Monday, June 4, 2018

A time when I only wore dresses

There was a time in our early Christian life when my husband and I fell into a rather legalistic way of thinking.  By legalism, I don’t mean that we believed salvation was attained by our good works.   Rather, we believed following certain rules for Christian living made us godlier, even though those rules were not found in Scripture.    There was really nothing wrong with having such preferences, as long as it is understood that they fall into the area of Christian liberty and cannot produce true inward holiness.   We had become somewhat like the bewitched Galatians  whom Paul rebuked,  Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Gal.3:1 
Because we had been part of the 60’s counter culture before the Lord saved us,  we were eager to shake off all vestiges of sin and worldliness.   Neither my husband or I were  raised in Christian homes so we were vulnerable to any teaching that sounded Biblical—how were we to know the difference?  
 Our lack of sound theology coupled with a sincere desire to please God made us and many new Christians of my generation ripe for the pickin’ for false teachers like Bill Gothard and his Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts. 
During our “monastery years” we had no TV, newspaper,  didn't listen to secular music or go to movies,  and I wore only dresses.  Easter eggs and Santa were anathema.   It’s no wonder my in-laws thought we’d slipped a cog.   
I’m so thankful that God keeps His promises even before we’re aware of them. 
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6 
Even though I wasn't aware of  how self-righteous I had become,  I’m still thankful for those early years because God is sovereign right?  And there are some things I still miss.    
For one, since this was long before personal computers and cell phones, and we had no TV,  I  spent more time reading and enjoying  fellowship with other Christians.  Back then more people had an open door policy and the coffee pot was always on.  
We also hosted a monthly prayer meeting in our home  with an elderly retired missionary to China who brought boxes of missionary books for sale. Occasionally she'd bring a missionary  on furlough from Asia who shared spell binding stories and prayer needs. I’m thankful to have heard firsthand accounts from missionaries who  had experienced God's miraculous protection as Communism was taking over.  I’m also thankful that I got to read about great missionaries like Hudson Taylor, J.O.Fraser, and Rachel Saint. 
I doubt I would have enjoyed such spiritual richness as a young Christian had God not lead us on the path we were on at that time.  
 Growing in grace and knowledge of the Scriptures is a lifetime process and the Lord still reminds me to be patient with other believers who don’t dot their I's and cross their T's exactly the way we do. 
 I don't regret that there was a time when I would only wear dresses.

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