Ideology vs integrity
‘Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good.’ - Titus 2:6-7a
When I was growing up in Melbourne, my mother taught me many important truths about the human condition. One of them was that the dishwasher at home was never to be used, Under. Any Circumstance. There were reasons behind it but it was an unquestioned rule in my mother’s house. So when I moved out after marriage and lived with Xin Yu, I was mortified that she was breaking the laws of nature and man by consistently - HABITUALLY even - using the dishwasher. It was only until she explained how much of a time saver, energy saver and even a water saver it was that I realised that this ideology my mother had taught had actually cut off a choice in my life that could have helped my post-dinner routine immensely!
Discernment and godly decision making is key to maturing as a disciple. The most powerful discipleship tool the church has is to build discernment in a disciple’s ability to choose in a Godly and wise way. Jesus urges His disciples to choose to love one another, Paul consistently writes to other ministers of the gospel to build up disciples that are not led by impulse and passion, but instead be guided by truth and self-control. A Godly disciple is able to aggregate Godly and faithful decisions over the period of their life; a life which God then uses to bring about His kingdom work into the world.
A good disciple then must be careful not to disempower this profound tool of growth by stunting it with our own human ideologies. Ideologies passed onto those we disciple, not only diminish their ability to make discerning choices in life, but may lead them to live lives less informed by God’s word. I’ve seen toxic masculinity passed on as ‘leadership’ in marriage counselling, discrimination passed on at church, and even ministers mistaking pain for ministry. We must rediscover our love of discipling our next generation to choose God and to integrate theology in their lives. Not to simply follow ideologies without examination.
Now to be clear, scripture has ideals and truths of God and God’s kingdom which every disciple must hold fast to. It’s just important to recognise that God’s truths are different than our truths. So let’s be reminded this week, let’s disciple our next generation to love to grow in discernment. To love reading scripture and to learn about God’s will and values, so they may be able to choose Christ not just under the supervision of their parents, but in every sphere and area that God may take them.