A quick word of encouragement this wonderfully wet winter Monday morning…
If you are a genuine believer, every single decision of importance that you will ever make will be opposed by somebody else – especially other Christians.
About twelve years ago when we left the abusive religious group we were part of, we had to re-inspect every element of our belief system. In fact, we had to recognise that a ‘belief system’ is not what Jesus died to give us. We have a relationship with Him, and a part of the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ. We are united with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But we had to look at alot of issues we had not previously considered because we had lived in a religious bubble for 15 years. The world was much bigger than we thought.
Did we believe the gifts of the Spirit, miracles, casting out demons, speaking in tongues etc are still active today or not? Were we cessationists or continuists? I shake my head as I read that sentence. We are brothers and sisters. Thats. It. Yet, such is the environment today, there is far more error in the Christian church than we ever thought possible. Our little cult experience was the thin end of the wedge. We still had to understand the arguments that well meaning believers put forward and understand what scriptures actually taught, rather than what somebody told us they taught. We had lived in a church which did not practice any kind of faith in God, it was all about faith in men and in erroneous religious traditions. We had to learn to weigh the arguments and decide for ourselves, a scary thought. So, in the end, we settled in our hearts that yes, we believe the Holy Spirit is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He still heals, still delivers us from the enemy, still sets us free, still heals the brokenhearted!
Then there was the old ‘place of women in the church’ issue. Did we believe it was OK for women to preach in the church or did we believe that women should ‘remain silent’. Having spent 15 years being told everything that went wrong anywhere was the fault of women, more specifically wives not ‘obeying their husbands or the elders’ and watching women’s marriages and families torn apart by controlling meddlers who claimed the right to separate what God had joined together, you can imagine we were not all for ‘submission to men’ by all christian women or anything like it. I am not a complentarian, nor am I an egalitarian. I am a woman, filled with the Spirit, who obeys what the Spirit tells me to do. I don’t go to a church, so I don’t have to worry about offending somebodys religious sensibilities, if God wants me to preach the gospel to somebody I do, if God wants me to teach somebody something from the scriptures I do, and I don’t get hung up about labels.
But here’s the thing. After 12 years of having to weigh options, pray through and make choices about what we believe, we have realised one very important thing. Whichever position you take, you need to take it in faith and you need to cling to Jesus with all of your heart and resist the devil because he will oppose you. He will bring doubts, fears and worries about ‘what other people will think’ to you. These thoughts, my friends, are the same thoughts which assail the unsaved. Fear of men is universal. It is NOT from God!
Whichever belief you hold, you will be attacked for it, especially on the internet. If you are a Calvinist, you will hate Arminians. If you are a Baptist you will hate Pentecostals. I am obviously making sweeping statements here to make a point. I am against siding with any dead white theologian of any stripe, with the possible exception of Paul and the Apostles. I hate the anger and the hostility and the abuse which is thrown around by some of those claiming to be ‘watchmen’ for the body of Christ. If you believed these men everyone who didn’t believe exactly what they believed would be going to hell. In my experience, they need to be ‘watching’ their own attitudes because these often tend to prove their immaturity and fleshly natures more than any amount of ‘discernment’ that they apparently have in exposing other people’s faulty theology.
Be assured my friends, you will be attacked and opposed for saying what you believe. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and he is having a field day out there.
Search your hearts, search the scriptures, spend huge amounts ot time in prayer and hold fast to your faith. True brothers and sisters will stand together regardless of whether or not they believe the rapture will happen before or during or after the Tribulation. True lovers of Christ will love the brethren in word and deed and will take very great care not to offend another because of their own beliefs. We no longer have issues over meat sacrificed to idols, but we are going to be held accountable for starting and/or contributing to feuds over whether or not a woman can teach Sunday school to boys over the age of 13 or not.
Come on, lets remember that Jesus died for us, not for our belief systems. We are one with Him, and preparing ourselves as a Bride waiting for her Bridegroom!
Lets strap that armour on, and pray for one another earnestly and with love!