I had an interesting situation happen to me this week while picking up some groceries from Costco. While at the check-out stand I ran into a couple of neighbors. We exchanged some pleasantries and joked about the length of the lines in the check-out. As I turned to leave, apparently my tzitzits became visible to them. Immediately they embarked into a litany of gaffes about my tzitzits and how strange and outlandish they looked on me. I suspected they had some idea as to what these precious emblems symbolized and meant, but being loyal members of a major mega fundamental Christian Church in our city they likely did not agree with my wearing them.
I didn’t respond to their gaffes but simply continued heading out to my car with my groceries. Their gaffs didn’t upset me as I’ve experienced similar responses from my co-workers and some of my subordinates at the office in the past. If there was any response I had from this encounter, it had to be the realization I had that living a true Messianic lifestyle was not meant to be an easy one. The interesting thing is that the greatest challenges will not come from the “world” per se, but from those who are close to me such as my family and those I would consider as friends.
Why would this be so? Well, the Messianic lifestyle flies grossly contrary to the status quo of fundamental Christianity. Sadly, fundamental Christianity has become, over the centuries, so society friendly that it has seemingly become part and parcel of our worldly, secular society. This, in and of itself, spells problems down the road for all those that love Jesus Christ and look forward to His appearing. Why, because familiarity often breeds compromise and that my friends is where the problem partially rests.
History clearly bears for all to read and understand a number of events and missteps the Church of God took which sadly led to a movement away from the true message that Jesus gave to the first century church and the Faith that was passed on to the first century church by the Master’s Apostles. But enough commentary for the moment.
I’ve come to learn that the Messianic lifestyle is foreign to Christianity, Catholicism, and Judaism. What’s the deal with that? Well, there is a disparity in fundamental Christianity from the standpoint that we follow the fullness of Scripture and the teaching of the Messiah without spin and without leaven…no manmade traditions and pagan elements supporting the Faith. The disparity with Catholicism is simply from the standpoint that the Catholic Church is headed by the so-called Vicar of Christ, aka the Pope, and thus the Messiah has no place whatsoever in the mix. Then of course there is Judaism, and the disparity rests simply with Judaism’s refusal to accept Jesus (Yeshua) as Messiah. Thus, any reconciliation with any of these three religions is an impossible situation to say the least.
But the Father is calling for His chosen to be separate or holy (Hebrew=Qadash) For I am Jehovah your God: sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am holy: (Lev 11:44 ASV). Only the Father can stipulate to us what is holy and what is unclean. He has delineated in His Word that which is Holy and that which is not; specifically in His Torah. The common denominator seemed to be: don’t do as those nations around you are doing; don’t live as those other nations live; do this instead. Interestingly, all those other nations did not know Yehovah from the standpoint of Him being a God they could associate with or even understand apart from what they heard or in rare cases saw Him do for the wandering nation of Israel. These nations worshipped gods made of wood and stone and metal with histories dating back to Babylon. Those nations did not value life and were prone to sacrifice their own without any apparent regrets.
So you may be thinking: Rod, what does any of this have to do with you wearing fringes extending from your pant loops that certain people had an issue with? First off, I am not in any way insinuating that the wearing of fringes or tzitzits makes one holy for certainly it does not. What I am saying is, for the Messianic Believer to be holy as the Creator has demanded that we be holy, it is imperative that we act and do as the Father has commanded us to do. By doing as the Father commands and by succumbing to the work of the Ruach Ha Kodesch (Holy Spirit) in our lives, we become holy and acceptable to Him and thus we can have that rare relationship with the Creator of the Universe that only a few chosen throughout history have ever possessed. The wearing of the Tzitzits as directed in Numbers 15:38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue…and
Deuteronomy 22:12 Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself– provides me a constant reminder of the Father and His expectations of me throughout my day. In addition, it is a symbol to the world of my dedication and relationship with the Father. Many times throughout my work day I’ve been faced with situations that would challenge my handling it in a Godly manner and simply feeling the fringes or seeing them dangle from my pant-loops gently brings me to a place where I am inclined to address the situation from a right and just perspective.