Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why? For what purpose?

Religion. Homeschooling. Cultural shifts. Family decisions. Morality. Christianity.

I read a lot about these things and have so many views coming my way every day from magazines, facebook, television, acquaintances, and God's Holy Bible. So what do I do with all of this information? How do I decide what parts I put to use in my life, and how can I be holy and lead my children to desire to follow God?

Well, it seems to me that God alone is Holy and wise and He can work His will no matter what I do or do not choose to do within my free will. He has given me the tools to obey Him, if I should choose to do so. But "man" puts so many confusing things out there and so many condemnations of my efforts that I really just want to scream sometimes. Why bother at all? I am condemned if I eat organic, or non organic, or if i listen to certain shows, or read certain books, or wear no skirts, or wear only skirts, or wear shorter slim skirts, or wear shorts, or cut my hair, or approve of immunizations, or disapprove of immunizations, or watch over my kids closely, or don't watch over them so closely, or if I homeschool, or public school, or stay at home, or if I work. Good grief! Please give us all a break!

It seems today that men's private interpretations are exalted over God's Word. That is today's idolatry, and pharisaical behavior of our own imposed rules of godliness. God's word is pushed aside for man's desires, tastes, emotions. And it infiltrates our worship, too. It is degraded to entertainment. Why is all this stuff the new benchmark of spirituality? Are we really so blind? No. Mostly it seems people prefer to lazily accept the teaching of others rather than search the actual scriptures for themselves, and then they impose stricter "rules" than God does and perceive themselves holier than you. And we are resistant to change, and don't like to admit that people can actually be lost while claiming to be Christians. It is uncomfortable. It is a form of judging. But God alone is wise and supreme and in control. His Word stands. Before Him presidents, popes, kings, and emperors, are less than insects. Their words are just words, nothing more. Because they are all just men, humans, just like you and me. They are no more inspired than you or me, which is to say, not at all. God's word is the WAY. It is because He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is no mortal. He is unchanging truth.

So why do we come up with all these self imposed rules of what is the best way to live? Because we are fallible humans and rules are easier to follow. We actually kind of like legalism (beware the Pharisees), because we can see the rules clearly. But God's law gives us freedom in Christ. We are given some black and white truths, and lots of general guidelines. And when we obey those guidelines with our freedom in Christ, we have many options, and God knows our hearts in these matters. We are not supposed to judge others in this. That is God's job. He gave us direct orders to go into the world and teach His Words (that is black and white), though he didn't tell us how to accomplish this (that is a guideline). If people are convicted by His Word, they will strive to live by it and that will be their judge, not us. Our job is to teach the truths of scripture and live for Him to the best of our ability.
An example is to be modest in dress. That is a scriptural truth, but a very general guideline. It is not black and white (though some think it is). Through biblical modesty we are displaying the power of God to a lost world and showing the special wonder of being female, because fashion based on human desires tends to exploit women. But we aren't given scriptural explicits, yet I see tons of judging in this with specific man made rules. I am even guilty here. I have my personal modesty rules for our house. I can't say they are 100% right and I can't impose them on others. But if you ask, I can share gently why I choose this way.
And what about being told by God to bring our children up in the Lord and to teach them diligently? I have my opinions and preferences, but God doesn't give us specifics here, either. I can tell you why I do what I do, but you are free to make your choices. God didn't give specifics. It is not my place to condemn you (or you to condemn me).
We are told by God that our body is the temple of God and not to be defiled by sexual immorality or gluttony, among other things. Again, I have very specific personal opinions here. But there aren't specifics in scripture on how to choose a mate, or whether to date or court, or what an actual portion size is, and what exact kind of food to eat and feed your family, or what kind of medicinal interventions to use. But, man oh man, there are a million specific human opinions out there on how you might be getting it all wrong!
And I won't even touch the topic of politics...that is a raging fire.

I am reminded of 1 peter 2:9 and matthew 5:14-16 as I try to live each day. Go ahead, look them up. It's ok.
I just want to do my best each day for Him and encourage you to do the same. But I can't give you a whole lot of specifics, other than to diligently study the scriptures and obey them to the best of your ability. Don't cave to what others think you should be doing. Make all your choices (if you are a Christian) in light of His words, not men's. He knows your heart and knows if you are ignoring His teachings. He knows when you are searching and trying to do your best, too. And He loves you at all times, even when you mess up. Believe in Him, repent of your sins, and let His blood wash away your sins so you can walk in His light.
There are a myriad of opinions out there that can really confuse you if you aren't careful and discerning. And it is so terribly easy to get sucked in. I get sucked in. Sometimes I think the Christian community has more strict, biased personal opinions than the rest of the world. And I wonder if the outside world sees that, and it turns them off of being "that kind of person" or a Christian. I bet it does. I am trying not to be part of the problem. But I know I have been, and likely I will stumble again. I am human. But each day is fresh and new, praise God!

So be blessed out there and try to be a blessing to those you come into contact with. Remember Proverbs 3 :5-6 .

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