Must Watch Movie! Then go to Your Sacred Calling to read her take on all of this.
A little internal turmoil will really get you thinking, but, before I get in to all that, perhaps a short history is required. I grew up in a Catholic church and the large majority of my large family is Catholic with varying degrees of devotion. When I was 12, my parents got a divorce and through that process, my mom left the Catholic church. We began attending a church called Inland Community Church and we were very happy there. My mom wished for more hymns instead of the praise music, but she loved the verse-by-verse teaching of the Bible. She grew as a Christian and we grew to become Christians. It was at this church that I was baptized as a believer. However, problems eventually arose (as they usually do) and we discovered the youth pastor struggled in sexual sin (with the girls of his youth group) and the associate pastor was stealing from the church. After an all out confrontation with the church leadership, my family and several others, left the church and found a Calvary Chapel. Calvary was a breath of fresh air for sermons that had gone downhill since we first began attending ICC. Calvary Chapel’s are known for their verse-by-verse Bible teaching and their back to basics style. They are good, Bible believing people, but… they seem to take things a little too lax, like wearing blue jeans to church among other things. It was really the blue jeans that got to me first, which is why I mention them.
Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
What does that mean? Does that mean that that love really is the bottom line…that “all you need is love?” What does it mean to have the law and prophets hanging on it? I would dearly love some answers here. Nothing has tried my faith so much as this.
When I had originally decided to write this post I had just finished my morning reading of The Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It was February 8th and the title of the entry was “The Cost of Salvation”. Before I go much further, I will mention that if you click on the first link above, you will get to a homepage that has the original text and KJV scriptures. You can get “today’s reading” or you may browse whatever day you’d like. I did not know about this, so I purchased an “updated” version at my bookstore. It claims that it is “An Updated Edition in Today’s Language” and uses the NKJV; I didn’t think twice about purchasing it. Now I wished I had just purchased the original! Anyway, I wanted to quote what I had actually read, but I will just copy the original version (or what I should have read). Clear as mud?
INSTANTANEOUS AND INSISTENT SANCTIFICATION
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God’s purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for? And then after His work is done in us, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? “For their sakes I sanctify Myself.”[John 17:19] The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.
Are we prepared to be caught up into the swing of this prayer of the apostle Paul’s? Are we prepared to say – “Lord, make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace”? Jesus has prayed that we might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s ministrations in us? [Emphasis added]
So there you have it. Need I even comment on it? When I read this the other day I just sat there, shocked. I want to go out on a limb and say that this process of sanctification is not taught anymore. I have been going to church all my life and though I hear rhetoric like, “become more like God” no one has really ever pointed me to a place where I can confront this issue. It is an unpopular one! Modern Christians are satisfied with grace by faith with the mistaken notion that we don’t have to do anything else! How else do we read Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
I have always been a little bit confused about what to do now that I am a Christian. I knew that I was supposed to do the right thing, but I have always heard it describes as something that just naturally happens, that now that you are saved, you suddenly begin to act like a Christian. I just could never understand why I didn’t. Am I not really saved? Did I get saved but not receive the Holy Spirit? Why can’t I do the right thing? I seriously tortured myself with these things thinking that I was a faulty Christian and that the process just didn’t work for me! Of course that’s not true!!! What has happened is that I’ve been sold a pack of lies, that the Christian life is a sudden, instant change and it’s not! Salvation might happen in an instant, but it is a constant struggle then to die to your flesh and actually become more like the God you now serve.
So what does this mean for me? It is so easy to become me-centered. People have this defense mechanism that they use to ward off sanctification. They call it legalism. That somehow having to improve yourself or follow the letter of the Word is somehow adding to the gospel. In my computer’s dictionary it defines legalism as, “excessive adherence to law or formula; THEOLOGY- dependence on moral law rather than on personal religious faith.” Hmm, very interesting. I depend on moral law to live my life, I don’t just have faith that I am doing it all right. If that were all that was required, why do have a Bible with 66 books worth of information? Obviously, God has a plan and a way of doing things. However, I can’t take that Bible and do all the right things without any faith, for faith without works is dead, James 2: 14-26.
This has lately become so important to me as I read about headcover, modesty, staying at home…without these commands being from God I am wasting my time. If these commands are from God, then I am wasting every minute that I am not obeying them! I can see that my path of sanctification is going here: to learn to be a woman of God; to dress the way that God wants me to dress (even when it doesn’t follow current trends), to submit where He wants me to (even though its unpopular), to live my life in a way that is, at its very heart, different. I want to call attention to God to glorify Him and His perfect order of things. My flesh gets in the way and needs to be removed. The question remains now, am I prepared for the cost?
I saw this movie on Team Bettendorf’s blog and just thought it was amazing!!! It would not be a good thing to preface it too highly, but just know that this movie is an essential movie to watch. I have included a link for both parts 1 & 2, but you can very easily link to part 2 after viewing view 1. It is about a hour total and worth every minute.
