I flipped through a book at the Christian bookstore the other day about a woman who did something daring and unexpected. She camped out on the roof during her periods, grew her hair out, and wore a headcovering. She wanted to understand how other people felt who did those things. Even though her husband thought it was all a little weird, he understood that this was just another one of her investigative projects, and went along with it.
So, at the end of her project, what was her conclusion? Did she change her mind about anything? No. She went to the beauty salon, had her hair cut short, and decided that God’s grace exempted her from having to do any of those things. She had dedicated a portion of her life to studying “outdated” customs, interviewing some ultra conservative women, and at the end of it her only take away was that even though she understood those women better now, she still didn’t agree with them; so, back to her own, “free” life.
I wonder–was this a quest for truth, or simply entertainment?
Had she wanted to discover God’s will for her life, or had she merely wanted to get a taste of something exotic?
Okay, so I don’t think it’s necessary to go out on the roof or live in a tent during menstruation. But, let’s consider this for a moment: that is based on an Old Testament command. However, the Bible talks about the shamefulness of short hair on a woman and the need for a headcovering during prayer and prophesying in the NEW TESTAMENT (1 Corinthians 11:1-16). The reasons given have nothing to do with Corinthian culture, but with 1)God’s creation of gender roles, 2)nature, 3)the angels, 4)the male/female relationship being a reflection of God the Father and God the Son’s relationship, and 5)the need to cover up man and woman’s “glory” while worshipping God. Nothing is said about prostitutes. Nothing is said about the need to maintain proper decorum in society. Nothing is said about not offending people with our Christian freedom. No; a woman having long hair and using a headcovering are biblical COMMANDS that God meant for us to obey.
This lady thought that cutting off all her hair at the end of her project made her “free,” and symbolized her claim to grace.
I felt a little sorry for her. I saw her as being MORE in bondage than before. Rules are not always constricting, not when we follow GOD’S rules, not when those rules are for our good.
I wished she had taken her project a step further, and been sincerely willing to radically change her life, for the REST of her life, based on an intense and honest study of God’s word. But, she had stopped just short of that—sure, it was educational and exciting, but it wasn’t enough.
What about us? Do we stop just short of complete surrender to God? Are we artificially committed to Him? Are we just pretending that we’re willing to change, when we know all along that what we’re doing is just a game to prove to ourselves how “daring” we are capable of being?
God’s grace is not an occasion to sin, and we sin when we disobey His commands. It’s time to stop playing like we’re on Reality TV. Let’s be true to God’s word and His radical calling; let’s dare to be drastically different, not just for a little while, but for the long haul. There’s a word for that: it’s called perseverance. First, comes the change that truth creates in us, then comes the perseverance that makes that change lasting. That’s what I wish for all of us, and especially, that’s what I want for myself.