My Country Quest

Follow along our journey back to the land. This is where we will record our thoughts, musings and dealings with terrible dragons right here for your viewing pleasure.

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Location: Missouri, United States

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Spiritual Elitism vs. Simple Obedience

Spiritual Elitism vs. Simple Obedience
I am living, and so are you, in a world where we take for granted that the denim-skirted-matching-homemade-jumper-clean-cut family sitting next to us in church is born again. It's infuriating to me that we view modesty and apparel as a thermometer for the condition of one's soul. Not SO. The more I see it, the more frustrated I become and the more willing I am to cast off any of the trappings of this life. Denim skirt included. Because I was a Pharisee of the Pharisees.. goodness, I still am. Listen to me rail. Sorry. But I do know that I want CHRIST. Nothing more, nothing less. And I'm willing to accept and obey Him however He wants me to. Please forgive me my rantings. I am disgusted with myself.
Now I am being told in no uncertain terms that for ME (please read that part friends) for me, wearing a skirt all the time was something I was doing to gain favor in God's eyes and mans. A badge of honor. A piece of respectibility. Something that raised my merit, my worthiness. I was trying to convince everyone around me that I WAS a godly woman. And I was trying to do it with the outward apparel. lol Funny, the scripture that says NOT to focus on outward apparel is the one I never cited in respect to clothing!!!

Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; ~1 Peter 3:3

I wanted to believe that I had pursued God, obeyed His every word right down to the clothes I wore. I NEEDED to believe that I had found every little thing I could find to obey and had done so to the best of my ability. And the clothes and hair was the easiest part and the one that "showed".

The energy I was putting into "looking" like God wanted me to look (or so I thought) should have been put to better use. Specifically, as outlined in the following verse:

But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. ~1 Peter 3:4

These Scriptures tell me that what I wear within the realm of modesty shouldn't amount to a hill of beans to me or anyone else. Because it certainly doesn't to God. On the same subject, I just finished reading the book about Amy Carmichael "A Chance To Die" written by Elizabeth Elliot. She was strictly chastized by her sending missions department for adopting native clothing. Not only did it call to question her respectability (no corset for goodness sake!) but also her obedience to authority as a woman AND a missionary. She found no scriptural reasons to maintain Victorian fashion in the heat of India, nor did she find it to be in any way beneficial to her calling there as a missionary. Quite the contrary.

There, as here, there was a stigma attached to English dress. They stood out, were easily identified as "missionaries" and thus the lost they were trying desperately to reach closed their hearts to them. BECAUSE OF THEIR DRESS. They perceived that the missionaries held themselves loftily above them. And many many of them did. This perception closed many doors to the gospel. And many of the doors were closed by "acceptable and Christian attire" that the missionaries wore.
Of course I'm not trying to simplify the issue of reaching native cultures by delegating all of the problems to fashion. Not at all. There were a great many things that hindered the Gospel message then as they do today, the simplest of which is choice of apparel.

What I am saying is that Amy was not afraid to break ranks, to be radical, to slip quietly and unobtrusively into the midst of the lowest of lowlies. She could NOT have done this dressed in over 20 pounds of English costume. Practically or theologically, it would have been wrong and unfruitful for her to have tried. In fact she did. It was quite a long time before she switched over her entire wardrobe to the sari.

But when she did. Look out world!! What blessings and miracles began to flow through her fingers into the hands of the outcasts!!! Obviously, her change of clothes didn't effect this change. Her change of heart did. Her change of "I have an agenda." to "I will obey." changed everything.
And I want to see miracles and reach the lost in my little circle as well. Just as radically as Amy Carmichael or Elizabeth Elliot, or Mary Magdalen, or any of the other women in history who served in their communities through their simple acts of kindness and obedience to the Holy Spirit's leading and His Word.
Let me not be guilty of keeping tradition at the cost of keeping the commandments of God.
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the
commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God,
ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups:
and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them,
Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep
your own tradition. ~Mark 7:7-9

1 Comments:

Blogger agodlyhomemaker said...

great post!!!! should be recommended reading!

6:23 AM  

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