Externals or the Heart?
Sunday Night, May 27, 2001
This is a response written to someone who wanted to move here, but NOT if: 1) The women wear pants or scoop necks (whatever those may be), work outside of the home, or speak in “meetings,” or 2) if the children go to schools (rather than “home schooled”), or 3) if anyone watches sports or any kind of television or “secular movies.”
He asked what I thought about those topics…
Hey, well, though I like your heart because it seems like you CARE, I do feel the need to drop some “food for thought” on you, but you can take it or leave it.
Regarding your other feelings about certain topics… There isn’t a great deal of evidence that your “standards” are His, PER SE, regarding some of the other things you mention—sports or whatever. I don’t want to be Amish when I grow up. As you can surely tell from the “Modesty” thing you read, we are FAR from having a “conforming to the patterns of the world” mindset and Life together. And YET, the externals you mention are overcooked, would be my impression. We’ll leave that between you and Him and whomever you meet in the future, for whatever reason you are moving… but you would have a VERY hard time supporting many of those views from Scripture—except in a general way that you would need to extrapolate into your own interpretation.
I DO understand where you’re coming from, and can relate. BUT… It’s the HEART that He desires to avoid entanglement or seduction, not a set of rules about whether this or that is innately “good and evil.” Dat’s the wrong Tree! But, I understand where you’re coming from, of course. And, that’s okay. A television “commercial” with cleavage or innuendo, or your average “sitcom”? That’s EASY to discern. A no-brainer for anyone who desires Jesus and wants a harvest that is HIM. But, a soccer game on television is automatically “evil”? Well, that’s making up a set of man-made rules. That too is a no-brainer.
So where is the “line”? TRULY, “without Holiness, no one will see the Lord,” and “the grace of God teaches us to say ‘NO!’ to ungodliness.” It’s just VERY important that we’re going for the HEART, not externals as we apply these things with one another. You would be VERY hard pressed to find a lot of “rules and regulations” in the teachings of Jesus. “Tell my brother to share the inheritance!” “Nope. I’ll just tell you both to AVOID GREED LIKE THE PLAGUE!” Can you see the difference??!!
Some may watch an “American football game” (to use your example) with no problem whatsoever, Spiritually. FREQUENTLY when a game is on, the game (tied in the fourth quarter, for example) could get turned off because someone asks a question or brings up something they were reading out of Ephesians. While no one considers turning off the game an automatically “spiritual” thing to do (that would be childish and hyper-religious), it has and does happen virtually every time that things far more valuable than any foolish sporting event come up, and people come and go, or the “game” is turned off entirely. The “game” was only a “non-religious” excuse to be together anyway, a “WINDOW” into others’ lives. And so, the “game” itself is certainly not “automatically” carnal or sinful, as certainly pharisaical religionists sometimes want to make it. The New Testament not only does not “condemn” such things, God actually uses “illustrations” from such things for His People to learn from. Certainly “wasting time” can be a sin for some with such things, as, of course, any obsession or distraction deeply grieves the heart of God. But, this is “case by case” something that we work on Together, as taught in 1Cor.12, Heb.3:12-14, and Acts 2:42-47. It is the HEART that we work on together, not binding externals which God said have “no ability to restrain sensual indulgence” ANYWAY. Use the “windows” and even enjoy the “windows”! Just don’t ever allow them to become a “wall” rather than a “window” into Higher Places!
And a particular sport MAY be a problem for a PARTICULAR person. It depends on the heart of the PERSON. And, only as we BUILD in Relationships can we know the difference in a particular person. The body language, the frequency, what they sacrifice for it, their demeanor afterwards (loud, impatient, etc.)… all of these things are CLUES to the heart. “The eye is the lamp of the Body.” What’s in their EYES? THAT’S the part we deal with, with one another. But, to say that watching soccer on television is “evil”—or that public schools or hospitals could NEVER be a “tool” God would use—that’s the wrong tree and leads to death.
We have well over a hundred children being educated at home, and NONE in public (or so-called “christian” schools)—so I am not speaking as one who is “defending” public schools, but just as one who is defending the Tree of Life. Our women are beautifully submissive and wonderfully fruitful—at the same time. There is NO contradiction between 1Cor. 14, 1Tim. 2, and 1Cor. 11 (where women pray and prophesy)—IF you understand God’s Thoughts are about DOMINEERING and “AUTHORITATIVE teaching” (the Greek of 1Tim. 2). We’ve never had a “free for all” in over fifteen years. Not even one! BUT, I am still concerned about your tree right now. I know 32 is young, as is 13 years, and your experience in Ekklesia is limited. SO, mostly I admire that you CARE about such things. So, sorry to have to say anything, but carry on with what you have to do. Once again, you asked!
And beyond that, I surely don’t know what to tell you! We’ll keep praying that Father will guide and protect and enrich you in all ways, and you’ll find the “Place” you’re searching for!
In His Love,