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Holiness?

Note: This is a companion post to Heart Keepers.


And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 1Tim 6:8

We were born with basic needs. To survive, our bodies need food and water. We need clothing and shelter. Asceticism and austerity are often preached as holy living; extreme self-denial manifested among many aspects of legalism and man-made tradition.


1 Cor. 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.

Colossians 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Food, clothing, shelter . . . and coffee?


Many of us wither under guilt for daring to consider anything other than these very basic necessities as true needs. I want to know: when did holiness come to partially be defined as basic survival? To see how little we can get away with, and still exist? Why is it considered not as holy to thrive and to flourish?

Here is a common passage of Scripture used to justify these things:

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Others believe that to acquire more than the elemental needs in life leads to materialism and focus on unrighteous pursuits. Did you often hear the phrase, "Do without!" during your life? It can become almost a challenge for some, to see how little they can get by upon. Some, like the Amish, forgo electricity and other modern "conveniences." Others argue, we don't NEED electricity to survive; we don't NEED telephones, or running water, or new shoes. Some go so far as to imply that if we want something, it is automatically material for self-sacrifice and therefore our wants reflect innate carnality.

This mentality is not limited to physical manifestation. These very ideals are blanketed across the entire personhood of those born into such environments--in this case, the daughters of emotionally abusive parents.

Steve Hein, a humanist who works with suicidal teens and founder of Eqi.org, has created a list of what he considers basic human emotional needs. Prayerfully consider some of what he has to say. Whether or not you agree with his philosophies, this is something that I believe the Church needs to address.

Here are some of the basic human emotional needs expressed as feelings. While all humans share these needs, each differs in the strength of the need, just as some of us need more water, more food or more sleep. One person may need more freedom and independence, another may need more security and social connections. One may have a greater curiosity and a greater need for understanding, while another is content to accept whatever is told to him.

In various degrees, each according to his or her own unique nature, we each have a natural emotional need to feel:
accepted
acknowledged
admired
appreciated
approved of
believed in
capable
challenged
clear (not confused)
competent
confident
forgiven
forgiving
free
fulfilled
heard
helped
helpful
important
in control
included
listened to
loved
needed
noticed
powerful
private
productive / useful
reassured
recognized
respected
safe / secure
supported
treated fairly
trusted
understandng
understood
valued
worthy
--Steve Hein
In our righteous zeal to break away from the world, I believe that we lose sight of the balance that is important to sustain the health of our minds, hearts, souls, and bodies. Just as God's gift of sex is good, yet has become tainted by our culture, I believe that these emotions and feelings are necessary to our wholeness as women created by God, even if secular teachers have elevated them to improper heights. Do not underestimate the exigence of these things; our merciful Savior can both save and redeem what He has created and instilled within us.

Please do not make God a liar by ascetically insisting that these are not good, and not vital to life. Do not deny the blessings that these can bring upon you--as well as the discipline, for those of us emotional creatures know full well the paradoxical nature of these things.

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

How is your emotional life?

Have you been robbed of an abundant heart?

As daughters of God, I believe that He delights when we flourish before Him and live with passion and feeling. To exult in your womanhood and to offer yourself a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, are not mutually exclusive. Dear sister, live! For the glory of God, live!



4 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for these past couple of posts. You are so right on and such an encouragement. Looking forward to more. :)

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  2. I recently spoke to a young male christian teacher at my daughter's school. We discussed one of his students who had been offended by the teacher's preaching in class, and his insistence that the student's religion (not christian) was wrong.

    I asked this teacher whether he had apologised for the offense and sought to offer the student some respect regardiing his different beliefs.

    The teacher told me he thought 'emotions weren't logical' in this situation and therefore he didn't need to apologise for causing offense because the offense itself would cause this student to eventually come to Jesus.

    I would like people to find Jesus too, but not at the expense of their integrity or their emotions as this young teacher thought.

    This teacher's approach was very paternalistic and it worried me that young christian men think it's ok to walk all over other people's emotions because they are 'doing it for Jesus'.

    Meg

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  3. Thank you! I wish my family had understood this a lot sooner. Some of them still don't understand. I thank God that I now let emotions be a normal part of life like they should be. :-)

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  4. I like your last paragraph. It kind of sums it up, doesn't it?

    Emotions are good. They tell us things and open our eyes, I think, to things we might not see otherwise. I have enjoyed what I have read of yours. You seem to keep some of the balance. Sadly, I see so many throw the baby out with the bathwater. You don't seem to do that. I commend you.

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