Alicia and I were walking back to our new home in Williams Lake and I remarked to her that one thing that really bothers me about our yard is the lack of definition between the grass and the gravel parking area. The grass is like a slow moving tide working its way up the beach, which is my gravel parking lot. I need boundaries to clearly define what is parking lot and what is yard, otherwise they join in a messy transition that does not look good. Every time I get out of my car I imagine how I will dig up portions and create clear boundaries with borders, fences, and ground covers, all designed to give me the definition and boundaries that I need to have peace of mind. I have an impulse to impose order on chaos. I wonder if anyone else feels this way?
The interesting thing is that my ‘ordering impulse’ does not contain itself to fuzzy transitions between yard and parking, but I want order in all areas of my life. This is where life becomes more complicated. The fuzzy areas of life cannot be sorted into ‘black’ and ‘white’ as easily as ‘yard’ and ‘parking’. There are times when imposing these categories may actually do more harm than good. For instance, I could say that I think smoking pot is not appropriate for Christians even if it is legal but what if a doctor prescribed smoking pot for pain? Or where does idolatry lurk in our world today?
“my ‘ordering impulse’ does not contain itself to fuzzy transitions between yard and parking”
I could see myself tearing up grass and gravel and putting in my dividers without ever asking whether I should do so or what might be effected if I do so arbitrarily. Will it effect the way water drains in the yard? Will neighbours be effected? What about little animals and creatures who have made homes in the area? The list of consequences goes on and all of this is because it will give me peace of mind to have clear definitions in my back yard.
We also live in a world that is continually tearing down the line between good and evil and declaring all things relative. The temptation is to react to relativism by saying we are therefore the people of “demarcation”, but this is not what we stand for as Christians. We stand for God’s goodness made know to the world through Jesus Christ. That means we do live according to morals and ethics (referred to in scripture as being a ‘peculiar people’ 1 Pet 2:9 KJV) that we learn from scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit, but that should not make us known only as ‘morality’ police.
Yet in this deliberation I have hope. I know that God is the one who established order in chaos right from the beginning (Genesis 1:1-3) and will continue to do so in the world and in his Church. God has seen fit to use the unseemly people and circumstances throughout history for his own purposes.
God has seen fit to use the unseemly people and circumstances throughout history for his own purposes.
All of this has made me realize that I need wisdom from above in order to sort out the difficult issues in life. I need to think twice about what I thought was straight-forward before. I need to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me as I think about issues I am facing. I need to drink deeply from the Word as I sweat it out digging out grass in some areas and replanting elsewhere.