You can call it a conviction that has warred in my mind, and definitely an area I know I must continue to change, and grow in my life. It is also a question that I raise to myself often, and now ask you to also consider this with me. For if you are a member of the "body of Messiah", are we not to help one another along, even as iron sharpens iron?
Is it possible to have peace, even though there may be turmoil and chaos all around us? Is it possible for joy to be full when things don't seem to be, as we deem they should be, or when things spin out of our control? Is my relationship with my God contingent on my surroundings, or my contentment dependent on my current status? Is my spiritual growth stunted or diminished because of another? Or is my spiritual well-being a matter between myself and my Lord and no other. Can I blame my lack of growth on "failure to be fed"?
What is happening all in the name of "Christianity"? Why is there such strife among believers? Is doctrine such a massive issue to our Father, that is pleases Him to see His people divide themselves, (ourselves) over it? We gravitate towards building so much off of a few verses and leave the greatest command and the second alone. Love. Isn't that backwards? The greater commandments should always take precedence over the lesser.
For instance, the parable Jesus told of the Samaritan. Were the Levite and the priest, justified by the law for passing this almost dead man? The Law forbade touching such a one who had a discharge, and/or was dead, and doing such, would have left them ceremonially unclean. But according to the words of this "law experts" own mouth (Luke 10:25-37), the greatest teachings are, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deut 6) and with all your mind" and, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19). Jesus was saying that loving God, and their neighbor, were greater commands than the ordinance or teaching of uncleanness. And on these two greatest commands (love) hangs the whole of Law (Torah) and the Prophets (Nevi'im). This is what he taught in Luke 11:42 (Matt 23:23) as well when he said, “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." Also in Mark 12:28-32 Jesus was asked which was the greatest.
My point is, here again love was the greatest commandment, even over sacrifice. He wants our heart. Always the heart. That is the message of the Torah, the Writings, and the Prophets. Actions follow the hearts condition. If our Father indeed has our hearts bound in a love relationship, what need do we have of binding our hands? It does not matter what religion or denomination you are in, each one does it in one form or another.
Some are written laws, some spoken and others yet, unspoken. As one who is learning to walk in the Spirit, listen to His voice, desiring to live a life of truth and be wholly dedicated to His service, I want to be humble. We are all on a journey, and over time (if we are following His leading) we WILL change. But even so, I would rather be found to err on a "major doctrine" in Christianity than err on the greatest command spoken of very plainly and clearly, not only by our Lord Messiah, but even agreed upon by the contemporary law (Torah) expert of His day as to the greatest command in the law (Torah) given by Yahweh through the mouth of Moses, love.
Now taking that thought one step further, it seems to me that there are many people, who are die hard on minor commands and doctrines/issues, but let slide in their lives the greater. I must protest and suggest that this is not the way it should be. For if the love of the Father, and the love between believers where in their proper spheres, all these other issues would resolve themselves. This leads me to my next thought.
Love cannot be manufactured in of ourselves. We CANNOT give what is not ours. We CAN give what is given to us, "the Love of the Father". If that love is not coming out, it is not there. If the Love of the Father is truly in you, you will not be able to contain it.
There are so many who claim to be of the household of faith, but the religious attitudes, the devotion to doctrine, and tradition over love screams and reeks of death and distance from the Father.
If we are not willing to take action ourselves, how dare we even think about pointing fingers at others. All this fighting and distancing over such petty issues has got to stop. We need one another. Messiah wants us all to function as one. We are all built into the same spiritual temple as he. And if we can keep that mentality, we are on the journey of brotherhood he desires of us. What is it that sustains me from day to day?
At the end of each day is my glory found in my doctrinal stances, or is it in my relationship with the Father, and the love shared with brothers and sisters in Messiah? I choose the latter. I am not trying to imply that doctrine is not important, but it is not the greatest.
Why is it that we as humans love to complicate such simple concepts that God has given? Making ourselves out to be wise, we become as foolish ones (Rom 1:22).