Let me be clear here: I am not talking about being part of a church that has written standards that line up with or are stricter than your own convictions. If you are a part of such a church you have agreed to uphold those standards and therefore, in my humble opinion, you should uphold them! If, as is often the case, the standards were made a very long time ago and half of them aren't being kept by half of the people or they don't make sense in this day and age but no one is willing to talk about changing them, maybe it's time to either a) follow them anyway because that's what you agreed to do or b) find another church!
But what if you find yourself in a church where there are no standards, or where the standards are way more liberal than what you want for yourself, how do you decide how God would have you live your life? Please, no offense to anyone here, I'm just trying to be practical --- How do I decide whether it's important to wear black shoes to church Sunday morning? If the 'scarfy deal' (as some people around here call them) is the thing everyone is wearing these days, is it ok if I join the crowd? If sewing trim and ruffles and extras on dresses is the norm, how do I decide what's ok for me? If other little boys wear shorts when it's hot and some little girls wear pants when it's cold, howIf a small, lacy veil is considered having one's head covered, should I consider that sufficient for my head too? I could go on and on here, but you get my point.
This reminds me of a conversation Chris had with one of our children. The child had done something and argued that we hadn't *said* not to do that! Chris said, "But come on, you knew it wasn't a good idea, right?" The child had to agree that they knew. Then Chris said, "There doesn't have to be a RULE about everything. Who makes me behave??" Weeeelllll, the child was sure that he's an adult and therefore he just....behaves! We laughed about that, because we know you don't just suddenly become an adult one day and magically start behaving!
We say that if we just KNEW what God wanted us to do, we'd do it!! The truth is, most of us are like the child who knows deep down when something isn't a good idea but a lot of times we just don't really feel like behaving! There's not always a specific rule that God spells out for us, but usually if we want to please Him we know deep down what He wants us to do.
I really think that's what God longs for from us - I know that's what I long for from my own children! Yes, it pleases me if they keep the 'rules' we make for them as a family. But what I really want to see, what makes me the happiest as a parent, is when I see my children in a situation where I'm not there to spell out how to behave and they behave anyway!