Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Will Worship

One of the dangers in the Christian church is will-worship (Colossians 2:23). This is trying to please God by coming up with the strictest and largest number of rules. It includes more than just what rules you have, but is an attitude. Some hold questionable rules inherited  from whatever tradition they belong to. But there are those who delight in the fact of having a stricter set of rules. They see themselves as better than other people for having more rules. They make self-control the most fundamental of all virtues. Scripture says that love is the basis of God's commands (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13,14). And while self-control is clearly one of the things God commands, it does not top the list (Galatians 5:22,23; 2 Peter 1:5-7; Acts 24:25).

Underlying this is an important issue. From a Christian perspective we are sinners (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9) saved by the grace of God. Therefore, Scripture rebukes those who think in their self-righteousness that they are pleasing to God by their own works and can look down on others (Luke 18:9-14; 7:36-50; Matthew 9:10-13). Love, therefore, is seen as God's primary motivation (1 John 4:7-10; John 3:16-18; Romans 5:6-8). But when self-control is made the chief motivation, pride and trying to impress others is the result (Matthew 23:23-28; 6:1-18; Luke 20:46-47). It produces an ethic which is hard and impervious and makes no allowances for oneself or others.

The results of this approach  on a community level can be devastating. It produces people who must always have their barriers up lest others see their failings. It produces people who will never open up or admit they need help or support. It produces people whose chief goal is to be self-contained and independent of other people. It produces people who are severe and willing to judge others at the slightest opportunity. It is as dangerous as trusting in our intellect or emotions. Rather, we need to trust God (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 37:3-6; Isaiah 40:31). It does not matter who has the most rules or the strictest rules, but the right rules. The ones God really commands (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Matthew 15:8,9).

No comments:

Post a Comment