A More Excellent Way
Through the years, I've seen the BOC (traditional and nontraditional) being distracted and misdirected as people concentrate on doctrinal positions, specific revelations and personal views and agendas. Much of the energy of the BOC (body of Christ) is expended on defending these ideals and trying to justify them to others, trying to convince people to agree with our cause or philosophy and to forsake theirs. Many have made a ministry of "bringing correction" in the name of "standing for truth."
When I left the traditional church, over a dozen years ago, I became connected with a community of "out of church Christians" and one of our primary focuses was to reveal all of the faults and blemishes of the traditional church, and there were/are many. I don't remember a meeting when the "apostate church" wasn't mentioned and railed against at least once. Part our mission was to speak out against the "Babylonian Antichrist church system" and expose all its evils so that the real church (us, of course) wouldn't be contaminated by all the evil and deceit. We were a people who had left the "traditional religious system" and were "free of all its encumbrances." This common cause united the people and gave them a purpose. We were a people who were "against something" and really walked in some unity (at least for a time) as a result of this common bond.
Of course we had some other really wonderful experiences as people were learning to walk in His Spirit, move closer to God, and experience much intimate and life-changing fellowship with God and with one another. Many of the relationships that God established during this time have proven to be unshakable and continued to be blessings through the years. The spiritual growth that occurred through this time has remained as a testimony of God's grace and love toward His people.
But, back to my example. We were (back then) a people who were united against something--- the traditional church. But many of us found that we were actually still owned by that same tradition, in that we were still gripped by our anger, frustration, sense of betrayal, hatred, etc. When the subject came up, the anger, etc. often would boil over and take over the meeting. So we were still owned by the same religious spirit that we had tried so hard to remove ourselves from. In a sense, we had become what we thought we had left. I believe there are many people right now that are facing the same dilemma, and that is the reason I'm revisiting some of these places that might still be festering in God's precious saints. There is a more excellent way that we are to walk in!
THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY (I Cor. 12:31)
Standing against error is a necessary and sometimes noble pursuit. Open and frank scripture based dialogue among His body is essential in order to maintain doctrinal balance and focus. However, if our entire focus is on error and correction, and not on the Lord, we often miss the power for conviction, correction and repentance, which is only by the Holy Spirit as we're in Christ. Sin is never the standard of Christianity---life in Christ is! If our entire focus is on sin, we can miss the remedy for sin. The cure for religion, doctrinal error, apostasy, sin, deception, disease, and even death itself is the present ongoing life (presence) of Jesus Christ as manifest by HIS Holy Spirit, often through God's saints. The world has seen us argue doctrine and theology, but not demonstrate true Christian love (the new commandment of Jesus) and has decided that they don't need our religion. AMEN to that! Many Christians feel the same way. AMEN to that as well!
GETTING REAL WITH GOD
The Lord spoke to me recently (I hate to use that terminology unless I really believe it) and said "denial is not faith." That pretending our sickness, sin, weakness doesn't exist, even in the name of Jesus, is still a lie. True faith is acknowledging the truth and then TRUSTING God. We have been taught that as long as we ACT like Christians, everything is ok. But acting like Christians without experiencing the transformation of the Holy Spirit is a great lie and deception that leads to self righteousness and separation from God. Many people wear a Christian mask, but are living a life that bears little resemblance to a real Christian walk. And we often are trained that it's not acceptable to share the real conflicts, problems, sin or shame that is going on in our lives. If you've tried to be open with your sin in the BOC, you've probably experienced instant judgment and condemnation rather than true help and compassion. This perpetrates hypocrisy and fantasy that undermines real Holy Spirit conviction and repentance, which brings healing and liberty.
How wonderful it is when we can expose our real selves to God and to one another, even with all our warts and blemishes. What freedom it brings and healing as well when we are in fellowship with others who have struggles and problems (everyone does) who are being real with themselves and one another. This is the environment that the Holy Spirit is released within---not in the Christian act that we have been trained to perform. Where people aren't instantly judged, but where brothers and sisters stand alongside one another and help one another to deal with sin and shame, leading to healing and reconciliation with God and each other.
I believe many of us left the traditional church because we were so tired of acting like Christians, and never being able to be real with one another. This is still an issue in the non traditional church. Remember that Christianity has been indoctrinated in "Christian acting" for 1700 years. It's a cultural thing as well as a spiritual stronghold. Remember that the purpose of the body of Christ is to demonstrate and release the life of God in the earth. Paul said that everything should be done unto edification (building the house) until we may all come to the unity of the faith and of the recognition of the Son of God, to a perfect (complete) man. . . Eph. 4-12ff.
The issues that we're facing are greater than traditional or nontraditional church. They're greater than "in church," "out of church," "home church," "organic church," etc. It's time to reiterate that there is ONLY ONE CHURCH! I believe God is calling His people to move into the realm of seeing past the superficial (acting) and into the reality (being.) The entire body of Christ is damaged, torn, divided, full of tradition, deceived, religious, If you think you or your group is not, then you are deceived. Until Jesus Christ becomes our entire focus, we are destined to continue with religious games and doctrinal posturing based on our own strength and understanding. Until we can take off the masks and get real, we are living in a fantasy. A house divided against itself cannot stand. The house of cards that man has built and called the church must fall. That includes anything that can be shaken. As long as we're divided by our pride and arrogance, we cannot properly represent the KING or HIS kingdom. We must become a people who are FOR THE LORD, not just against petty principles and doctrines that have no life.
II Cor. 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the lord is, there is liberty---emancipation from bondage, freedom. 18 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit. Amplified
Our choice is whether to spend our energies examining the worldly aspects of traditions, philosophies, denominations, differences, personalities, etc., or in beholding the glory of the Lord, whereby we are being transformed into His image. God wants a people who live ABOVE the distractions that scream for their attention, and who have set their faces like flint, to look upon HIS face and at none other.
Posted by Grover at 8/23/2009 2:33 PM
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