Thank you, Buzz Light from Toy Story, for that all so fitting quote today! Last night in Bible study, Beth Moore shared on her video about how she spent a good part of her life, because of the church she was raised in (a church she loved dearly), but like some churches, they tend to focus on certain parts of the Bible and the rest of the pages might as well be stuck together. You just didn’t go there. It was too scary or too “out there” and you didn’t want anyone trying to interpret it.
But she found in her own experience she had to find a bigger God then the one she’d been told about because, in her own words, “I was such a mess.” Beth put into words what I had never quite been able to articulate in my own words. She made it very clear though that in her search for a bigger God, she made sure to stay within the confines of the Scripture. She said, “It is easier to eliminate (Scripture) than to examine (Scripture)”. The Bareans in Acts 17:11 were so balanced because they “received the message with much eagerness AND they examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
I wanted to learn more than I had been taught all my life. I needed more than the rabbit trail of verses the meeting church focuses on. Beth Moore also says, “Legalism is the easier way to live; give me rules and I will follow them. It’s easier to be spiritually legalistic than it is to be Spirit lead.”
One of the greatest thrills for me when I began my journey outside of the meeting church box was having Scripture come alive in ways it never had before. It still is. As I’ve written here before, when I began reading other translations of the Bible other than the KJV, is when that started happening to me. The KJV is beautiful but just reading the Bible with fresh eyes really helped.
Then I started (and I started this my last few years in the Work) listening to and examining all the yearnings of my heart that kept bubbling up to the surface rather than ignoring them or silencing them again. In so doing that, I began a desperate search of the Scripture as never before for scriptural answers for those yearnings and what to do with them because I knew those yearnings came from God; thereby the answers had to be from God as well. My yearnings and questions came from my heart not my head. They were real. They were strong. They weren’t wrong. I simply was looking for scriptural tools to get through life. I wanted and needed a deeper level of peace than I was currently experiencing.
Once I began the search, it never stopped. There was such a wealth to be found in all those stuck together pages. I was finding the bigger God. I was finding verses I could literally take ahold of and apply right here and right now into my life. I was terrified of being guilty of manipulating scripture just to fit an agenda so I prayed constantly, “Lord, do not let me be deceived but rather teach me only Your will.” Because I was praying that prayer with a 100% pure motive and desire, I chose to believe that God would answer it.
Again I will say “It is easier to be spiritually legalistic than it is to be Spirit lead”. (Beth Moore) It is easier to follow all the unwritten but very subliminal rules of the meeting church. The group wants to be Spirit lead and they say they are and I know some individuals who are at times, but in reality, you know perfectly well what is expected of you and what isn’t. What is allowed and what isn’t. I found myself very aware of the fact that it didn’t take faith to be in the Work because I knew what to do and the friends knew what to do.
There is today in that church a growing number of people (mostly women and girls) who are “breaking” a lot of the outward rules because they think they are old fashioned and silly. I agree. They certainly aren’t scriptural and they aren’t necessary to anyone’s salvation. They are necessary though to have the full approval of the group. Big difference.
But, if a person in that church is now refusing the rules and getting away with it (albeit the workers are tolerating it. They most certainly are not condoning the lack of conformity), the question needs to be asked of those women and girls, do you truly have a defining moment you can point to when GOD, not your own will, revealed (this is key) to you the fact that the outward rules were no longer necessary? Or are you just rebelling against the system? There is a huge difference. If you were not lead by the Spirit and you got out from the power and hold of legalism, what indeed do you have left? Where and how is God in your life now? You will fill that vacuum with something. You are free from the “rules” but are you closer to the Lord than ever? Is He more real to you than before? More precious? More dear? Are you praising Him more? Because if not, then you have simply rebelled against the group but moved no closer to God. I do remember some very “free” individuals in the meeting group who were free from the rules and who were in Christ like very few were and they were wonderful to be around.
I would encourage everyone to think of “infinity and beyond”! Think outside the professing box. Look for the God of the universe; the God of the Bible. You will love what you find! I guarantee.