18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. ~~Galatians 5:18-24 (NASB95)
I don’t know why Twitter has been putting her posts in my feed for the past few months. She isn’t someone I have the slightest desire to follow. All my interactions with her have been fruitless attempts to show her why her position goes well beyond Scripture, and weeks ago I decided to stop trying to inject any reason into the conversation. But her Tweets keep littering my feed, all pounding out the same monotonous message that she’s been tweeting for goodness knows how long.
Even if her message didn’t transcend the boundaries of God’s Word, her fixation on one little area of theology troubles me. I have to wonder whether or not she’s made some sort of idol out of her pet doctrine. Her presentations show little grace toward those who question her perspective, and even less interest in the Lord she claims to represent. I could be wrong, but it certainly appears to me that this woman focuses so intensely on her crusade that she’s become blind to anything outside her small realm.
I’m deliberately not mentioning her favored topic in this post because I don’t want to distract from my main point. It really doesn’t matter what personal drum someone beats; if that drum is the only thing someone plays, we should have serious concerns about her spiritual health.
To be clear, I do understand the value of maintaining a focus in one’s writing (and yes, Twitter can be considered a form of writing). My favorite professor in college often said, “It’s better to write a lot about a little than to write a little about a lot.” Furthermore, one of the first principles of blogging is finding a niche audience and centering your blog around that niche. Therefore, it’s perfectly reasonable for someone like the woman on Twitter to have a specific theme for the bulk of her posts. In some respects, she’s possibly a good example of using social media intentionally, and maybe the rest of us should learn from her.
That said, I believe she’s fallen into the opposite extreme of being so consumed by her chosen agenda that she’s become one-dimensional in how she presents herself. Quite bluntly, she says the same few things over and over, so that she’s become predictable and repetitious. People pretty much know what she’s going to say. Sure, she writes a lot about a little, but that lot doesn’t deepen or add to what she’s already said. Something tells me that my college professor wouldn’t exactly approve of this approach to writing a lot about a little.
More to the point, it appears that this woman has made an idol out of her one theological point. Admittedly, my only exposure to her has been through Twitter and her blog, so I am willing to concede that she could be a brilliant conversationalist in the church fellowship hall or gathered with her friends. But the narrow scope of her online writing indicates a fixation with one tiny area of doctrine to the exclusion of anything else.
In her idolatry of this single issue, she has become quarrelsome and divisive. When others use Scripture to challenge her dogmatic pronouncements, she abruptly dismisses our arguments, showing no interest in considering what the Bible actually says. Consequently, her passion for obeying God in this solitary area actually causes her to disobey Him in the long run.
I fear that this woman has inadvertently allowed her passion for this one piece of doctrine to eclipse her passion for Christ Himself. Recently I asked her what she’s been reading in her personal time in the Bible, and what hymn means the most to her. I’d hoped to encourage her to look beyond her agenda to Christ Himself, wanting some indication that He is her primary focus. At this writing, she’s failed to respond. She insists that obedience to her husband requires her to teach exclusively on that one topic. If that tweet was an indirect answer to my question, I can only point out that I didn’t ask her to teach; I asked her to simply share a little about her relationship with the Lord. Surely her husband couldn’t object to that.
Once we idolize a pet doctrine, we easily succumb to other fleshy behaviors. Usually, we exhibit various forms of anger towards people who Biblically challenge us. Even worse, we generate unnecessary division within the body of Christ by ostracizing anyone who disagrees with our position. According to Galatians 5:18-24, such behavior indicates that we walk in the flesh rather than being led by the Spirit.
All of us struggle with the temptation to idolize favorite doctrines from time to time, so I want to be careful not to take a self-righteous attitude towards this woman. Instead, I want to learn from the experience. I must continually check my heart to see whether or not I allow any pet doctrine to obscure my vision of the Lord. I know that an unbalanced commitment to a single doctrine — especially to the exclusion of the broader aspects of obedience to the Lord — carries a dangerous potential of drawing me into fleshy attitudes and behaviors. In the end, my zeal to stand up for that single doctrine will more than likely lead me to act in pride and anger instead of humility and gentleness.
The Lord desires us to stand firmly on Biblical doctrines, refusing to compromise with the world. But He never wants us to become so attached to one isolated doctrine that it replaces Him in our affections. As godly women, let’s stay balanced, saturating ourselves in the whole counsel of God as we walk by His Spirit.
One thought on “When The Focus Is So Narrow That You Lose Sight”
DebbieLynne…..your blog is for women and you gotta know we are SO curious as to the identity of your Twitter pal! I keep trying to figure out WHO she is. Curiosity killed the cat, etc etc.
All kidding (?) aside, I am praying for you in this difficult time of sudden loss of John. We all love you,