Following, but How Closely? Christians seem to experience many of the same challenges and downfalls as that of the ancient Hebrew people. When spiritual and competent leadership is not present, and when we personally aren’t seeking God’s will or enjoying the benefits of an intimate and replenishing relationship with Him, we are setting ourselves up for troubled waters.
Consider this situation: Moses, then leader of these Hebrews who have recently been saved from slavery and been repeatedly exposed to God’s gracious provision and presence, comes down from Mt. Sinai with 2 stone tablets chiseled with the Ten Commandments. Having only been away for a short time and entrusting their care to his 2nd in command, brother Aaron, he enters camp to the sound of singing and celebration. A homecoming reception? No! Aaron’s weak leadership and the urging of the people compelled him to justify fashioning their gold into an idol . . . a calf! Aaron’s explanation was that “I threw the gold into the fire and out came this calf.” (Exodus 32:24)
Is this in some way what we are doing today, allowing culture to influence us so strongly that we feel pressured to craft a god and our theology to “fit in”, to not appear so different, and to accommodate values and morals that the neighbors around us embrace? To many, the way the Amish stubbornly practice their social culture and traditional mores makes them appear to be a bit of an anomaly in our modern world. Some of their practices appear to be a bit weird and even inconsistent or illogical to the non-Amish they call “English,”, yet they are steadfast in belief and practice.
As todays’ and tomorrows’ evangelicals endeavor to live faithfully by clear biblical standards, even when applying appropriate grace and truth we will be more and more seen by our secular culture and even by nominal Christians as an aberration in culture and perhaps as legalistic, oppressive and antiquated. This increases the pressure to relax or bend biblical standards and to conform to the patterns of the world (despite the Romans 12 warnings), as though this will relieve our tension and increase our favor with others. Following Jesus closely in our faith is increasingly difficult and dangerous. Practicing biblical Christianity is not for sissies. But it does guarantee God’s approval regardless of what men may think. No beards. No buggies. But how close do you dare follow? Think About It.