1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (New International Version)
19Do not put out the Spirit's fire;
20 do not treat prophecies with contempt.
21Test everything. Hold on to the good.
The use of the metaphor of slavery to describe our relationship with God, prompted passionate discussion and, at least for me, a lot of thought.
I learned that metaphorical language, if not relevant to the culture, becomes a barrier between people and God. If that's the case, we ought to examine our language.
Even "church" can be a barrier--an obstacle people might trip over on the way to Christ. I don't mean The Church as the universal Body of Christ, but church with a small "c," in which we do things in certain ways that must look strange to a person coming in off the street. They might mistake "church" for Christianity and be forgiven for thinking that they have fallen in amongst weird people; people who strangely enough, turn into normal human beings the moment they leave the building. A lot of what we do in church would not be recognized by the original followers of Jesus as essential to faith.
I have enjoyed reading Erwin McManus's writings, and in his book, An Unstoppable Force--daring to become the church GOD had in mind, he writes about "A Church that dares to cut itself free from atrophied practices and programs to flourish in creative and compelling worship," and about being relevant to the culture, while still being distinct, and true to the the unchangeable tenets of the faith.
I enjoyed thinking about why some wouldn't feel comfortable with the metaphor of slavery and why it made sense to me, and I learned a lot from the discussion.
McManus writes of the tendency to think that the intellect and faith are mutually exclusive and that we have a tendency to look for simplistic answers to complex issues.
I hope that the children in my life will find a real and personal faith that can be poked and prodded and explored and challenged; a faith that they have thought through and a faith they can defend.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (New International Version)
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.