It can be very tempting to align ourselves with an ideology or movement, can’t it? Usually we’re attracted to a particular way of thinking because there’s something in it that speaks to our deepest beliefs and values, or because it just makes too much sense.
There’s nothing at all wrong with taking an interest in the different ideas and philosophies out there. The difficulty only arises when we adhere to one man-made (read, “imperfect”) ideology to the exclusion of all others.
When God created us, He gave each one of us a unique purpose to fulfill. The purpose for one person is not quite like the purpose He established for any other person, just as you and I are not quite like anyone else. We will be hard-pressed to fulfill the roles He had in mind for us if we adopt someone else’s mission and values. Once we tie ourselves to an ideological bandwagon, how can we be sure that it’s going to go in the same direction that we were designed to go?
Compare this somewhat over-zealous adherence to ideologies and movements with the situation in the early Corinthian church as described in 1 Corinthians 3. Basically, the Corinthians were parading about in bandwagons labeled “Followers of Paul,” “Followers of Apollos,” “Followers of Cephas,” etc. Far from being flattered by the loyalty of his adherents, Paul condemned their folly and recommended a new perspective:
So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you.
—1 Corinthians 3:21–22
How freeing! All things are ours. Not just the things pertaining to any particular philosophy, whether it’s about financial independence, environmental sustainability, or just simple living. All things!
With such a wide sphere in which to move, why not make use of it? Let’s:
- Make ourselves familiar with as many of the hows and whys of country living as we can.
- Scrutinize the validity, usefulness, and suitability of each different opinion to our own situations.
- Compare each new idea with our convictions to see what fits and what doesn’t.
- Adopt the best, and only the best, from each philosophy.
In the end, we each will have pieced together the information we need to carry out our own unique purpose.
Next week: Part 3 – Persevere