they are hoping the answers they seek will offer new information. Other times, they are hoping for validation.
Seekers may also be looking for something else, a shield. Wanting a shield is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is biblical. Psalm 3:3 says, “But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” (NIV), and Ephesians 6:11 states “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”(NIV)
The problem of course is why and how one wields the shield. Many seekers are not looking for something to shield them from the evil in the world. They are looking for something to hide behind. Something that will allow them to avoid taking the next step in their Christian walk, regardless of where they are in their walk.
It is easy to understand why the new believer or the unchurched would fall into this category. They may be legitimately seeking, or at least exploring the idea of, a relationship with God. They have questions, and they may have many negative impressions to overcome.
Every one of them has known someone who claimed to be a Christian, yet lived a life that was far from Christ like. Every one of them has been told that more wars have been fought for religious reasons than for any other cause. Every one of them has been taught the bible is a work of fiction, and anyone who believes the earth was created is a moron. Is it any wonder many of their questions are loaded in some way.
Think of the questions people have asked you about your faith. Has anyone ever asked, “Do you really believe Christians are the only people going to heaven?” Or, have you been asked, “Do you really believe God created the world in six days?” Better yet, have you been asked, “Why would a loving God let bad things happen in the world?”
These can seem like relatively straightforward questions. People will wonder about the afterlife. People will wonder if Christianity is the only way to salvation. People will wonder how you can believe a book that tells you a creation story that science says is a fairy tale. People will wonder about the concept of bad things happening to good people and why tragic incidents happen. However, each of these questions is loaded in some way.
In many cases, the person asking the question is not looking for a real answer. He or she is looking for an answer that fits their needs. One that will shield them from the emptiness they feel or the need they do not want to address. For example, agreeing that Christ is the one path to salvation will allow the questioner to hide behind their sense of fairness. It is not fair for someone to lead a good life, do good works and lose salvation because they were not a Christian. Other rationales can be used to ignore or deflect the answers to the other questions.
This phenomenon is not limited to unbelievers or new believers. Many people who attend church regularly and profess to be Christians fall into this category. They ask loaded questions of their own that can be used to shield them from being called more fully into their walk. I know, because I have asked these questions myself, and for just that reason.
Questions such as, “How can they expect me to give more time to the church?” Or, “Why do I need to be part of a small group or bible class?” Or even, “How can they expect me to take time off for a mission trip?” Questions such as these are not usually asked looking for information. They are asked to find allies in one’s desire to avoid moving further along one’s walk with Christ. Unfortunately, allies are often easy to find, and once one is found, he or she becomes the shield to deflect guilt and misgivings.
Taking the next step in one’s walk can always be uncomfortable. The new believer or non believer is worried that they are making a mistake or giving up a life they find comfortable at the moment. The more advanced believer is often afraid of what God will ask him to do. In either case, the questioner may be looking for a shield to help deflect the calling he or she feels.
Are you a seeker? Are you trying to take the first step into a walk with Christ? Are you trying to take the next step on the path you’ve traveled for years?
Are you asking questions? If you are, are you seeking knowledge or a shield?
© S. E. Jackson, 2012