No Other gods...

“You shall have no other gods before me." - GOD (Yahweh) Ex 20:3

Sometimes the 'other gods' in our life are blatantly idolatrous golden cows (see more in Exodus), but sometimes they are originally intended for good purposes. My family and I had allowed some very good things to control our life.

Some examples include: living to the schedule of the public school system, regular church attendance, etc.

While this is not an advertisement for homeschooling, we have noticed some very disturbing problems with the public school system, but equally frustrating was the annoyance that we must get up at specified time and do certain things in order for our kids to be there 'on time'. We were allowing someone other than God to direct our paths. While this may seem petty to some, it (combined with the increase in violence, drug presence, child pregnancy, immoral teaching aka 'alternate life choices', etc.) became a major family issue for us. Our solution: homeschooling! We now homeschool the three school age kids and will start Savanna when she is ready.

Again, church attendance is not a bad thing, but when it becomes the dominating factor in one's life, I have to question whether my relationship with Christ is the driver behind my life or is it simply showing up at a specific place 3 times a week (i.e. going through the motions of the 'Christian lifestyle')? It is increasingly frustrating to see Satan use churches / church activities for his purpose and steal time away from our relationship with Jesus. Let me try to explain this a little more. If you are a new Believer, you should surround yourself with other Believers. The intent is that you will learn from them and grow spiritually. However, if you are immediately caught up in the busy-ness of doing church (teaching Sunday School?, singing in the choir, cleaning, working in the nursery, playing in the band, mowing the grass, visitation, etc.) is there really time for learning? Is there time for development? Growth? While I agree that service is integral to God's plan for each Believer, shouldn't there be some teaching along with serving? If 'doing church things' comes with the price of not learning or being burned out, then what is its eternal value? I'm not sure there is any.

Some Believers may balance the development with the work and attendance, but allow a Doctrinal Statement to become so important that we forget to do what the Doctrines teach. I've seen heated arguements erupt over doctrinal points to the point that both sides stop showing love for each other. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God and the second was to love others. Is God really honored in a doctrinal fight? Can we really love each other while we are red-faced, experiencing high blood pressure, and foaming at the mouth while defending a piece of paper with some doctrinal statements written by men? Maybe, but man it's hard to recognize the love sometimes... Could it be that sometimes our Doctrinal stances, or more likely, being 'right' about them has become more important to us than living the truths taught by them? More important than living in the Spirit? More important than loving others? Than reaching others with God's love? Reaching others with the Gospel of Jesus? Could it be that Doctrinal Statements have, for some, become gods?

On the other side, I and my family now run the risk of allowing our freedom in Christ to become over-dominant (predominant) in our life. We have become quite mobile (I like to call it 'portable'). We can teach our kids anywhere. We can worship anywhere. We can also become lazy anywhere. We must remember to guard against allowing our mobility to become more important than our Faith Journey and our relationship with Jesus.

Pray for us that we 'have no other gods before' Him!!!


Anonymous said...

The Bible is filled with Doctrinal statements! How can on teach the Bible without the teaching of Doctrinal statements?

Can one denonced Doctrinal statements and hold up the word of God at the same time?

untamed1 said...

I'm not sure what you are referring to when you said "Can one denonced Doctrinal statements and hold up the word of God at the same time?"

I never suggested denouncing Doctrinal Statements, I simply submit that living the truths taught by the Bible is more important than simply "teaching Doctrinal Statements". James says that "Faith without works is dead" and sometimes those who argue about Doctrinal Statements the most adamantly are pre-occupied with teaching but not doing. I think it is more important to live / do the Word than to merely teach, talk about, argue over, etc. an organization's Doctrinal Statements.

untamed1 said...

Doctrine simply stated, is teaching. Teaching from the Bible (regardless of what we label them, i.e. "Doctrinal Statements") is of course one of our primary responsibilities as Believers, but we should not allow any man-made (individual or organizational) Doctrine Statement to become a law by which we judge others.

Some allow Doctrinal Statements to separate Believers into groups that do not talk to, but talk negatively about each other. The purpose of the Word is to bring all to a living relationship with God, made possible by Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul says that we are given the ministry of reconciliation. When Doctrinal Statements divide or alienate groups they can become an obstacle to Believers regarding the Great Commission. When we are too busy defending our statements to live a life of witness to the lost world, I think God is dishonored and disappointed.

Desiree said...

I agree fully with this message and with what untamed1 is stating. It is far more important to live a life for Christ than to just merely talk about it. A doctrine (teachings) should be a way of life. We should always be in a state of learning from the LORD and His Word. Sometimes this is in a not so conventional way in the world's terms...you have to do this or look this way to be a "Christian". Christianity (commercialized as we have made) needs to go back to being pure Christianity. Doctrinal statements are good...but when it gets in the way of listening to the Spirit of God (creates golden cows of itself) then it may need to be re-looked at and simplified down to basic biblical truths that can't be argued with.

Great msg! thanks for it!

untamed1 said...

Thanks Desiree...I have become desperate for more of Jesus...I just want to love him and let His love and Power work in and through me more and more...why can't we have an Acts kind of effect on the world around us???

Desiree said...

I believe we can. We just have to live an Acts way of life. (: Ya know...studying and worshiping everyday, praying without ceasing, living in the Spirit, laying on hands, truly believing in God's promises, using spiritual gifts...all that crazy Jesus...straight out of the Bible...should we call it doctrine? stuff...HA HA!

untamed1 said...

Before I get on a judgmental kick, I have to say, I have been focusing lately in study with SM on our Christian Identity (who we are or are not in Christ) centering on Romans 5 - 7 and that study naturally flows into the "new way of the Spirit" or Spirit walk / Spirit life. In thinking along those lines, the study will include a review of the Armor of God and the Fruit of the Spirit. The point is that I have to examine myself in light of the transforming power of Salvation. Sure I have a regenerated spirit and have now been justified by the Blood of Christ, but am I being sanctified? Am I learning, growing, acting, etc. more like Jesus? Am I winning the battles between my new spirit and the old flesh? Am I protecting myself with the armor? Am I living the Fruits of the Spirit?

I'll add more later...