Monday, February 14, 2011

The Do's And Don'ts

"Therefore,if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." Colossians 2:20-23

I love coming across verses like this in the Bible.  I just love it, especially when I've been spending time conversing with someone who has a strong belief about a particular subject.  For example, I clearly remember a conversation with someone who was really wondering if he should insist that his wife and daughter where head coverings in church.  It seemed to be really bothering him, that he'd found the verses in the Bible where this was mentioned as important, and he was struggling a bit with whether or not it was for today.

It's verses like the ones above that tell me that we have a free will, and the choice to live as we see fit.  What I mean by that, is that if there are verses in the Bible that really speak to you about covering your head, than you should follow that.  But, that does not mean that your neighbor is guilty of breaking some Biblical law, it just means your neighbor has not felt the same convictions.   This goes across the board in many, many areas of life.  Being a part of the homeschool community, you can imagine I come across a lot of people who are passionate about the way they apply the Bible to real life, and that's wonderful! I love that, and I love the diversity.  What I don't love is when these same people (whom I love and admire) basically tell me I'm guilty of living a sinful life because I don't follow the same principles.

Every once in a while I'll be reading my Bible and come across one of these things, and I'll really wonder if that principle is something that is meant for me to follow- something that should be more important in the church today.  I'll be honest, sometimes those thoughts really go on for a while, as I wrestle with whether or not I could follow through on that kind of idea.  And then I read these verses in Colossians, which calm my thoughts and my mind, and tell me that those ideas are not necessarily meant for me, they may be, and I should explore that if they are truly on my mind, but the chances are, they are not.  I think if I came across some guideline in my Bible that I really felt I needed to follow, that God would make it clear to me.   If he meant for me to cover my head, I would strongly feel that I needed to.   (And there are many other things along those lines that come up from time to time, I'm just using head covering as an example because it's a simple one.)

Sometimes, there may be a season in your life where God asks you to follow one of the many guidelines in the Bible, but at the same time, that doesn't necessarily mean a commitment for life- He could just as easily one day tell you that you are finished with that guideline, and then He will shower His love on your willingness and obedience towards Him.  Because that's the reason I believe some of us get called to certain directions or guidelines in the Bible.  I believe in those moments, God is calling us simply as an act of obedience, and will we follow through on that?  I like to think that I would.  If I opened up my Bible and read something that God called me to, I would like to think that I would be obedient and follow through, but...

Food for thought, I guess, is that so many times, as I've seen, these people who follow some random guideline or direction in the Bible, follow that with all their heart.  But then they miss some of the more basic guidelines which are for all of us, every single day.  Guidelines such as this:

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.:  John 13:34-35

"And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."  Matthew 10:7-8

Why is it that we get so passionate about following to the letter some little man-made guideline hidden somewhere in the words of the Bible, but we ignore the words that Jesus spoke directly to us?   Someday when I'm standing before my Lord in Heaven, I don't want my shining moment to be something silly and man-made.  Can you imagine?  "Awesome job there on earth covering your head...but I think you missed the verses on loving your neighbor, and healing the sick." 

Things to think about today.  Where's your obedient heart?  Are you willing to be obedient in EVERYTHING?  Or just when it is seemingly convenient for you?  Why are we so willing to follow the letter of the law on something that man made up, but not the guidelines that Jesus set forth for us?  We get passionate about one particular thing in the Bible, while ignoring all the rest.  Somehow, I think that's not what God intended.

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