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Luke says,

And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”

Acts 18: 24-26

Sometimes we need someone to show us the way of God more perfectly

The Truth is that Apollos did the best he could with what he had.  According to the light he possessed, Apollos taught others about repentance (the baptism of John).  What is commendable about Apollos, though, is that when Aquila and Priscilla told him about the way of God more perfectly he accepted further revelation.  Apollos took the truth and did even more good for the kingdom of God.

Don’t be trapped by doctrine

Some fall into the trap of becoming so entrenched in their doctrine that they refuse to re-examine what they believe no matter how ridiculous it becomes.  India has “sacred cows” which are venerated for various religious reasons and walk the streets of  Bombay while people go hungry.   To the western mind this is absurd.

Mark Twain, remarking on such absurdities said, “Holy Cows make the best hamburgers.” Likewise, some people’s dogmatic stand on doctrine to the exclusion of all reason causes their belief system to become equally as absurd.  Here is a truth,

“The hallmark of legalistic doctrine is that it always devolves into absurdity when applied to real life.”

To those bound by legalism, it matters not that their doctrine actually works, it only matters that they believe it is correct.  Reason plays little part in a legalists’ view of the scriptures because their theology does not have to be reasonable.  If their doctrine says it, they believe it, and that settles it.  Granted, if your doctrine is true and you are firm in that belief that can be a good thing.  However, if the real-world effects of your doctrine, like India’s sacred cows, are ridiculous, then it should just be converted into hamburger.

Refuse armchair Christianity

Legalism is, at best, armchair Christianity, and at worst,  preparation to accept the coming Antichrist.  Legalism is theoretical belief irrelevant of practical experience.  However, when incorrect dogma meets the real world, something has to give.  I have seen those bound in legalism, time after time, suddenly modify their strict beliefs in order to accommodate their personal experience.

Like tying strings from house to house in order to increase the range of a Sabbaths day journey, neo-Pharisees construct workarounds to the limitations of their own doctrines when they become personally inconvenient.  In fact, many times the only time a legalist will change his or her doctrinal viewpoint is when real-world application of their belief causes them personal pain.

For example,  let’s examine Unholy matrimony

So it is with divorce and remarriage.  Legalists demand that real-life marriage conform to theory, and until real life happens to them, they never question the consequences of their beliefs.  Until they find themselves in an impossible situation, in which their doctrine fails miserably, they never consider alternate possibilities of interpretation.  They care not that other people suffer for their beliefs so long as they don’t personally feel any pain.

Here is a very difficult truth,

“God wants to divinely author every relationship that takes place. If God does not author your choice of spouse,  He is not bound to honor or bless your union. If your choice of mate is not pleasing to God, He may lead you to Divine Divorce.”

I say this inconvenient truth knowing full well the rage that many may feel towards it.   However, someone has to say it so that those who are bound by ill-considered choices might have hope.  If you wed unwisely, out of the will of God, ask Him what He wants you to do.

The truth is, your heavenly Father may lead you to stick with it because He intends to do a miracle in your marriage.  However, God may choose to dissolve your marriage so that you and your spouse can marry again, but this time in His will.   People around you may not understand how and why you are being led to do that which seems unlawful, but you must obey God’s voice rather than be cowed by others disapproval.

Here is a truth,

“God made marriage for man and not man for marriage.”

If you are reading this essay, consider why God led you here and ask Him what He is trying to say to you.  I speak truths not generally understood and rarely articulated.  However, the point of being Spirit led is to  “trust God more than your own mind.”  Therefore, allow your heavenly Father to do whatever He wants even if others do not understand it.  God’s will is always more important.

Legalism kills

Legalism is harmful; it even kills.  It is what the Pharisees believe gave them the right to reject the son of God.  In reality, the religious leaders delivered Jesus up to be crucified out of envy.  They did so while pretending to protect the people from a religious heretic.

Today’s legalists carry out the most terrible choices under the same logic. They believe they’re protecting the poor and helpless masses from error by any means necessary. Such Legalism moved the Pharisees to move the people to yell “crucify Him!”  They rejected God manifest in the flesh, the one true God that they no longer served or knew. Here is a truth,

“If you do not like the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, you do not like God Himself.”

In conclusion, don’t camp where God has been,  refusing to move on to where God currently is.  Don’t languish in the hot, dry desert of the “was”. To be where God was is to be absent from where God is.  You can’t enjoy God’s blessings if you fall behind and refuse to move as He moves.  Learn from  Apollos example and be receptive to the way of God more perfectly. Amen.

Teachable by Jessica Connelly