Today I’m definitely speaking specifically to people who use the term Christian to define their faith journey. I’m also clearly making (as I always do) a few assumptions about what that means based on what I’ve learned and believe about God. We can’t get away from that. So if you find yourself responding with, “That’s ridiculous!” please ask yourself and spend time replying to this wonderfully layered question: What’s my faith framework?
As Christians, we often try to make decisions based on what the Bible has to say. This is a normal process, something we consider a good part of faith and practice.
I’m not sure but from what Paul did say and do, I’m quite sure he’d take the hard road no matter what it looks like. First he might begin his letter with something about how much he values us, how much he prays for us. Then he’d call us, his congregation, to pursue a lifestyle that’s extremely counter-cultural and uncomfortable. Perhaps he’d name it a thorn and implore us to persevere, reminding us that this struggle is bigger than us and that God is with us. Eventually he’d wrap things up with the grace of Jesus Christ and we’d be left feeling pumped to pursue the written will of God. That is, until someone uttered the word, “Huh?” And someone would, because today we don’t take words from “on high” to heart nearly as readily as people have done in times passed. And regardless of times, there’s always at least one person, it seems, who’ll bravely speak from their hip when the topic is hard to hear.
I guess, from what I’ve been able to imagine, I don’t think Paul would have anything to say that would satisfy us. And even if we go back to our WWJD position, we probably won’t find anything there that satisfies, either.
But what if we’re not looking for literals? What if we’re willing to look at the big salvation picture, the reality that what God has wanted since He created is to commune with us, His creations. And with the entrance of sin, we’ve not been able to do that well at all. So the sacrifice of Jesus gives us an opportunity to enter into a life-giving relationship that, if we surrender to, will transform us and one day get us back to face-to-face communion with God. The sex questions we struggle with now, the decisions we make about sex, all of that should be guided by this overarching narrative within which God says,
I made you and want to spend time with you (Genesis 1& 2) yet not everyone agrees (Genesis 3-Revelation 20). So I’ve been doing all I can (Whole Thing) to have a relationship with you. Please commune with Me, stay with Me (John 15) and help others do the same (Matthew 28; Micah 6:8) so that one day all who are with Me can move on with Me to perfect times (Revelation 21, 22).*
If you’re reading the Bible, searching for direction, then read on; read it all. And as you read and after you read, if Jesus is Lord to you then ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to what you should know and what you should do. Then listen. And listen. And listen some more. Then, when you know that you’ve heard and what you’ve heard, follow. Respect it. I know that’s hard to do yet we must.
*Don’t worry. I know these passages don’t represent everything.