Not having seen a healthy Christian relationship work…ever…I am a bit at a loss to know exactly how husbands and wives are supposed to relate to one another. I LOVE talking. It is how I process my thoughts and feelings and how I get close to another person. It is my “sex” if that is okay to say. The thing is, the person I want to talk to more than anyone else (my spouse) is not a talker.
I am not fond of discussing politics overly much. I always feel inadequate to carry on a conversation. I rarely have all the data, but with the information I do have, I make the best decision I can.
When I first started this conservative Christianity journey, like I have said before, I was really skeptical of the whole thing. I didn’t understand the claims or positions of the different groups. One thing I have found since discovering Conservatism that disturbs me is the number of ways to “classify” a person. Perhaps I am still looking in on a totally foreign concept, but I almost feel like I am changing religions, that I can now be in the ranks of “super-Christians” or some other such nonsense. I have noticed (at least) four groups of people who move in these conservative circles: one, the KJV only believers, two, the modesty and femininity are the hallmarks of the female species, women and girls wear exclusively long(ish) skirts or dresses, and three, women (and girls) shall keep their heads covered at all times and four, always home school. Along with these four main topics there seem to be at least a few other issues like diet and church preference that further divide us.
I look at all these topics, not because I disagree and find fault in these issues, but because I agree with these issues and find fault in their practice. I know (or at least I am very confident) that none of these women’s blogs would argue that any of those things are essential for salvation, which rules out “legalism” as a method for adding anything except grace through faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, but I wonder about legalism in the way we live our lives. Is it purely from the Bible or is it a way to unnaturally separate ourselves from the world and be proud of it?
I am really fighting this: am I wearing modest (long) skirts and dresses out of submission to my husband (who doesn’t care if I wear pants) and God who declares that I should be MODEST/CHASTE and FEMININE? Is a long skirt the only way to accomplish both of those things? Can I wear a well-cut, not skin-tight, pair of pants and a nice blouse and still be feminine? Am I wearing those clothes merely to be different and to be accepted by a particular group in society? I want to throw out my pants; I only wear them because they are easy and “modern” so I won’t make other people uncomfortable by my appearance (like my mom, for example). I want to dress my daughter in pretty feminine clothes, but she wears mostly pants. How does all this dress-wearing work in winter? We are moving from Washington state (semi-mild winter) to Colorado (not so mild winter) and we are moving in JANUARY!!!
Then I look at the King James Only debate and while I was completely convinced not too long ago, I have since begun to think differently. I DO find the KJV harder to understand. Yes, the words themselves are simpler, but the order of the words makes it difficult to understand the sentence. I read the NKJV, as does the pastor at my church and I enjoy it. My version pulls from both the “oldest” text that the NIV uses and the more historical version that the KJV uses, in the notes whenever the texts disagree, the NKJV translators included an asterisk and then writes out what the other version said. If I am unsure about something, I will usually take it to the KJV because I do believe in the historicity of the text forming the KJV. However, I did ask my sister who took the Christian Apologetics Master program at Biola University and her belief is that the only infallible Word of God is the original language and that the translations that we use are still useful for doctrine and correction but as they are translations cannot be considered in the same class as the inspired word of God. We know there are mistakes in the KJV, sure many of them were typos, but how many misprints are in the original text? None. I don’t mind using the KJV and I don’t care for the NIV or any of the ultra modern New Living Translation because I think they inhibit a person from truly understanding. When you don’t have to think when you read, you can easily pass over a passage, but when you have to work at understanding it, your brain recalls better. See? I’m up in the air here as well. This one feels a little less “important” because it is a pretty private issue, I think. It is easier to keep this decision between God and me.
Then we have head covering. I used to think that women should cover, but I kept going back and forth and while I think that it can be beneficial, I don’t think that at this time, God is calling either me or my daughter to cover our hair, our bodies, yes.
Finally, home schooling. Honestly, this is my plan, but I am having my doubts about whether I can do it. This is supposed to be my “test” year because Jordyn is in preschool right now. I am doing NOTHING. It seems like she is learning NOTHING!!! Perhaps, if we are in a good school district, we will try Kindergarten for her. She is really excited about “going to school” and I think she would like it. My daughter has a tendency to be shy and she doesn’t really have other kids to talk to, so school might be good for her. I know what I want. I want to use The Well-Trained Mind and give my kids a great academic life. What I am doing is letting them watch countless hours of Dora and all her Nick Jr. buddies. How do I get there?
One trend I am noticing is that I need to “fix myself” first. I think God is working hard on me now because so many aspects of my life have been either put under a microscope or thrown into the flames. I can only come out better since God has begun a good work in me and will be faithful to finish it! Praise the Lord for that or all these musings would be depressing indeed!!!