Discipline in your faith Part 5 – The Way of Death Turning the Disciplines into Laws


Met die vorige inskrywing het ek gekyk na die term “gedissiplineerde genade”, en ook na die twee misleidende weë tot verandering en genesing: naamlik slegs menslike pogings teenoor geen menslike pogings. Maar die vraag kan ontstaan of daar enige gevare is wat saam met die dissiplines kom. In hierdie inskrywing wil ek so bietjie kyk na ʹn moontlik weg na dood: wanneer die dissiplines in wette omgesit word.

In the previous article I looked at the term “disciplines grace”, and also at two misleading ways toward inner transformation and healing: namely only human strivings versus no human strivings. The question could arise weather there are any dangers connected to the disciplines. In this article I want to look at a way of death (as Richard Foster names it): when the disciplines are turned into laws.

Ek haal steeds aan uit hoofstuk 1 [I’m still quoting from chapter 1]: The Spiritual Disciplines: Door to liberation.

Die Geestelike Dissiplines is bedoel vir ons opbou. Dis bedoel om die oorvloed van God in ons lewens in te laat kom. Dit is egter moontlik om dit in nog ‘n stel sielsmoordende wette te omskep. Wet-gesentreerde Dissiplines bring net dood.

ʺThe Spiritual Disciplines are intended for out good. They are meant to bring the abundance of God into our lives. It is possible, however, to turn them into another set of soul-killing laws. Law-bound Disciplines breathe death.”

Jesus het geleer dat ons verder moet gaan as die (self-)regverdiging van die Fariseërs en Skrifgeleerdes. Kyk wat sê Hy in Matteus 5:20: “Ek sê vir julle: As julle getrouheid aan die wet nie meer inhou as dié van die skrifgeleerdes en die Fariseërs nie. Sal julle nooit in die koninkryk van die hemel ingaan nie.“(1983-Vertaling) Let op dat hulle geregtigheid nie iets kleins was nie. Hulle was meer getrou in hulle navolging van God as weet die meeste van ons is. Maar hulle geregtigheid was gesetel in die beheer van eksterne faktore, en meestal die manipulasie van ander. Die manier hoe ons wys dat ons getrouheid meer inhou as dié van die Fariseërs en skrifgeleerdes, word gesien in die vlak waarin die innerlike werke van God in ons harte gedemonstreer word. Die werk is innerlik, maar die resultate is uiterlik.

Jesus taught us that we should go further than the (self)righteousness of the Pharisees and the scribes. Look what He says in Matthew 5:20: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV) Take note that their righteousness was nothing small. They were more committed to following God than many of us. But their righteousness were found in external factors, mostly in the manipulation of others. They way in which we show that our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, are seen in the level in which the inner workings of God are demonstrated in out hearts. The works are inward, but the results are outward (external).

Sodra die Dissiplines omskep word in wette, word dit gebruik om mense te manipuleer en te beheer. Ons vat uitdruklike bevele en gebruik dit om ander in “trokke“ op te sluit. Die gevolg hiervan is trots en vrees. Trots neem oor, omdat ons begin glo dat ons die regte soort mense is. Vrees neem oor, omdat die krag om ander te beheer gaan gepaard met die angstigheid om beheer te verloor, asook die angstigheid om deur ander beheer te word.

As soon as the Disciplines degenerate into laws, it are used to manipulate and control people. We take explicit commands and use them to lock others into “prisons”. The result of this is pride and fear. Pride takes over, because we start to think that we are the right kind of people. Fear takes over, because the power to control others goes together with anxiety to lose control, as well as the anxiety to be controlled by others.

Indien ons wil voortgaan (en groei) in die geestelike roete, sodat die Dissiplines ‘n seën kan wees en nie ‘n straf nie, moet ons kom op ‘n plek waar ons nie gedurig ander wil beheer nie. Hierdie behoefte alleen is waarskynlik die grootste ding om die Dissiplines te omskep in wette. Sodra ons ‘n wet het, het ons ‘n uiterlike maatstaf om ander te oordeel. Sonder wette bly die Dissiplines ‘n interne werk en is dit onmoontlik om ander te beheer. Sodra ons waarlik glo dat die innerlike verandering God se werk is en nie ons werk is nie, kan ons ophou om ander te wil regstel.

If we want to continue (and grow) in the spiritual walk, so that the Disciplines can be a blessing and not a curse, we have to get to a point where we don’t want to control others all the time. This need alone are perhaps the biggest thing to turn the Disciplines into laws. As soon as we have a law, we have an external measuringstick to judge others. Without laws,Disciplines stays an internal work and it is impossible to control others. As soon as we truly believe that the inward change is God’s work and not ours, we can stop trying to straighten others out.

Hoe het jy al in die verlede dinge gebruik wat veronderstel is om geestelik te groei, as wette waarmee jy ander veroordeel het?

How have you used things that are supposed for your spiritual growth, as laws with which to judge others?

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