True Security

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.  Proverbs 29:25.

I know I harp on this quite a bit, but I believe it’s important.  I also must confess this is one of my weaknesses.  I worry too much about the good opinion of others, even if many people think I don’t.  I know this sounds odd yet I can’t help but speak what I know to be true:  I have lived much of my life in reaction to others, either in acquiesced surrender or rebellion.  Both are directly tied to the fear of man.

If we give in to the pressure of those around us, we see a direct correlation between our actions and their pressure.  Yet when we rebel, most don’t see how that could be tied to being afraid.  Rebellion grows out of fear of being controlled and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the love of Jesus.  Those who allow themselves to go this route find bitterness, anger, seething resentment and a host of other negatives at the end of its blind alley.

So either we rebel or we give in and do nothing at all (there is also the third option which is an adhoc combination of these two). 

Neither one is healthy; neither one really accomplishes much in the way of positive outcome, but both seem to be the norm for society.  Many think only through rebellion and anarchy will we ever fix the government or any other place, but this is a misunderstanding of history.  Reason always wins out against mob rule in the end, though it might lose in the short run.  It was a Christian man standing his ground with reason (and not a little smarts) who rid England of their slave trade.  I would say most of the good coming to us from man’s accomplishments stem from decent people doing their best to better the world.

Have these good people made mistakes and cost us time from chasing rabbit trails or dead ends?  Certainly.  I’ve come to the conclusion, through experience, study and prayer, God would rather we make a mistake in faith than conform from fear.  In other words, He would rather we move ahead in the knowledge of His provision with mistaken understanding of His Word than to continue to live in the fear of man. 

How do I know this?  How can I say such a thing with confidence?

Simple:  there isn’t one person on earth who has a perfect knowledge of God’s will or understands the Bible with complete clarity.

Why?  Because our bias colors our interpretation.  It’s hard to not bring our brokenness to the table of the Lord and not have it affect the way we eat.  It’s also hard to read something of God’s Word and not be misled by phrases we bring our own context to unintentionally.  Our experiences color our reactions to everything as does our education–both formal and personal (as in family, subcultures and community).  For us to get a grip on reality in Jesus, however, we have to let go of the world’s priorities and POV.

If we think about God’s Word as food, we can parallel how we eat different types of vegetables and meat with our spiritual intake as well.  Some will come to the table but not be able to stand the heavier foods offered there, while others despise the simple fair for the more complex tastes presented.  What’s strange about this analogy is it hits us where we live.  There are theologians who look down on the “uneducated” masses with disdain or condescension for their ignorance of the “deeper” things of God, when many of those in the uneducated realm get the message of character growth more readily than do those who look into complexities and seeming dichotomies in the Word.

In Jesus’ day the Sadducees and Pharisees were the theological elite, highly educated and pretty haughty by Christ’s estimation.  Jesus wasn’t taught by them so they interpreted that to mean He was “uneducated” or a anomaly.  Most people who aren’t educated tend to react in rebellious cynicism to those who are, thinking of their elitist attitude and rejecting everything the upper crust has to offer as tainted by human greed and power mongering.  Jesus didn’t do this at all.  In fact, He always praised them for their learning but rebuked them for their pride.  He praised their devotion to the law but rebuked them for their lack of mercy and care for the poor.

To do otherwise would be depending on human methods in assessing what is worthy of our efforts.  I believe we need to be balanced about this and instead of censuring learning or condemning the simplicity (both sides of the spectrum) we should grab onto them both and keep each clearly in mind.  Sometimes the simplest dishes are the most yummy, yet complex food also appeals to the educated palate.

I can’t eat cucumbers because they create unpleasant chemical reactions in my stomach and therefore contribute to global warming in a most socially unacceptable way.  This doesn’t mean cucumbers are bad but that I’m flawed physically for God created these vegetables to benefit our bodies.  The fact that I can’t “stomach” them says more about my physical makeup than it does about them.

The same can be said for our grasp of the Word of God and its truth.  The palatable parts of Scripture we extol to the heavens while ignoring or explaining away those things we either can’t stomach or just don’t understand.  This calls for growth and maturity and understanding and a willingness to change our minds from earthbound wisdom and knowledge to that of heaven.  Most denominations grew out of a disagreement on doctrine or interpretation of Scripture.  Many, however, ignore certain aspect of Scripture in order to extol their particular brand of Christianity.  The exclusivism we practice as Christians goes against the command of our Lord to be one, yet we explain our separation as necessary for the sake of truth, all the while ignoring the truth of unity in Christ.  Those who reject the “new” light also have a problem, don’t they.  They reject the light of the Word of Truth for the sake of tradition and lose the blessing God would extend to us all.

Most of the denominations began because sincere people were reaching for a better understanding of God, for sure, but their separation from the church grew into a censure of all traditions rather than a rejection of just godless ones.  Fear motivated the split.

I make decisions everyday out of fear of what others might think of me if I don’t do it their way.  As I grow older, I’m slowly letting go of this type of faulty reason to conform to what God has to say through His messengers.  Paul tells us to live at peace with all men as best we can and where it depends on us to do so.  At the same time he tells us to not conform any longer to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  To the earthbound mind this is a dichotomy or two opposites which cannot inhabit the same space.  Those renewed by the grace of God, however, know it to be two halves of the same coin called “godliness.”  As far as it depends on us, we do our best to live peacefully with others while continuing our journey to transformation in Christ.  Of course, those not renewed in or who have refused the mind of Christ will declare themselves our enemies, which means strife will erupt as a result–but not because we caused it.  We are not responsible for the behaviors or choices of others.

Peter asked Jesus what would happen to John once and Jesus replied,  “What is that to you?  You must follow me.”  We concern ourselves with other people’s business far too much and not enough in the right places.  We do so out of fear of not belonging to the community (even a fractured one) or out of fear of being left out of life.  Jesus calls us to be different, to make a change, to be change.

We can’t accomplish very much for the kingdom of God strapped to what humans value or set up on pedestals as important.  We only accomplish things for God in spiritual perfection (the covering of Jesus blood), surrendered, submitted and wholly sold out to His will.  Anything else is a trap and snare which holds us bound to limited possibilities or none at all.

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6 Responses to “True Security”

  1. Woot! What’s Buzzing Now? » Blog Archive » Bike Helmet Egg Twins Says:

    […] True Security « Jonny’s Habit […]

  2. tlc4women Says:

    This is my biggest problem. I go from trying to make everyone happy to being completely frustrated and not caring if anyone is happy. Makes me a peach to live with because even when I say I don’t care, I really do. So my rebellion only hurts me more. Dumb huh?

  3. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    human

  4. tlc4women Says:

    Yeah, so uh, now that we’ve confessed you know the test is coming around again!

  5. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    Nearly everyday for me.

    I also know that I must prioritize my life more but right now I’m at a loss as to how to do it. But I believe God would rather we make a mistake than to sit on our hands.

    I just don’t want to hurt anyone important in the process unnecessarily. So there are things to think through before I make a move–though that process can also be used as a means to cop out or avoid action. Pray for me that I will neither one but really work through the process of finding clarity and methods which work for my obligations.

    I will hold you up in prayer for this as well.

  6. tlc4women Says:

    I can certainly understand that. I will pray for direction.

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