Each one of us faces a battle to ‘survive the anointing’; once God has redeemed us, how do we remain faithful? Is it by establishing a written list of criteria to evaluate each other, or ourselves, or is it by being totally dependent on God and intimate daily with Him? How is a believer to “guard the heart with diligence” (Proverbs 4:23)? We must daily walk with the Lord through Bible study and prayer.
A ‘wicked thing’ (Psalm 101:3) refers to content, not an object. The Pharisees (which many of us are tempted to become after we are redeemed) put many rules in place to try to obtain righteousness. Are we putting rules in place to obtain or maintain uprightness? Physical safeguards against wickedness must not be the primary means to guard our heart. While safeguards may be useful, a wrong heart can outwardly comply with the rules and give the impression of righteousness, when really our heart is far from the Lord. The Church must not be about defense, building walls to defend or confine us, but about offense, overcoming evil; “I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out” (Matthew 16:18).
When our children ask ‘why?’ we follow a standard, it is not acceptable to say, “the church asks us to”. We must slow down and explain our beliefs from Scripture, and then consistently live them out, if we hope our children will adopt the faith we claim to have. We must prepare the land for our children, and our children for the land. We must help them distinguish between technology and its application. When we simply blame an object for bringing evil into our circles, we follow the example of Adam and Eve. Blame and responsibility must stop with us. Evil comes from our heart. “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). We call you to pursue veracity, not pretending, hypocrisy, Phariseeism, which render you powerless to battle temptation, since “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). It destroys your relationship with your children. Pretending is a stench to the world Christ calls us to evangelize.
Phariseeism causes us to relate to each other out of fear, not love. This is not a healthy fear, rather paranoia implanted by the evil one. “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love” (I John 4:17-18). We must fear God, not each other. Phariseeism leaves us alarmed, wondering if we are good enough, worried we may be rejected. Phariseeism causes generational conflict, with the older scared to change, and the younger scared they are being forced to become quaint.
Meanwhile, true holiness is endangered, discarded in favor of rules. If the rules were removed from your life, what would remain as your foundation? Do you have true holiness? Rule-oriented people do not fare well when the rules are removed; when an Amish exits, it is rare that they live in true holiness, because a rule-oriented person rarely knows true consecration. Why pursue holiness? “Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
We must love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). Love motivates us to interact with the community, starting next door, by showing regular, genuine, loving interest in them. Why has God placed you and me in this neighborhood? He has a unique role for you and me. Only He can draw people to Him (John 6:44). We must show them the Father (John 14:8), not a set of rules to live by. Many near us think that being quaint brings holiness; the truth is that being quaint usually produces irrelevance. When the unsaved are redeemed, we must show them how to “Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life … and be grateful” (Col 2:7); they and we must daily thank God for His mercy. Be careful to not diminish the power of God by teaching extra-Biblical traditions to believers (Mark 7:13).
We must reconcile how we actually live, with what we claim to believe. Our identity must be in Christ, and we must live 24/7 as we tell others we do; pretending must end.
We must deal with the issues in love and authenticity.
David and Karen Brubacker