Thursday, April 05, 2007

How do you DO that?

There are a number of things that the Scriptures enjoin us to do, or recommend to us, and we don't have a handle on how to do them without sinning. I'm thinking of things like dancing (David in 2 Sam. 6:5), or drinking alcohol (Ps.104:15, Jn. 2:1-11), or shouting loudly (Ps.42:4), or how to throw a feast (Deut. 16:13), or making loud, fast, exuberant music (Ps.98). All of these things, I think we can all attest, can be used for sinful purposes. So how is a person supposed to learn how to do them in ways that glorify God? I would suggest that these are some of the reasons that God gives us elders. Elders in the church need to teach the congregation how to do these things. Which means that they need to learn how to do them themselves first.

I'll just take one of these as an example. I think that the cure for alcoholism, not to put too fine of a point on it, is that a man needs to drink with his pastor or elder every time he drinks, and to drink in the Church, at the Lord's Table. The wrong kind of company (either unbelievers looking for a buzz, or by himself) always leads him astray with drink. What he needs is godly company who will inspire him to enjoy, rather than abuse, God's good gifts. Someone that he can be accountable to in a godly way. Someone who loves him enough that they would be disappointed if he started slobbering in front of them, enough to make him wish to avoid such behavior.

But the same thing happens with worship as well. If the elders train a church how to sing exuberantly in worship in God-glorifying ways, the kids are less likely to show up at the rave. Learning how to sing whole Psalms at a good clip with lots of expression is like eating steak... who wants a hot dog afterward?

1 comment:

Des Jones said...

Hi Jamie,

This reminds me of an adage I have heard. Speaking of drink (and the principle can easily apply elsewhere), our response to irresponsible drinking need not be reactionary teetotalism, but rather responsible drinking, and in a way that honours the Giver of wine. Referencing your other post, there is no inherent sin in the thing of alcohol, for that sin resides only in the heart of man. One of the ways that sin affects us is wanting to blame our sin on the object instead of owning it ourselves. (and when I say 'us' and 'ourselves', what I really mean is 'me' and 'myself')