A few years ago, I was told that my online persona did not seem to match my real life persona. Apparently, I seemed to give a different impression, a more ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ one through my online persona. I was shocked and disappointed but I now believe that it is part and parcel of online communication and I also believe that I have become a better writer because of that comment. However, it has stayed with me many years later and still affects what I write. For some reason many people are aghast to learn that we have many TV’s, watch Science Fiction and enjoy many movies! (I’ve often thought about writing a post outlining the ‘possible’ shocking things about me…who knows, maybe I will one day.) Would you believe that some fellow Christians have doubted the sincerity of my faith once they find out that I watch Sci-Fi. Others seem to take pity on me. Still others, see it as their duty to enlighten me to the truth of the narrow way, as though I have been a believer for over 20 years and never heard or considered ‘their’ ideas before.
Anyway, enough of the ramble and back to the point, which was…er I don’t really think there is a point to this post. Do I ask myself, “Why don’t those people do what I do?” Why don’t they choose XYZ [insert any choice here] instead of what they are doing? Why do they homeschool like that? Why do they dress in THAT? Why do they eat that? Why don’t they eat this? Why don’t they worship in XYZ manner? and the list goes on… (C’mon, surely you have thought these things too eh? Surely I’m not the only one?)
When I hear myself mutter these things I know that I am imposing my values, restrictions, choices or boundaries on someone else. Oh Lord, forgive my self righteousness and my legalism.
There was a time when I felt alone in this Christian walk. Not totally alone but I did feel like there weren’t many other believers like us. Maybe I even felt that there are too few who choose to follow the narrow way…that there aren’t enough other believers who are living in obedience and sacrifice. Well, didn’t I have to really seek the heart of God and ask Him to create in me a clean heart.
Legalism is not obedience. It is adding to obedience. It is not living in freedom and liberty. It is not grace. It is living in boundaries but not by the Holy Spirit. Often when we are writing on our blogs we can speak words of legalism to others. Most often it is under the guise of following the One True Way and all those other martyrdom sounding cliques but the boundaries, rules, ties and bondage it can put upon a fellow believer is almost, but sadly not, unbelievable.
So God has called me to homeschool? Great. But has He called everyone to homeschool? So God has called me to wear plain, brown, ankle length dresses only with no makeup or jewelery. Great. But has He called everyone to do so? Is it my duty to proclaim that this is what walking the narrow way (Christian life) looks like and if they are saved then they would do this too? Maybe to some, adherence to the strict lifestyle or ‘code‘ is the gospel…but not to me. What is the gospel that you proclaim?
(a) Jesus is the Messiah predicted by the OT prophecies. His ministry of teaching, his actions, his death, resurrection and ascension all comport with the prophecies, and affirm him to be Messiah.
(b) His death was God’s act to deal with sin. His resurrection attested to the effective power of the Cross, and affirmed Jesus as Lord over life, death, creation.
(c) Men and women must, therefore, believe his Lordship, believe on him, repent of their sins, and receive forgiveness from their Saviour, Jesus.
Oh how much better to trust in the Holy Spirit…to trust in the grace of our Father that He will produce the good work in us.
Whenever I’m in confusion over an issue or believe that I need to change an area of my life I pray. Pray and ask God to show me my heart motivation, to lead me and to show my husband if this is right. After a little time I will always go and seek my John’s counsel. He’s my husband, my man. He loves me and has my best interest at heart. And I trust that God speaks to him as well…speaks through Him. It isn’t that I can’t receive from God without him, it’s part of marriage.
I am thankful for all the bloggers and writers who share their life in a way that doesn’t smack of self righteousness. I want to be a blogger like that. I’m thankful for God’s word…and that He still speaks to us today.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”