The Voices you Choose to Listen To

Oh friends this post has been burning in my heart for a very long time.

We must be careful who we choose to listen to as Christ-followers. There are many Christian leaders who love God and have a genuine heart in loving others but they are dangerously missing the mark.

Missing the mark by adding human preferences and ideals to God’s words. Saying things like, “I just can’t imagine that a loving God would  ____________.”  or “God’s love would never allow him to _________.”

I read recently a Christian woman say, “If your theology is not changing and evolving then you are not paying attention.”

I’m not sure how I feel about that statement. I really resisted it at first.

Theology is the study of who God is. And God never changes -according to Himself. The fact that God never changes is a comfort and a wonderful truth we can hang on to forever.

We change and our understanding of God changes as we get to know him by reading the Bible. As we see and hear of him through solid teaching. As we see him in the faces of the needy and marginalized that we serve.

But sometimes our view of God changes based on our circumstances and we decide to impose human standards and characteristics on God. And therefore we come to wrong conclusions about the theology of God.

Friends, we don’t get to make up the theology of God. God tells us who he is in the Bible. And this is primarily where our understanding of God will come from. God doesn’t change. Theology doesn’t change.

My husband always says, “Theology is precise.” And he’s not a grace slayer with a capital T- truth sword ready to whack people but he understands and has helped me understand the importance of communicating clearly the whole truth of God’s word while loving and extending grace. Both can happen. Both need to happen.

We won’t always get it right. We learn as we go. Sometimes we’re heavy on truth and not enough love. Enter the term Christian-jerks. The arrogant desire to prove rightness for the sake of being right ends up hurting so many people. It’s why wounded people leave the church. Who can blame them.

Other times we extend mounds of grace and love so much that we end up enabling someone in their own sin by never sharing the truth of God’s love. The more we build a relationship with a person the more we love them. And then the closer we become to them the less we want to hurt their feelings by speaking truth to them. Truth that will ultimately set them free and lovingly release them from captivity.

Beth Moore recently said these powerful words of caution at Passion 2017:

You will watch a generation of Christians — OF CHRISTIANS — set the Bible aside in an attempt to become more like Jesus. And stunningly it will sound completely plausible. This will be perhaps the cleverest of all the devil’s schemes in your generation. Sacrifice TRUTH for LOVE’s sake. And you will rise or fall based upon whether you will sacrifice one for the other. Will you have the courage to live in the tension of both TRUTH and LOVE? -Beth Moore

I want to live in that tension don’t you? It’s not easy but let’s pray and ask God to help us with this. Let’s pray for each other. And then I believe with all my heart we can wait in expectation to see what God will do through the power and love of his message for all people.

Comments

  1. As a parent I can see the tension of grace and truth being lived out in my interactions with my children. Too much truth and I may be too stern or too strict. Ttoo much grace, and I may be enabling bad behavior which then becomes bad habits in my children, We have such a Good Good Father, and a wonderful example in the life of Jesus Oh how I need Him daily to walk in grace and truth. I love the Beth Moore quote.

    • Yes you are so right about seeing this in parenting – so very true. Do you find that you lean towards more grace or truth with one child over another? Is this code for partiality? I don’t think so. I hope not but I see where with one child I’m more “grace” and the other “more truth”. But I long to live in the tension of both.

      • Yes, at times I think that it is harder to show grace to the child that is most like you, because you want to spare them the pain that some of your own bad habits have caused you. It is something that I definitely need to continually pray. I think it is a good idea to try to tell my child that I feel so strongly about this because, and explain my struggles in a certain area. I would not want to think that I am just picking on them.

  2. Melody, I so appreciate this Word today. I have always been a Truth person, and not so good with Grace, my husband on the other hand, is the epitome of Grace, so together the parenting thing worked out! Living life in this day and time, living life in Christ means living in the Truth. He chose us to live here, at this precise time and this precise place to shine His light, and to show His grace and truth. Lord, give us that balance!

    • Parenting is where I struggle in extending grace. I am heavy on Truth and my husband is typically heavy on Grace but in parenting I think we switch. Ha! I’m kind of like a pendulum – one moment I’m heavy Truth and then realize it’s too much so I swing way far over into Grace. Balance – you said it!

  3. Gosh, this is a good, hard post. Calling it tension is exactly right. And that tension should send us straight to God and His Word. There are so many good teachers in our world, but sometimes they water down the truth to where it’s not actually truth anymore. Thanks for sharing about this – I really appreciate you perspective and encouragement. (And that quote from Beth Moore is a good one I’m going to need to read again.) Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

    • Yeah – the Beth Moore quote is a keeper for sure. A beautiful reminder of the responsibility that comes with leadership and voice of a Christ-follower.