Keep on Seeking 

God is not going to leave you hanging if you long to see Jesus, if you seek after Him in faith. Keep seeking! Keep pursuing! Keep searching the Scriptures and you will see Jesus! Because the one who went to the cross for you will not abandon you in your search. The one who rose again will not forget you.

In recent years, the notion of faith deconstruction has garnered much attention on social media and other digital spaces. The idea of deconstruction has been around for the better part of the last decade. As a pastor on a secular college campus, I typically encounter deconstruction in students who are wrestling with questions like, “Is my faith true? Is the Bible trustworthy? Is the church’s teaching on this really God’s truth or just a tool to control people?” 

The question is, what role can deconstruction play for believers? Is there any place for it within the church, or is it only a faith-destroying tool of the enemy that seeks to devour God’s people? What if you are already in the midst of your deconstruction journey and you’re not sure where to turn? 

Confusion or Correction? 

If you are in the midst of a period of deconstruction, you have probably encountered many in the church who warn against deconstructing your faith. In many cases, I think they are right to do so. Combined with the current polarizing landscape of the internet and the capitalist tendency to turn every crisis into an opportunity for profit, the popularity of deconstruction has cultivated a climate of fear, uncertainty, and skepticism that is unfruitful for the further growth and exploration of one’s faith.  

Such a climate leaves people feeling like sheep without a shepherd, forcing people to discern truth from error amidst countless competing agendas. Such an environment seems less concerned with correction and more concerned with cultivating confusion and cynicism. There are, to be sure, wolves seeking to devour the faithful under the guise of deconstruction.  

At the same time, the vast majority of people I have encountered who are engaged in some kind of deconstruction are not such wolves. They are people who are genuinely questioning and seeking after the truth. If you are already in the midst of deconstruction, criticisms of this process sound like people telling you to embrace a blind faith that does not think deeply or ask hard questions. It feels like someone is simply dismissing the crisis in which you find yourself. However, engaging in deconstruction with no clear end in mind is a dangerous game bound to leave you with little more than confusion and uncertainty. 

When rightly understood, the process of deconstruction need not be inherently harmful. Many of us have inherited beliefs about God and the Bible that are not faithful to the teaching delivered once and for all to God’s people. For example, what was Martin Luther doing as he read through the book of Romans, began reading Augustine’s writings on sin and grace, and discovered that we are saved by faith alone apart from works? Was he not deconstructing a damaged system he had inherited? The hallmark Reformation teaching that we are made holy and blameless before God through faith in Jesus Christ would not have been possible without first tearing down what was broken so that the church could be brought back to something far more beautiful. 

The pursuit of maturity in faith demands that we “test everything” in order that we might learn to “hold fast to what is good” (1 Thess 5:21). This often requires the humility to admit that our human beliefs about God, the world, and the truth of Scripture have at times been wrong or were sometimes built on human-designed faulty premises and assumptions. In this way, deconstruction can be a matter of reproving what is faulty so that we might discover the truth. And, as Proverbs 12:1 reminds us, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” A stubborn unwillingness to test our beliefs for the purpose of correction is just stupid.  

Hey, the Bible said it, not me. 

What Are You Seeking? 

If it seems like our options are simply stubbornness or confusion, perhaps the essential question for us should not be about whether or not we engage in some kind of deconstruction. Perhaps a better question is ultimately, “What are you seeking? 

Is your end goal to simply rip your faith to shreds until there is nothing left to hold onto? Or is your goal to pursue Jesus more faithfully in the confidence that what you cling to is faithful to His Word and promises? Pulling apart the beliefs we have inherited in order to seek reproof and discern truth from error is very different than pulling them apart with no end in mind. In almost every circumstance, the aim of deconstruction will determine its outcome. So it’s important to know the intended goal before beginning this work. 

One of my favorite stories in all of Scripture takes place on the first Easter. In the morning, the Gospel writers tell us that Mary Magdalene and several other women went to Jesus’ tomb that morning to prepare His body with spices. But when they arrived at the tomb, they didn’t find the body and the stone in front of the tomb was rolled away. Given the standard assumption that dead people stay dead, Mary concluded that someone has stolen Jesus’ body, so she ran to tell His disciples. Two of Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John, followed her back to the tomb, and when they couldn’t find Jesus’ body, they immediately went home, disheartened and unsure of what to make of the whole situation. 

But not Mary. She just kept seeking. She continued searching, until she bumped into someone she thought was the gardener, and asked Him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away” (John 20:15). It was at this point that she discovered who she was really talking to, when the gardener responded with her name, “Mary.” She immediately recognized Him, exclaiming the affectionate title for her teacher, “Rabboni!” 

Commenting on Mary’s posture, the 6th Century Bishop of Rome, Gregory the Great wrote, “We must consider this woman’s state of mind whose great force of love inflamed her. When even the disciples departed from the sepulcher, she did not depart. She looked for him whom she had not found…. But it is not enough for a lover to have looked once, because the force of love intensifies the effort of the search. She looked for him a first time and found nothing. She persevered in seeking, and that is why she found him.” 

When she couldn’t find Him, when she was overwhelmed by despair, when she didn’t know where to turn, what did Mary do? She just kept seeking Jesus. 

Through each of our daily walks of certainty and doubt, we are ultimately called to do the same. Even those who deconstruct their faith can still keep their eyes fixed on the promise of the cross. 

Seek Until You See Him 

If you’re ready to give up the search, I can almost see why. Our broken world gives us plenty of reasons not to believe—countless reasons to be cynical about God, religion, the church, or claims of resurrection.  

But, we also don’t have to settle for deconstructing our way to confusion and uncertainty. The invitation of the good news of Jesus’ resurrection is to turn toward the promise of Love in the face of all these things, just like Mary did. 

When His people were exiled in Babylon, God said to them through the prophet Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).  

God is not going to leave you hanging if you long to see Jesus, if you seek after Him in faith. Keep seeking! Keep pursuing! Keep searching the Scriptures and you will see Jesus! Because the one who went to the cross for you will not abandon you in your search. The one who rose again will not forget you. 

You will find Him, and one day you will see Him, just like Mary did. 

So, keep on seeking.

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