Monday, September 25, 2006

Externals

There are those of us Christians who feel the need for supposed "externals" in our daily lives. By this, I mean standards or convictions. These occasionally make people either nervous or annoyed. The worst part is that often people have these convictions for the wrong reason or use them in the wrong way.
Group number one: These are people who do certain things in order to achieve salvation. The most notable group being the Amish.
Group number two: These are saved by grace people who feel like they must do things in order to please God. So they find all they can in the Bible to do. Often this leads to feeling of superiority over those who don't do the same things.
Group number three: (the group I feel the need to belong to) These are people who recognize "externals" as safeguards. For example, God hates adultery, right? Dressing modestly does not guarantee that you will never commit adultery, but it makes it easier not to. My friend Sandra who is a nice looking, 22 year old, did a week of student teaching for a man teacher. She said he was a perfect gentleman and never insinuated anything. That is not common here. You see, I think that Sandra's dress and demeanor send a "don't bother trying" message.

The "externals" do not mean that you are more holy, they just make good behaviour easier. Another example: If I do not watch tv or movies that have profanity, I am more likely not to ever use profanity. If I am constantly hearing profanity, it is more likely that some will eventually come out of my mouth, pr my kids mouths. Having a disciplined Bible reading schedule does not mean that you will automatically become a good Christian. But it does mean that you're more likely to get more from the Bible if you read it every day.

Is this making any sense?

There are those that say that convictions are for weak Christians. If that is the case, well fine. I am weak, I need all the help I can. We are surrounded by ungodliness. Our heroes fall all around us. I have convictions about my behaviour because I need them. God gave them to me to keep my happily on the Straight and Narrow.
And I am grateful.

5 comments:

Terri said...

Excellent post, Rhonda! You have made some wonderful points about "externals".

stephanie garcia said...

I appreciated your thoughts on this!

Janet said...

Rhonda, this is something I've never thought about in quite this way before. I really like this fresh perspective.

I think that the reason I don't do a lot of things is because I simply want to please God. I also fear Him. But with these reasons, it's easy to think that others don't want fear God or please Him. The reasons you gave sure puts a lot of humility into it.:)

Love,
Janet

Rhonda said...

Thank you so much, Terri, Steph, and Janet, for your kind comments.


R

Michelle said...

Interesting, I've never thought of convictions like this. I tend to agree with Janet on this. "I think that the reason I don't do a lot of things [or do do things] is because I simply want to please God." because I love Him. I know He loves me and His ways are GOOD for me.
I don't think of convictions as something that happens because you are weak. I think convictions are something that happens as God makes you a new creation. You start to bear fruit because of the work of the Holy Spirit. Convictions are the prompting of the Holy Spirit. As our relationship deepens with Him our hearts become more sensitive to Him and better able to respond. THat is what convictions are to me. How is that weak? That is obediant. In John 10 Jesus said "My sheep know my voice and . . . follow me"
I had more to say but the thought slipped away. Well, enouph said anyway for a comment!
:-)