Christian Liberty and the Law of Wisdom

There are a lot of extremes under the banner of Christianity. That’s not too surprising, because people in general are extremists. We discover an idea and run with it until it becomes our guiding doctrine in life. It’s human nature.

The frightening thing about Christianity is that there are very few rules. People like rules. It is easier to open a book and find a rule than it is to seek the face of God. I’ve heard many people say, myself included, “I just wish God would spell it out in the Bible, it would make things so much easier…” Easier, yes… but then where would wisdom come in? Seeking wisdom means seeking God, a continual dependence on Him. When you have a rule for everything, then there is no need for wisdom, or really any kind of relationship with the Rule-Giver.

People burned by hyper-conservatism and legalism, tend to take their Christian liberty and run the other way. Like a prisoner suddenly set free they gorge themselves on ice cream and lollipops because they can. After awhile, they’ll wake up with a bellyache and wonder why God didn’t stop them or something… Well, friends, it’s called wisdom. And God gives it freely to those who ask. 🙂

The ideas so many of us grew up with—homeschooling, courtship, stay-at-home wives and daughters—these are not mandates found in the Bible. Oh? Then why should I practice any of these things? It isn’t a matter of should or shouldn’t, but of wisdom. There is wisdom found in all of these things, but God has not commanded us to do any of them because, really, it is a very individual thing. Homeschooling is a brilliant idea… but it isn’t for everyone. The same goes for any other gray area we find in the Bible. Wisdom is knowing what is right for ourselves and our families.

This makes many people uncomfortable because we want everyone to be like us. It makes us feel more comfortable in our own choices. So, we tend to take very good ideas and turn them into rules. That way we can say to our neighbor, “Hey, you should be doing this…” instead of “Hey, I’ll pray with you about this decision… may God grant you wisdom.”

My husband and I are planning to homeschool our children, not because we think it is the only way, or even because we think it is a flawless concept. It isn’t. My parents were leaders in the homeschool community and we saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. 😉 We are hoping to avoid the mistakes we saw, but we won’t be perfect. Even so, we feel homeschooling is the wisest choice for us in light of what we see around us.

I am only using homeschooling as one example… the same concept can apply to really any of it.

There is so much freedom is realizing our lives don’t have to look like everyone else’s. In fact, I think once we realize that we don’t have to keep looking at others to make sure we’re ‘doing it right’ we’ll be spending a lot more time looking up… which is infinitely sweeter.

photo by Natalie of a California coastline


  1. Thank you so much for writing. Legalism is something I really struggle with. So often I just feel like running in the opposite direction, to a lawless land, but that isn’t God’s will ’cause it’ll hurt me.
    I don’t date and I’m not sure whether I’ll court or not, but it’s always nice to know I just need to follow God step by step instead of following a formula that’s been prepared for me.
    God calls people to different things. In eighth grade I felt called to go to public school, almost as a ministry. People thought I was crazy and sometimes I really wondered if I was doing the right thing, but now I see God’s using me, even in little ways, to show his love to his children who are hurting. There are so many things God’s prepared for us, dating and non-dating, public schooled or homeschooled, etc. I don’t want to miss it because I’m too stuck in my own plans.
    I plan on being a stay at home mother when I grow up and I’m probably going to homeschool my kids. I feel like I’m called to the ministry someday along with my future husband and I can’t wait.
    Thanks for this blog. It’s so encouraging.

  2. Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing this. I well remember the day, a few years ago, that I realized what freedom is available to us in Christ. Being raised so much by rules caused me to view Christianity as a set of rules rather than a personal relationship with God. A burden literally fell off my shoulders when I realized that!

  3. Dear Lauren,
    Thank you for your thoughts! I am intimately acquainted with the Scriptures you point out, and also the application of them by many conservative Christians, and while I am not here to argue that it isn’t a parent’s responsibility to raise their own children, or that principles of courtship can’t be found in the Bible, we must be very careful not to take these verses out of context and base whole doctrines on them. Proverbs 31, especially, is a description of a wise woman, but not necessarily a set of commands for our individual lives. 🙂

  4. It does seem clear in God’s Word, however, that the responsibility for a child’s education and upbringing is given to the parents (Deuteronomy 6:7). It is the parents’ responsibility to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), not to pass on that responsibility to the state or other institutions.

    Also, we find the principles of courtship in Scripture. We are called to do our husbands good “all the days of our lives” (Proverbs 31:12), not just after we are married. This means not becoming dependent on or “falling in love” with other men, not looking for men to give us attention and protection. We are to keep ourselves entirely for our husbands – physically and emotionally.

    Women are called to be “keepers at home” (Titus 2:5). Keeping the home is a woman’s first and foremost responsibility. Throughout Scripture, we do see that a woman’s place is in the home, not off working for and with men other than her husband.

    These are not just my opinions, and they were not revealed to me by special revelation. God says each of these things to every man and woman in His Word. The beauty of our faith is that we can proclaim truth with confidence. It is not *our* truth – proclaiming that would be legalism – but God’s truth.

    Thank you for providing such wonderful food for thought!

    In Christ,

  5. lovely photo, Natalie! 🙂

    And good article, Elizabeth. I thank God for freedom from legalism in my life, but must constantly then seek wisdom to walk the walk He has for me personally.

  6. Amen! Amen!
    It’s easy to read the books about “how to do it” and want to follow the rules to “be safe” and have the results guaranteed.
    Who hasn’t read the courtship/betrothal books and wanted to have the results – no broken hearts, no relationship messes – that they tell you will result from following the “formula”?
    Following rules feels “safe”… but in reality, the Presence of God is the only place with fulness of joy and true safety!

  7. Thank you for sharing this with us, Elizabeth! It was so good… it’s so much easier to want to go by a list of rules instead of seeking God for His wisdom. And we can’t do something just because other Christians are doing it if we haven’t sought out God and His Word ourselves on the issue – but it definitely takes more effort that way!

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