My sweet friend,
It was good to see you the other day. I enjoy our chats, as occasional as they may be. It’s always fun to swap stories and ideas about parenting, life, and God. There was more I wanted to say and didn’t. Sometimes I don’t articulate my beliefs very well on the spot. If I’m completely honest, I’m a little chicken. If I don’t feel like I can express myself clearly with answers to every possible challenge, I won’t say anything at all. I don’t want to offend or look foolish. I don’t want to be rejected, and I don’t want to take a stand I can’t support with scripture. The words come later, and I seem to be so much better with writing articulately than verbally expressing myself spontaneously.
So I’m writing you this letter. I keep thinking about the frustration you experience when you read scripture but don’t understand what it means. To pray for understanding before you start only to remain baffled can be a disappointing experience. I hear your determination when life continues to deliver disappointing blows, and the bad year becomes years. I’m so encouraged you aren’t giving up! I see your genuine desire to have a life-changing relationship with the Lord! I truly love that about you. I think the clog in the drain is the Christianity Cocktail you’ve mixed with different philosophies and practices that promise to make you the best person, wife, and mom you can be on your own might and independent of Jesus Christ, and Him alone.
I found a scripture that may explain what’s happening. In Mark chapter seven, the Pharisees and scribes are challenging Jesus on various traditions they hold sacred as sanctifying while ignoring the condition of their hearts. Calling them hypocrites, Jesus says to them in verses six and seven, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” He goes on to say in verse nine, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.” The result then, in verse thirteen, is that the word of God is of no effect due to the traditions they practice.
Everything we seek from the world or the traditions of man that only God can give through Christ makes the word of God of no effect. These ways – yoga, secular counseling, spiritualism, meditation, self-actualization, self-help/self-improvement books and seminars, marriage boot camps, New Age methods, eastern religions, and the like – all set you up as the answer to your own destiny and salvation. Even if you only take bits and pieces of each one, they can create tremendous spiritual confusion because they omit or directly oppose the word of God – His truth, which is the only truth that sets us free. For good.
We can’t have both the world’s way and all God has for us. He asks us to do hard things, and instead, we experiment with other things that promise results in our power with more immediate benefit. Who wouldn’t be tempted by that? But if Jesus is the only answer to our broken condition (which is what we’re searching to fix in the first place, right?), then nothing else the devil dangles as a distraction will work.
Anyone or anything that promises what only Jesus can deliver without leading you straight to Jesus Himself is a counterfeit. The devil is the pro when it comes to mimicking the things of God because that’s the easiest way to get us off track. But when it comes to delivering the goods, only Jesus can.
Second Corinthians 6:16-18 explains, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord almighty.’”
Ask God to show you what is convoluting your Christianity. Jesus on the rocks – Jesus with nothing else mixed in – is the only cocktail you need. We can’t blend our own concoction and expect Christianity “to work.” We can’t just hear what Jesus teaches; we must do what He says and NOT DO what He says not to do.
“Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock” (Luke 6:46-48).
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take Jesus on the rocks.
Until our next chat,