Back when I was a youth pastor, the game Dance Dance Revolution was big. If you don't know, Dance Dance Revolution is a dance video game, in which the players step on appropriate squares when the screen tells them to. If you do the game correctly, it simply looks like the player is dancing to the music on the game.
One time I took a group of students to an arcade, and a number of them started playing the game. There was one student who had practiced the game regularly, so he got on the machine and got a great score. But while he was getting that high score, he looked wooden and awkward.
The first student knew the steps. The next students knew the music.
For years this has served as an illustration to me for how we respond to God's commands. God's commands are the dance steps. He tells us to forgive one another, to be patient with one another, not to lie to one another, to reserve sex for marriage, and to do a number of other things that we often find difficult.
Sometimes we focus all of our attention on the dance steps. We obey God's commands in a way that looks wooden and awkward to people around us. Technically, we are getting the steps right, but it misses the bigger intention.
God doesn't give us commands that are arbitrary. He doesn't write out dance steps that make no sense and then demand that we follow them. There is a music, a bigger intention, behind the dance steps he gives us. When we grasp the bigger intention, the dance steps seem more natural to us. When we understand that bitterness leads us into slavery, then the dance step of forgiveness makes more sense. When we understand that lying is destructive, we naturally desire to be honest. When we see the destructive impact of casual sex outside of marriage, the idea of remaining celibate doesn't seem so burdensome.
On December 2nd, at Life Bible Fellowship Church, we held a special event that addressed biblical manhood and womanhood. It involved a formal teaching time that I did, and then a Q&A time with me, my wife Karina, and then Gary and Miriam Keith. You can watch the video of it here.
Instead of focusing on the dance steps of submission and headship, we looked to explore the music behind these dance steps. Commands that tell men and women to play different roles in the home and the church seem jarring to us because, in our culture, they seem like unnatural dance steps. But if we understand the beautiful music of the God-given differences that God has created into men and women, the dance steps will come more naturally to us.
This is an introduction to a series of upcoming posts on the subject of biblical manhood and womanhood. It is also an invitation to listen for the beautiful music of God's good intentions for us, not only when it come to this subject, but to all the life-giving commands that God gives us.