Progression or Command?

As a Bible teacher and counselor, I confess I sometimes progress. I made up this idea, because I couldn’t come up with a succinct way of saying it … other than coining a new word/meaning. Will you humor me? Here’s what it means. When I progress, I take God’s command and make it relevant to those I’m working with…or even myself. I want to make God’s Word powerful. I want it to make a difference and improve how we live life. I want God to be glorified. And so sometimes, I expound … or progress… what God says to do. I take it a step farther.

Jesus dealt with progression.

God commanded the Jews to not work on the Sabbath. The spiritual authorities of the day, who were intent upon obeying God, needed to decide what  that meant for their culture. This is natural. Those who love the Lord and love others  want to help others understand how to love Him and others too.  So they progressed the command. Eventually, Sabbath became not an expression of love for God , which is what it was intended to be, but a burden. Jesus broke the progression rules when he and his disciples picked grain to eat on a Saturday morning, but not God’s law.

Some progression is necessary. Culture changes with time and place. The world fluctuates. Christians must use wisdom and the Spirit to decide what behavior best loves God and others. I’m okay with that. But wary. I am afraid of progressive burdens. I am afraid of what they say about God. Make no mistake. I am not afraid of God’s commands. But what kind of burdens have I placed on people that God never intended?

Sometimes God’s Word is a little hard to understand, in a practical sense. There is room for differing thought. Can I separate progression from command? Lord, teach me what this means because I’m afraid I’ve often condemned the innocent.

If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. Matthew 12:7

I’m curious what progression you’ve seen in Bible teaching and churches?

10 thoughts on “Progression or Command?

  1. I think the danger of progression is that it can be so widely accepted that we don’t even realize it until someone else points it out. I love this post because it comes from humble admission of what we all probably do on some level, my concern is that I don’t see where I’m doing it. …Maybe smoking? Maybe a group of people smoking outside my church on Sunday morning before or after service would “offend” my sense of decorum? I’ll have to think more on this.
    I can think of several examples I have experienced from others: Reading Twilight is practicing witchcraft; celebrating Halloween is worshipping Satan; real Christians all speak in tongues; the purest Christian is a stoic because emotions lead to sin and will always get you in trouble, etc.


    1. I agree its so hard to see it in ourselves. I can think of tons that I grew up with, but they aren’t my personal hang-ups so its easy to see.

      Maybe unfaithful church attendance? I’ve been critical about sporadic attenders. But, I guess its not a hard and fast rule, is it?


  2. Excellent writing! Love the idea and the confession. I knew there had to be a word for it…”progression.” Makes me want to take it a little easier on the Pharisees of Jesus day.


    1. Is it progressive to allow oneself to express pain (hit your thumb with a hammer) with “sugar mary mother magee”without feeling guilty of sacrilige? hehe


    2. Maybe in that case it depends on your motive. Are you replacing the words because you thinks it’s WRONG to use the swear word or from a desire not to offend the general public? I think it’s biblical to not want to offend and keep the general peace, but if you think swearing is wrong and that some little replacement words are somehow better…


  3. I’ve definitely been guilty of this in the past. Teaching teenagers to throw away all their rock music is probably my worst “progression”. Yikes. That’s embarrassing to admit. However, Kay, if you think teaching wives to submit is a progression, you have nothing to apologize about. =)


    1. hehe, remember what I told you the first time we went jet skiing about wearing skirts? sheesh! (smacks head)

      No where have I said submission is wrong. Quite the contrary, I’m a big believer!


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