From Where I Sit
I remember one evening when my friend and I were on our way to a bible study. We were both in secular college at the time and had heard about speaking in other tongues at a lunch hour Christian group. Subsequently, we were invited to a Bible study about the subject. On the dirt road that led up to the home where we were to meet this Pentecostal group we stopped the car. We discussed whether it was a good idea to actually go to the meeting because our current church leaders warned us that these people were in error. My friend was for turning around and I actually considered doing that for a moment but then I decided I wanted more of God and if they had it at that meeting I was definitely going for it.
That was probably one of the most significant decisions I have ever made in my life ranking just below giving my heart to Jesus. At that very moment I was deciding whether or not I would yield to fear or grab hold of courage in order to lay hold of God.
From where I sit many others throughout Christendom are making the same sorts of decisions. There is always risk involved when you follow God but it seems that these days people are so concerned with spiritual safety that they discourage stepping out in faith. It is almost automatic that when I meet a Christian they ask “who is your covering” or “what is the name of your church?” In other words, who do you submit to so I can decide whether or not you are safe. Honestly, I have the greatest covering of all; the Holy Ghost. The church I belong to is the “Body of Christ.” The credential that I carry is the witness in your spirit that I am of God.
Leaders, in an effort to protect the flock, are actually hindering them from stepping out in faith and learning to fend for themselves in the Spirit. By being overly protective they promote weakness among their people and by never allowing them to fail they prevent them from learning to walk with God.
The Devil hissed “hath God said” to which Eve replied, “of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Notice that Eve added to what God said in order to somehow make His commandment seem stronger. However, we all know that even a few extra precautions won’t make the difference between faith and sin if your heart desires the forbidden fruit.
It is our hearts that we need to focus on rather than more rules, principles, or precautions. It is the inner moral conduct of the people that needs to be remade and purified by the Holy Spirit so that they do not desire the forbidden fruit in the first place. Moreover, we need to train up people so that they can individually discern truth from error instead of always looking to us to lead and guide them. The over-protectionism of the church is a disease that eats away at the courage of Gods flock until they can’t figure out what to do without somebody giving them direction.
Fear is not of God for He is not the author of it. It is the fearful and unbelieving that will not make heaven their home. Personally, I think one of the most misused scriptures in the bible is as follows:
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
2 Corinthians 11:14
This verse is used by many to instill uncertainty in God children. Leaders say that many times it is almost impossible to discern what is of God from what is of the Devil. Those who wish to control God’s sheep tell them that only their leadership is able to discern what is safe and what is not. For their “protection” they must submit to them that watch for their souls even if they feel the Holy Spirit is saying something completely different. After all, maybe the Holy Spirit that you have listened to for years might in fact be an “angel of Light” sent to deceive you. This, my friends, is just another form of “hath God said.”
I say rubbish! If you are walking in the Spirit the difference between light and darkness is and plain as night and day. If we have been walking with God for years and relying upon every word that proceeds out of His mouth to live why must we stop doing that in order to be safe? Will not God Himself protect us? Why should those who lead Gods people pump fear into our minds and souls? I say it is high time that we stop weakening those around us and start encouraging them to step out in faith and rely upon the voice of God.
Another thing that runs along the same vein is when people throw massive amounts of scripture at you in order to prove their particular viewpoints by weight rather than truth. This is spiritual intimidation and so many ministers within the Christian church are guilty of this type of brute force coercion. They use the word of God like a club rather than a shepherd’s staff. Just because someone can quote half the Bible to you does not make them necessarily right. We are to prove all things and hold fast that which is good. Proving all things is a level playing field that anyone can partake of. One clear scripture is better than a mass of inconclusive texts that do not speak clearly to the point in question.
I do not fear anyone with a Bible in hand even if they claim to have a doctorate in Greek and Hebrew. Anytime someone retreats into the “original languages” to prove their points I wonder why they needed to do that in the first place. If the scripture is of no private interpretation then why cannot their ideas be proven from translations that the majority of scholars find amazingly accurate to the original texts? Moreover, any time people draw you into lexicons and codex’s you now have no way of knowing whether or not their interpretation of these languages are correct. They tell you that the Bible you have is “not translated correctly” and that they have discovered the true meaning of the original. They possess secret Gnostic knowledge that usually proves their suppositions which now cannot be challenged because you lack the specialized knowledge to challenge them in an authoritative way. I have a simple way of dealing with such situations: If I hear my Fathers voice speaking through them and bearing witness to the revelation that they propose I listen and consider. If I do not hear my Fathers voice speaking through them and my spirit does not bear witness to what they are saying I simply do not listen. This way I don’t have to know Greek, I don’t have to be a doctor of the Law, and I don’t have to fear that they know some secret knowledge that I don’t because the Spirit of Truth will either authenticate what they say as truth it or expose it as error.
We are to fear no one but our Father which is in heaven. No one has the ability to take us out of the hand of our God. No revelation, no matter how profound or insightful will determine in the least bit whether we are accepted by God at the great white throne judgment. Teaching will save no one. If teaching could bring you into the light then the Pharisees would not have cried, “Crucify Him!”
We must want God and be willing to go out on a limb to get God. We must trust the Holy Spirit more than we trust the spirit of those around us. While Christ was being lead by the Holy Spirit to the cross of Calvary Peter said,
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”
If Jesus would have listen to Peter and played it safe we would all yet be in our sins to this very day. Here is a truth,
“There is nothing safe about being a Christian for the cross awaits anyone who commits to follow after Christ.”
Many of the churches of this world are nothing more than corrals that the Devil uses to fence in Gods people so they can’t actually go out and do the will of their Father. The sheep are literally being starved to death inside while the world perishes on the outside. So what if a church building holds 25,000 believers three times a week: big deal. What about the millions of lost souls that are waiting for a word from living epistles on the outside of those four walls? Fear is the invisible fence that separates Gods chosen from Gods frozen and if we do not stop making His sheep hear our voice instead of obeying His voice our candle sticks will be removed.
In conclusion, let’s lose our lives that we might save them. Let’s risk all that we might gain everything. Let us put away the fear that has been instilled in us and boldly step out into the unknown. We are the elect, let’s start acting like it.