Do you have a method for testing the spirit of things according to 1 John 4:1? Recently I have been sharing concepts that are outside the box for some believers and way outside my wheelhouse for many years. During my early youth pastoring years in my zeal I threw away a student’s yoga video she’d left at the church. I thought I was doing her a huge favor by keeping her from deception! And look at me now, a Holy Yoga instructor!
My journey began with a car accident and massage therapy to assist my recovery. I was in the midst of a major life transition. Sometimes we must reinvent ourselves. I look back now and graduating from college as a licensed massage therapist set me on a journey of discovering God in a way I had never known existed. He broke me out of old paradigms and demoed walls in my heart and mind. CS Lewis gives this colorful imagery:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the beams right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, make courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
When I write about energy, vibrations, healing and God I am not limiting Him to a disconnected, uncaring, bundle of energy that we can manipulate. In fact I am on a journey discovering how limitless He is! Energy is simply one aspect of His multifaceted person. To be clear: I will spend ETERNITY exploring Him! And in regard to healing, there are a few more ingredients in giving and receiving healing besides high vibrations, such as compassion and faith.
It’s truly a beautiful thing that God gives us the liberty to search out the depths and mystery of who He is. There are a handful of standards I measure concepts by to determine if it draws me closer to God or compromises my relationship with Him.
Here are my ESSENTIALS:
I believe there is only one God, who exists for all eternity in 3 persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Revelation 1:8)
I believe that God has revealed Himself to us both through His creation and His Word. (Romans 1:20, Hebrews 1:3)
I believe God continues to reveal Himself to His people through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9, John 16:13-14, 1 Corinthians 2:12-14, 2 Corinthians 6:16)
I believe there is only one way to God, through His Son, Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 43:10-13, John 14:6)
I believe God made forgiveness and redemption available to all who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. (1 Timothy 2:3-4, John 3:16-18, 1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
I believe the Bible is absolute truth. It is the divinely authored and authoritative Word of God. It is complete in its canonical form. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Luke 24:27)
What I would describe as NONESSENTIALS are those beliefs we have that are left up to interpretation. Some believe in speaking in tongues and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today, while others believe we must never cut our hair and wear long dresses and still others believe we should not have instruments in church worship. It is our different interpretations that give us a variety of denominations but not salvation (an essential).
Now while the ESSENTIALS are the lens by which we view everything many times we throw on a cultural filter as well. For example: tattoos. In our American culture some view tattoos as a sign of rebellion and surely they must be an unregenerate soul marking their body for the dead! (Leviticus 19:28) (I know this one well even as a pastor’s wife I have been shunned by people in the church for getting a tattoo.) However, I spent a short time with an unreached people group in the jungles of Nepal whose women tattoo from their fingertips up their arm. Every year on a couple’s wedding anniversary the wife tattoos another ornamental band. It’s a beautiful symbol of celebration that grows each year. These people are completely unaware of our very differing cultural view. It’s all up to interpretation and we have the liberty through Christ to find our own path.
I believe God is the creator of everything. His fingerprint, breath and DNA are present in all creation. Therefore I do not believe that if a particular culture discovers a universal principle that it is only tied to that culture’s religious beliefs. While they can integrate religion, the principle itself remains a creation of God. For example, vegetarianism first originated with ancient Greek and Indian cultures. Being vegetarian was promoted by religious leaders and philosophers. To choose a vegetarian diet today however does not infer that the individual is Hindu or practices Greek Mythology, correct? Even Daniel abstained from eating meat for a time. I have spent many years as a vegetarian for dietary health reasons and it does not conflict with my ESSENTIALS.
There are several disciplines we practice in Christianity that are also practiced in other world religious. Buddhists meditate, so should Christians not practice this spiritual discipline as described in Psalm 19:14? What about prayer and fasting?
Let’s discuss yoga: a NONESSENTIAL. Did you know that the asanas (physical postures) of yoga were developed more than 5000 years ago? Today many associate yoga with being inseparable from the Hindu culture however its roots were developed long before Hinduism coming along only 1000 years ago. I practice Holy Yoga. Given my essentials, who do you think I am praying to for strength when I am holding a plank for a million breaths?
Like yoga, chakras are not mentioned in the Bible therefore its’s one of those beliefs to measure against our ESSENTIALS and left up to interpretation. Here’s my interpretation! Our infinitely brilliant Creator saw in all His wisdom to create man with a circulatory system and this circulatory system has pathways. He created our nervous system and it has pathways as well. We have an energy system and it also has pathways called wheels and meridians. If you have had an acupuncture or acupressure session then you have tapped in to these energetic pathways. Chakras and Meridians are just as much a part of our anatomical make-up as a finger or a kidney. Even though you cannot see your kidneys, you know they are there. Especially when they begin to become dysfunctional and cause illness. Same with dysfunction in our energy system.
Don’t take my word for it! I encourage each of you to know your ESSENTIALS and to test every spirit by the Spirit of Truth that has taken up residence in you! Be confident that you are not deceived by a spirit giving false witness and able to give an answer when asked about your beliefs. I also encourage you to allow everyone the freedom to explore their own interpretations. Our journeys are all different. The 21 year old Me would have called this 41 year old Me crazy! Thank God for His grace and patience leading me into everlasting truth.