Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Movement is NOT a MESSIAH

I know that I have not blogged in a long time, and I hope to remedy that soon. i truely miss it. I miss writing what is on my heart and being able to look back on it and remember how God has worked on me so intricately, but for now, this is a GREAT reminder of how we need to be focused. And I hope to get on here and enjoy you all soon. -------------------------------------------------------------------
A Movement is Not a Messiah
Life can be a labyrinth sometimes, booby-trapped and foggy, with dark and lonely dead-end places waiting behind corners, where false turns lead to trouble, wasted time, and regret. We have the directions, of course, in God’s word. We even have a guide, the Holy Spirit. But all around us people are calling over their shoulders in the thick mist,  “Hey, I’ve read the directions, and we need to go this way! Run straight ahead for ten steps and then turn sharply to your left.” The strong, confident voices, shouting out directions with eloquence and aplomb, can gather droves of stampeding followers. And a movement is born. Patriarchy. Homeschooling. Home/natural birthing. Courtship. House church. Sheltering. Modesty. Quiver-full. “I’ve read the directions, and we need to go this way.” I’ve said it myself. You can read it in my archives. And while there is absolutely a place for sharing our beliefs and convictions, we must never forget that a movement is not a messiah, and stampedes can lead you right over a cliff.

The danger comes when people place all their hope in movements, as if following them will necessarily result in the Lord’s blessing. We think we’re in a bargain with God. “OK, God, I’ll do the modesty thing, give my daughters purity rings, and buy homemaking units from Christian Light. I expect you’ll have  flawless husbands lined up by my girls’ twenty-first birthdays. (Definitely not those real guys who sin and make mistakes and call weddings off or don’t even propose.)” And we get really excited about our bargains with God, smug even. “I’ve found the secret. No more trouble for me and my family. We’re in the inner circle now. Yessirree.” We don’t notice that an idol has slipped in, that we’ve put our faith in something else, that now that we have the formula, we don’t really need God, except at the end of each little project, when He’s supposed to reward us with the blessings we so richly deserve. Peace. Security. Health. Happiness. Well-behaved, godly children who love to pass out tracts, start home businesses, and marry young.

Sometimes the movement becomes a litmus test. “The So-and-so’s say they’re Christians, but” (and here the eyebrows rise knowingly) “they send their kids to public school.” We love them just a little less. We’re disappointed. We label them with the ultimate movement junkie insult, not likeminded, and go on to better friends, friends who are “godly” enough to do all the same things we’re doing.

But then one day, something dreadful happens. Someone’s life gets messed up (maybe it’s even your life that didn’t turn out as advertised). The movement failed to protect us from sin and human frailty. People who practice courtship can wind up getting their hearts broken. I’ve seen it. People who give control of their wombs to the Lord can wind up facing serious health problems. I’ve seen it. People who grow up in large, “perfect” homeshool families can wind up not even saved. I’ve seen that one, too. And these “failures” can be devastating. They can lead to crises of faith, anger at God, and ditching the movement that let us down. We may even become outspoken antimovement evangelists, warning others away from such pernicious programs and dissociating ourselves from everything that reminds us of the movement we left. You may give up patriarchy after your patriarchal father destroyed your family with an affair, and in the process toss out modesty and homeschooling just because they remind you of the people who wrecked your life.

We would be spared a lot of pain if we remembered that a movement is exactly that, a movement, motion in a direction. A movement is not a destination. The destination needs to be God, knowing Him, serving Him, becoming like Him. The destination is the point, not the directional motion. When the directional motion becomes the point, we can take things to extremes. We may need to drive west to get to Chicago, but once we become enamored with westward motion, we run the risk of blowing right on by and ending up in the Pacific ocean. We need to constantly reevaluate where we stand relative to God’s perfection. And the appropriate direction to move is always towards godliness, which may or may not be deeper in to the movement du jour, just as someone in Detroit needs to go west to Chicago, but someone in Seattle has to go a long way east. Take the Quiver-full movement for example. Someone who thinks that children are little life-disrupting leaches to be avoided at all costs probably needs to move in a Quiver-full direction in order to understand the heart of God towards little ones. But someone who has made the Quiver-full movement the point, who views family size as a measuring stick of relative godliness and looks down on people with lower fertility, probably needs to move away from the movement as an idol and refocus on the Lord.

We may do all the same things that people in movements are doing (and in fact, all the examples of movements that I used in the first paragraph were things that my family is actually living out right now because we genuinely believe they are beneficial directions for us to go in), but we need to do everything, not simply for its own sake, but because when we look at the Lord and where we fall short, we see that moving in these directions brings us closer to walking in His ways. It is drawing close to Him that brings peace, security, and happiness. When He is our delight, we are able to weather the storms of sin and human frailty. The point is His glory. He is our Messiah. No movement can ever take His place.

Oh... SUCH a great reminder that our "movements" are good for a PURPOSE. The purpose is to bring us closer to our savior and LORD. If the caravan that you are on is not moving you closer to HIM, GET OFF THAT BAND WAGON!!!  If you liked this post, you can find more from her at pursuing titus 2. I hope to chat with you all soon.

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