Sunday, March 16, 2008

After the Ears, what ??

I would just like to post this article from Lifestream that says very precisely the dangers inherent in having religious zealousness but not understanding the way God works out His will in our hearts and guides our steps.

As I said in my previous post, having some real "ears" first of all, to actually listen and wait on God to see what He wants or does not want is sooo important.   But part of listening with our ears is understanding how God TRULY works, and what dangers there are in failing to understand this process on behalf of ourselves or another.

I remember a few years ago a very gifted man say many times that there was a possibility that he was most likely wrong in some ways . He encouraged me to search it out and hear from God myself ! He said, "I could be wrong" He said "we all could be wrong on given points". Wow I had not heard that often preached before.

Anyhow, some say, "Oh , it's the false prophets that we always have to worry about".   Well you know what, I think that if we have our ears working correctly (at least working is a start) then our hearts are in step and in tune directly with the way God's spirit works in human beings. This process vs. a very different process misguided by the enormous effort of religious people demanding conformity and placing themselves between you and God in the process...You know what, if our ears are willing to listen and we are willing to let God deal with us on where we have sidestepped this process, we will be like Him. But we won't be any better than another. We won't be any more or any less. We will be able to witness Him reach out with His heart to all, and we will make a difference. We don't try to work FOR God, but instead, as this writer says, we are simply coming alongside Him and working with Him. (co-laborers)  That's quite a contrast.

Zeal Without Knowledge

“They are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.” (Romans 10:2)

The most dangerous people you will meet on this journey are those who are zealous for God, but have no knowledge of the ways in which God works. They are the proverbial bulls in the china shop, demanding that people see things the way they do and bashing those who don’t in hopes that the added pressure will make them conform. So certain are they that their way is the only right way, the bully their way into people’s lives demanding that they conform to their interpretation of any number of proof texts. Paul understood them well. He was one. I do too; so was I.

And now I run into them frequently. One ‘elder’ told me he was going to forbid his mother-in-law to read my blog since I was espousing such great error on the body of Christ. I wonder how well that worked. When you decide it is your job to force others into truth, you prove by doing so that you think too highly of yourself and too lowly of the truth. I have found that the truth will win out in the end. It is stronger than every sin, doubt and lie. You don’t have to scream it in their ear or threaten them with punishment if they ignore you. You only need to whisper it gently and watch it grow in hearts that are receptive.

I was listening to a recording of one of the most profound New Testament scholars of our day, whose insight into the Scriptures is second to none. For an academic, I’m always surprised at the wisdom he brings to the Scriptures. At the end of this presentation, however, he offered this disclaimer: “At least two-thirds of what I’ve said today today isn’t true. The only problem is, I don’t know what two-thirds it is, or I wouldn’t have said it. And the two-thirds figure may even be generous to me.” Now there’s a man who is still growing on a journey and knows it. His humility invites others on the path to discovery, realizing our confidence can only rest in the Spirit who guides us, not the wisdom of any one human being.

The next time someone tries to bully you into their version of truth, just remember Paul’s words. There are many out there who have great zeal for what they perceive to be the truth of God. But it seems those most zealous, most miss the mark. In fact their passion seems to compensate for their insecurity that they can’t bear to admit. How do you recognize them? They are always trying to accomplish in God’s stead what they don’t consider he can do for himself. That’s what Paul went on to say, “Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” (Romans 10:3)

People who are ignorantly zealous do an awful lot of damage, and never see it because they never question their own motives or tactics. They leave a wake of abused people behind them thinking they are doing God a favor. The next time you are tempted to do something for God, just remember the damage that misplaced zeal can do to one of the kids God loves. Remember, in this kingdom we’re not asked to do anything for God. We’re invited to go along with him.

Follow alongside him and you’ll never need to bully or berate anyone else to embrace what you think is true. And when you find someone trying to do it to you, smile gently, pray for him or her, and just keep on following Jesus down the road. You don’t need their permission or their agreement. Rather than arguing with them in hopes they’ll see the error of their ways, continuing to live free is the best response you can give.

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