A couple weeks ago, I wrote about some truly tragic events that have unfolded within the Christian homeschool movement. I wrote about it to remind people how important it is for us to know what the Bible says and to develop our own walk with the Lord through reading His Word.
After speaking in Greenville, I met dozens of parents who have been affected by “unsound teaching” within the homeschool movement. Some are just coming out of it. Many of them were in tears as they spoke to me on the convention hall floor. Many of their stories were heart breaking.
I know what it feels like to be set free from the expectations of others. When I finally decided to stop seeking the approval of others to define my walk the Lord, it was life changing. It was as if the oxygen in my spiritual life was always at 75%. Enough to keep me alive but not enough to thrive. Not much room for joy. It was suffocating. Not just for me, though. It was suffocating to those around me. I just didn’t know it.
Our culture is desperately in need of the grace and forgiveness of Christ. Unfortunately, we spend too much time arguing about areas of personal freedom—only to cause division within the body of Christ. I believe the Church, has had about all the division it can handle. It’s open season on Christianity—but we’re not girding up for battle. We’re too busy majoring in the minors to notice we’re losing the cultural battle.
I speak a lot about spiritual warfare when I travel. Why? Because the real battle is a spiritual one. It’s got very little to do with the stuff that ends up tearing us apart most of the time. The devil doesn’t care how he sidetracks us. He’ll veer our little car off into a ditch on one side of the freeway or the other—and he doesn’t care which side so long as we end up in a ditch.
Personal freedom that is taken too far and extra biblical “mandates” that are substituted for the central message of the gospel seem to be the ditches of this generation. Either way, it’s a losing proposition for Christ-followers.
Church! We’ve got important things to talk about!
“Be of sober spirit. Be on the alert! Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion
seeking someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
Peter is telling us that we have an adversary so formidable that he is actively seeking to devour us! The devil is our real adversary—and while he doesn’t care about small issues himself, he’ll use them to distract, discourage and divide us with them. If it can keep us from sharing the gospel, it’s good enough for him. Funny thing though, the devil doesn’t need to come like that lion when we’re busy devouring our own with man-made rules and other “religious” distractions.
I see more division in the church these days than I do in politics. The worst part of this is that most of the time, the things that divide us carry no eternal significance with them at all.
I pray that the Christian community will stop majoring in the minors. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, let me give you some areas where we have lost sight of what really matters:
Major: Education. This is a big deal. Education matters for a million different reasons, chief among them is that education is never neutral. We had better care about what our children are being taught. We’ve seen the tip of the iceberg with regard to the devastating influence godless education has had and is having on our children.
Take back ground that the enemy has held for generations by caring about the education of your children. Yes!
This is worth fighting for. Bring it.
Minor: How we educate our children. I know many of you reading this are feeling offended right now because, like me, you’ve chosen to homeschool your children. I believe in homeschooling. It’s an amazing opportunity to shape and influence our kids, to keep them sheltered (yes, I believe in that too) until they’re mature and ready to engage the culture. The opportunity we have to impact our children through education is amazing.
Homeschooling is not the answer to the problems we’re facing in this culture. It’s not going to save my kids from corruption or inoculate them against rebellion. It won’t keep them from having sex outside of marriage. Homeschooling is not the answer. It’s a tool that is helping millions of parents raise their children and prepare them for the world. Homeschooling is awesome, but it’s not the gospel.
When we worship a form of education, it’s no different than worshipping an idol.
There’s no power in homeschooling apart from Jesus. None.
Major: Defending the unborn. I’m 100000% pro-life. I marvel at Christians who say they believe a woman’s right to choose is more important than her baby’s right to breathe. I don’t understand how an entire generation of innocent babies have been murdered in my lifetime. There’s no excuse for it, especially when there are thousands of couples who would love to adopt and care for a baby that’s not wanted. The Bible is very clear on God’s view of murder. This is a no-brainer. The Bible has a lot to say on the subject. We are without excuse.
“Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.” Jeremiah 1:5
Minor: How many kids you have. Children are a blessing. The Bible is very clear about God’s view of children. He loves them. He says we’re blessed if we have them! How sad that we’ve gone from seeing them as a blessing to seeing them as a measure of our spirituality. Even more sad: the fact that we’re judging others based on the number of children they do or don’t have. (This is felt very keenly at homeschool conferences, where kids are often seen as trophies and status symbols.) I’ve spoken to many women who have felt wounded by others who regard their choice to have a small family as somehow inferior to another’s choice to have a bunch of children.
How about instead of talking about the number of children we have, we talk about how we can best point them to Christ?
Major: Modesty. I know, many of you are not going to like this either, but it’s true. We live in a culture that has forgotten the importance, no, the preciousness, of human sexuality. We’ve bought the lie that it really doesn’t matter how we dress—but it does matter, for lots of reasons. It’s sad to see such a precious gift lost in this culture.
I want my girls especially to know how precious their bodies are. I want them to respect their own bodies and keep themselves for their husbands. I hope our daughters and sons see in their parents a great mix of modesty and, dare I say it? Style. (I did marry a guitar player.) Let’s talk about what really matters.
Minor: How we live out modesty. Why must we convince others that our decision to wear a certain type of clothing is somehow better than someone else’s? I grow weary of the “why we only wear skirts” posts floating around online that try to make others feel that they are somehow inferior. Honestly? This culture could care less about whether or not women wear pants or skirts. We don’t bring people to Christ by wearing a skirt. We do it by putting on love.
Modesty is first an attitude of the heart, and then an act of the will—and God is looking at our heart. Let’s let our other sisters in Christ develop a sensitivity to the Spirit rather than trying to tell them what clothes to wear. Christians can disagree on this. Let’s talk about what really matters. At the end of the day, we’ve got much bigger issues to grapple with. Let’s stop telling people how to dress and start telling them how to find eternal life.
People need Jesus. They don’t need a list of things to check off that make them feel “good enough” for God. The Bible says that even the best things we do don’t deserve the grace that God has showered upon us—so why are we reluctant to give grace to others? Because it makes us feel better about ourselves. As a recovering Pharisee, I can tell you this is the truth.
It’s easier to follow a checklist of do’s and don’ts than it is to do the harder work of studying the Bible and listening to God for ourselves. Right? I think that’s why we gravitate so easily to a checklist.
We’re not so different from the people of the Bible. Israel wanted a King. So they got one. We want a formula. So we make them. But there is no formula for following God. Our formulaic approaches to life choke the Spirit out and leave us dependent on men rather than God. (This is never a good place to be.)
We live in a culture that is literally crying out for “hope and change.” We’ve elected a President for two entire terms based on the promise of hope and change, only to be disillusioned and disappointed because real hope and change will never be found apart from Jesus. Period. Without Him, we would have no hope.
If you have Jesus, you have the hope of glory within you. You have the change that our thirsty culture is crying out for. Let’s talk about Jesus and stop talking ourselves and our convictions up.
It was for freedom that we were set free. We are infinitely loved. We’ve been redeemed. We’ve been forgiven. We have hope.
Let’s talk about that.