At Least LOOK Outside the Box

August 21, 2013

in Be a grownup, Change, Seeing Clearly

Last Sunday our pastor finished a three part series with “Gathering Mini” – meeting one on one or in groups of three – specifically meeting for mentoring and discipleship. He asked a few people to share an example from their life, and knowing I am always happy to talk, he tapped me.

I spoke about Jay, a man God sent at the right time to make a huge change in my life. I was in my early thirties, and I was still walking mindlessly in what I had been told was the truth. I knew what the Bible said because I had been told what it said, and I knew how Jesus would have voted. I was reading and studying the Scriptures for myself, but I didn’t question or challenge much of what I had been taught in the fifteen years since I began actively following Jesus. I had moved past most of the legalism, and was no longer a Pharisee in training, but I had a long way to go. Looking back, I see I was starting to move in the right direct, and I was ready for someone like Jay.

Outside the box © Master isolated images | freedigitalphotos.net 

Box? What Box?

Jay was an ordained minister who had worked with a large, well-known ministry for years. He could have written his own ticket with a number of churches and ministries, but he felt God calling him to something else. He moved to Austin, Texas, a town he had no connection with, and got a job as a cab driver. He was assigned an area on the edge of the University of Texas. He befriended another driver who was president of the local N.O.W. chapter. He connected with “The Lost Boys” – a group of mostly teenage runaways who made a living primarily from homosexual prostitution – and they called him their Chaplin. He ministered to the strippers who used his cab to get to work – with dozens of them getting saved and one forming a help group to move women out of that life.

Jay was not conventional by any definition of the word, and he had been “out of the box” for so long I doubt he knew where the box was. While he was only a couple of years older than I was, he was far more mature in the Lord. I guess he saw in me the potential to look beyond what is said to be the truth, and find real truth. Whatever he saw, he befriended me, and became a true mentor. Jay didn’t teach me in a traditional way, he challenged me. He questioned what I believed; forcing me to the Bible to see if what I believed was there. Some of it was there, and some was there but not quite as I believed. Some things were not to be found in the Bible, and some things I believed turned out to be contrary to the clear truth of the Bible! I discovered I had been lied to, and that I had too often accepted the lies without doing due diligence to check what I was told. One thing I never doubted in all this was God. I didn’t think He had misled me, or might not be real; I understood people had lied to me, or passed on lies they thought were truths. My faith was strengthened as I set aside the traditions of man for the timeless truths of God.

I say all of this because we are all walking in lies.

We believe things about God that are not true. We believe things about right and wrong and what we should do that are not correct. We also believe lies about marriage, and about who our spouse is and who they should be. None of us (me first and foremost) will ever be free of all the lies in this life. If you think you’re free of lies you’re more deeply deceived than most. If you think you have most of it right, or most of what is important right, you’re probably deceived. 

If you choose to live with what you believe, you are choosing to continue in lies. Only by challenging what you believe can you discover where you have been misled. I’m not talking about throwing everything out and starting over, and I’m not talking about replacing what you believe with a different set of traditions and beliefs. Ask God to show you where you have less than the full truth, and know He is eager to show you more of His truth (James 1:5-6).

If you do this, it will change your life, and it will change your marriage. There’s likely to be some turmoil for a time, but in the end, things will be far better than they are now. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

By the way: Had Lori and I not learned to go beyond what we were told was true, The Marriage Bed and our blogs would never had happened. 

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5 comments
Oysterbed7
Oysterbed7

Your ability to even contemplate that you are in a box is a revelation for some.  Like you said, this kind of thinking is more natural for some than others, whether by nature or nurture.  The apostle didn't even get it right (I don't know if I would say they were believing lies, but they certainly didn't get the big picture.)

Give yourself permission to question!!  But, you can't just stop at the question.  It will solidify your faith as you dig deep and find answers.  God doesn't want 'mindless' followers.  If we are to walk as Christ, Christ certainly wasn't mindless.  He stirred it up with the status quo.

You are right, the turmoil of coming to terms with false beliefs may cause upheaval.  But, isn't your marriage and your walk with Christ worth it?

@janna94 I think you did an amazing thing by contemplating the question of Christ's deity and then finding the answer.  We cannot take anyone's word for it, only God's.  

(I am right smack dab in the middle of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.)

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Oysterbed7 @janna94 We are all in boxes, all of our lives. Just understanding that is the first big hurdle.

"(I am right smack dab in the middle of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.)"

September's must read book!

jbenbully
jbenbully

Deep thoughts that most of us will not take the time to consider. However, our reality is indeed what we make it based on what we are willing to accept. Also, most of us are scared to consider different thoughts or question others because our world will come crashing down around us if we have build our house on shifting sand. Most had rather be wrong in comfort than be right and stand alone and seperated from the fellowship of our current choice. So, We MUST know where we are right and change where we are wrong and that itself is a journey that can last our lifetime.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

@jbenbully I'm sure you are correct, but I have not felt this way in a very long time so I find it hard to "get it". Even before I met Jay, I was far more about finding the truth no matter what that might mean for what I have believed or done in the past. This seems to be how God made me.

I do understand that this questioning is easier for me than for most, and I try to take that into account. Still, I see it as what God expects of us, not an option of something only a few can do.

janna94
janna94 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Such excellent advice and words of truth.  I'm learning that anytime something or someone comes against a "belief" I have, I go back to Scripture and see what it says, and study it myself rather then go off of what "I've always believed, because that's what the church or my parents told me."  Here's an example, in our church we had a guy challenging the leaders about the deity of Christ and that He wasn't God.  I could have just stepped on the other side of the argument and said, "Yes, He is." and not looked further into it.  But I wanted to know what Scripture said, and that I didn't just believe Christ was deity because that's what the "church" said.  This was something so basic, yet fundamental to our Christian beliefs, that maybe I shouldn't have had to research it, but I wanted to know and have a standing on Scripture, that Jesus is God, not just depend on "doctrinal statements" of a church.  Now, I go around with an assurance on the deity of Christ and if that belief is ever challenged again, I know the answer.

Thank you for continually urging me (or us) to look outside of our box!

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