There was a little backlash to my post. Some found it judgmental – even though I clearly stated that my intent was not to judge but to simply open up dialogue.
Others called for me to focus on what really matters. Just like people said about Veronica Partridge and her leggings.
While I agree that debating, getting angry, and posting mean comments is a waste of time – time that could be better spent winning souls – I do think that dialogue about these issues is important.
Here is why I think we should care about these smaller issues.
1. Jesus cares. Jesus said that even the idle words we speak will be judged. In other words, it matters what we do, what we wear, what we say, what we think – even what’s in our heart when we do these things.
Does Jesus care if we wear leggings? Does He care if I drink coffee? Sure, if we feel a conviction about these things. Yes He does.
And I believe that initiating dialogue about it is a very healthy thing for the body. Because it gives other believers opportunity to examine their hearts and lives.
Perhaps a brother or sister has felt a nudge in that direction, but needed a bigger push to examine their heart and what they feel God is saying to them. Perhaps someone has a similar conviction, but is feeling pressure to compromise, and your story is the encouragement they need to press on.
2. The bigger picture contains important details. If all we do is focus on the bigger picture without taking time to examine the details that make up the bigger picture – the details that would alter the bigger picture if absent – we are being careless.
The fact of the matter is that Veronica’s decision to honor her husband and not wear leggings is useful to the whole body. She is illustrating for us something more than simply what she chooses to no longer wear. She illustrates for us virtue and submission. Two things we are called to by Scripture to cultivate in our lives.
My decision to quit caffeine was based initially on a desire to be healthy and reverse Adrenal Fatigue, but quickly advanced to a knowledge that my body’s dependency on a substance – however minor or severe – was displeasing to God. If a substance alters my moods and causes me to be anxious and worried because of it (a clear violation of scripture) or cranky without it, it’s time to make a change.
3. Testimonies were meant to be shared. And that’s what these two stories are all about. Neither Veronica nor I were pointing the finger and telling other believers what not to wear or what not to drink. Both of us clearly stated that this was, in fact, not our point, rather the point was to share something the Lord had spoken to us to do – and the result of our obedience to Him.
A testimony. And testimonies are meant to be shared so as to encourage and edify the body.
Sadly what has resulted can only be described as a major dysfunction in the family of God. One woman’s story about how she wished to honor her husband and lead a virtuous life ended up being a national controversy in which she was demonized, excoriated, and crucified….by other Christians.
And the end result has been a loud cry to “Shut up and move on to more important matters”.
But I leave you with this: We can make our sole vision to win the lost, but if in the process small foxes eat away at the vines in our heart, where does that leave us? If we choose to ignore the little things that influence the larger areas of our character, what will that do to our testimony?
If we call for those who are sensitive to these smaller details to pick up their toys and go home, could we possibly be missing a still, small voice of the Holy Spirit calling us to greater virtue and sanctification?
While some may argue that these matters split hairs, we must not forget that the Word addresses details about food, clothing, modesty, and all the rest – along with the larger issues of winning the lost and spreading the gospel.
A true testament to the fact that He indeed cares about small matters of the heart – and so should we!