Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Borrowed but not blue, old but still new...

She quoted some satirical words from "How to Be Miserable" from Elisabeth Elliot, and some of what e.e. had to say inspired some thoughts. Here goes!

"Stay away from absolutes. It's what's right for you that matters. Be your
own person and don't allow yourself to get hung up on what others expect of you."

As Christians we should adhere to one source for establishing absolutes: the Scriptures. And boy, when those Words command something, we should jump first and ask "How high?" on the way up. What He expects of us can go without questioning. No second guessing is required, no debating. Just simple ol' obedience. That kind of talk is upsetting to our modern American mindset, but it is a paradigm we call "faith" in the Christian realm. What He says is good. Period.

That's where we should begin as children: learn simple obedience first, then we can graduate to sorting through the more mature matters of applying principles when issues get more complicated. When a young mom of a toddler says to me, "What do I deal with first -- the fact that he disobeyed by touching the outlet or his bad attitude toward me?" First things first. Start with clear cut disobedience issues, then attempt to mold character needs.

In our current political arena, Christians are losing sight of this practice of "obey the black and white, then tackle the more complicated issues." This is what I'm talking about: abortion is being relegated to the same shelf as other worthy concerns.

Is it truly the only issue to talk about? Obviously not. Jesus spoke to all kinds of concerns, and as we see, they are still present in our culture (issues of the poor, the orphaned, the homeless.) They continue to be on His heart today. But exactly how to deal with them all was never laid out in specifics in the scriptures. We understand that we (the church, those who believe, mind you) should share our food, provide shelter, show mercy. But what percentage of our food should be shared? How many people should we share our shelter with? To what extent should we show mercy? Should it be voluntary or required?

These answers were not given. Jesus instead is willing to move in the hearts of individual believers and collective churches to accomplish this work. In short, He is calling His church to do these things. Why? So that it is done through genuine love (there can be no genuine love apart from God.) So that the recipients can be introduced to their Savior. And so that He receives the glory -- Him alone. Yup. He is jealous to receive the glory, not wanting to share it with any man, not even the U.S. government.

But beyond all that, He speaks in absolute terms concerning the issue of murder. He is quite concerned about the killing of innocent people; He is equally concerned about those who in supposed ignorance do nothing. He spells it out in black and white, if we take the time to look.

We 21st century Americans are inculcated with a relative ethics system. Yuck! We need to trade it in for a new "old" one. What is His mind? What does the Word call evil and good, right and wrong? How does He say we should approach the issues facing us today? There is nothing new under the sun. His word is relevant -- and even better is discovering that God does not waffle! He does not waiver. What He hated 2500 years ago, He hates today! A nation who purposely allows the wholesale slaughter of babies is flagrantly disobeying His decree. They are dishonoring His plan. They stand in sheer disregard and rebellion of His Holy Word! That is absolute!

God spoke definitively regarding certain things. It is up to us, as His people, to honor and obey His word. Or we can put it on the shelf to be debated with other issues. But if we fail to obey the obvious, the clear, the absolute how will we learn to apply Godly principles in matters of the heart? If our government approves flagrant dishonor of God, how and why should He help us apply His truth in other situations? We should "start at the very beginning" and learn once again to obey the obvious.

"Don't let Bible reading and prayer get in the way of what's really
relevant--things like TV and newspapers. Invisible things are eternal. You
want to stick with the visible ones--they're where it's at now."

Unfortunately we live in a world of constant communication. I say unfortunately because unless we are choose-y, careful, and deliberate, we may regularly get an earful of less than true, less than edifying, less than helpful stuff.

We need to be informed, no doubt. But when forming your paradigm, and understanding of a correct response to political issues, set aside that news post, the latest Youtube clip, the daily paper, even your favorite journalist, be it TV or magazine or internet. Don't let what they say eclipse or overshadow what you know to be truth. And if you don't know truth about something, find it in the scriptures. As my son says, every single political opinion needs to be founded in the Word. If you have ideas about human rights, check them against scripture. Economic strategies? Line them up with the Word. Welfare? Health care? Dig in and discover what God says. If it seems like an overwhelming task, start by talking with a believer who has knowledge: write down the scriptures he quotes and then study them yourself. Discover His heart, His bigness, His knowledge of mankind and his sin dilemmas. What are His answers? It is important.

Whatever you do, don't base your ideas on popular opinion, a simple media report, or worst of all, your emotional response to the current issues. The heart is not to be trusted. Act on the Word of God, cling to the truth even if the world around you clamors for something different.

Many hurtful things exist in this world. We cannot resolve them, we cannot bear them all. We were not meant to. In the end, His love alone is true, not the love of some mushy talking politician. Humanism reeks of sentimentalism, deceiving many into thinking that it shows mercy and care; it even appears loving and kind. It is a hoax. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death." Humanism may sound right, but don't believe it. Take time to learn His way instead. Search the Word and act upon it, one step at a time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darlene, Thank you so much for sharing this! This has been such a difficult thing to see, especially with the young people today, who are believing so many lies and are being so misled by the media, professors at colleges, "academia," etc.! We are praying that the "scales" and "blinders" would be taken off of their eyes and that they would not be deceived by this world and what it is FEEDING them!! Keep praying!! Thank you for sharing!

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a (fairly..hopefully...maybe) young person I can say a hearty amen!! It's so easy to sort of "skip over" some issues because they've just kind of always been there, presented by the world as perfectly normal, but we HAVE to keep God's Word at the forefront and filter all this incoming info through THAT filter!

3:49 PM  
Blogger Selah said...

Amen! Thank you Darlene. I have been drawn to Judges on the political front...when the people followed the way of the Lord, they prospered...when they did not follow His ways, they were in "sore

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This waiting for grandbabies is fun and the excitement builds as it gets closer and closer. I'm so exited for Danica and Ryan. I'm also excited that you get to be there with her through the whole home birthing experience. I wish I was there with you. There is nothing that can compare to watching a new life being born. It's such an awesome, awesome thing. My prayers are with you and Danica and family for a safe and speedy delivery along with a healthy, happy baby.

I Love you all very much,
Nancy C.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Rissa said...

Thank you for this!! I love the way you lay it all out there so simply. I realize that I often complicate things that aren't actually so difficult to understand, and I long for answers, when all the while, they're so accessible through the Word! I appreciate the reminder!!!

11:28 AM  

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