Friday, July 20, 2007

What Are We So Afraid Of???

I just read an excellent post ( a bit long but well worth it) written by Adrian Warnock, called, "I Don't Want Balance, I Want It All!". It was full of questions, questions that I think most any Christian can well relate too.

There were some great comments, but one thing that stood out to me was a great fear of being wrong. So many of us are all too willing to risk losing out on the experience side as long as we feel secure in our having 'right' doctrine. We feel that it's somehow more respectable to be right and proper theologically than it is to a have dynamic living relationship with our Creator through the person of the Holy Spirit in us. And it is more respectable--to people. But how does God feel about it all? I believe he's grieved by our eagerness to please and impress others at the expense of truly knowing him. And as I've said before, fear of man is quite often related to legalism, as we should expect. We know that our performance does not impress God, so we can only really ever aspire to please men in our legalistic endeavors.

One thing that has been bothering me as I've listened to person after person, preacher after preacher, defend using a 'little law' in some way as believers, is the strong sense I get that they neither know or trust the Spirit of God. They (and I) bring in laws, rules, regulations, or, more subtly known as, guidelines, principles, advice, suggestions...where we don't believe the power of God can bring change or help. Let's be honest about this, if we truly live by the Spirit, who is constantly with us and guiding us, teaching us, speaking to us, then why do we need 'guidelines'? We don't! Guidelines come in and tell us we don't need the Spirit so much, because if we have guidelines, why do we need a Guide?

We have turned the Christian life into a self-guided tour. We take our book, our precious map, and thumb through the pages looking to see which way we should go. We miss the point of our Book! It hasn't been given to us to make our Father's job 'easier', now he doesn't have to actually be with us or speak to us, it's been given as a gift that he opens up and reads to us and explains what it means and helps us with every day of our lives. The Bible was meant to deepen our fellowship with the Spirit and show us Christ and teach us who our Father is, not replace the one who gave it!

I refuse to give in to fear and unbelief. I don't care how 'safe' it is,I'm tired of packaged religion. Just give me God!


SLW said...

Whereas I truly appreciate your understanding of living in Spirit, and believe that is absolutely what was intended by God in giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit in the first place; I think we also need to understand our susceptibility subjectively to miss that still small voice or mistake another for it. The written Word, serves as an objective guage by which we learn the things the Spirit of God wants to inspire in us and what he wants to lead us to. We don't have to be hampered by fear in our existential walk in Spirit because the Word trains our taste buds to eat the chicken and spit out the bones.

We may actually be on the same page about this, just not quite sure.

jul said...

I think we probably are. I'm certainly not saying Scripture is not vitally important. But Scripture as a book can be used quite deftly by our enemy, not just by God. We need the Holy Spirit to speak and reveal the truth of his Word to us.

I think that what I'm saying is, we need both, not one or the other. The Bible alone is not enough, as a book. Many many false religions use the Bible to substantiate their false claims. Many christian do the same.

We have been given both, but I guess I'm concerned that we don't trust God so much that if we absolutely had to go without the book (as some have had to do, either through being put in prison or such) then the Spirit is fully capable of speaking his word to us without it.

What bothers me is the seeming mistrust of God's Spirit, that leads some to choose, as it were, the Scripture over the Spirit.

I realize I'm walking a fine line here! I hope that clarifies it somewhat for you. (Just for the record, I think every revelation of truth I've ever received by the Spirit has been rooted in Scripture, either while reading it or having it brought to my mind after having read it, or hearing it preached. )

SLW said...

Yes, that does clarify things, I agree with you. It is walking a fine line, but Jesus said the way was narrow, didn't he. Often the 1st century church is lifted up as the standard, but OT's were not readily available to the bulk of those folks, and the NT as we know it wasn't in place yet. They were given the Spirit by grace and He was sufficient to get them where they needed to be. I would never want to be in that situation (I love having my Bible available), but if it happened the Spirit would be sufficient to bring me through.

People pick the scripture over the Spirit today for the same reasons the Israelites picked Moses as a mediator rather than having a personal encounter with God-- fear. Until our faith (trust) in God overwhelms our fear of him personally, or even our fear of not being in control, we opt for the manageable rather than the majestic.

Dan Bowen said...

I totally agree with your heart-cry. I'm tired too of "being careful". That doesn't mean to say that we're throwing baby out with bathwater and are ready for a little deception but I definately do believe that we are more in danger of paralysis by analysis - instead of falling into excess and error.

I really found Guy Miller's seminar on "Prophecy" that I just listened to really helpful for an acid test as to whether something is of God or not. He said;

"False prophets can get it right. The true test to be applied is much more theological. The false prophet will draw people away from a living relationship with God and drive them into sin and self and idolatry whereas the true prophet will draw people into worship and closer relationship with Jesus Christ the Living One.

Just because someone does something a little different (like transporting jewellry over distance) doesn't mean they are necessarily wrong or right. The question is is there a drawing into relationship and love and affirmation of Jesus Christ the Risen and Exalted Lord?

The Spindler Clan... said...

Awesome! Not an easy message to hear but very true. As "christians" we too easily rely on rules and regulations, but as "Christ followers" we need to embrace the reality of living without a RULE book.

PS: Friend of Graceflood

Joel Brueseke - Grace Roots said...

I've heard it put this way:
The Bible is the menu. Jesus is the meal. :) Not a perfect analogy, but I think it shows that we indeed have great use for the menu, but we're there for the meal.

I like what you said about preachers feeling the need to mix in a little law (and some mix in a LOT). I totally agree that at the heart of it is a lack of trust in the Spirit. Christians even make up their own rules and principles to live by, thinking these will help them "live right," all the while missing out on the life of the indwelling Jesus.

Here's to a present and a future in which the Spirit reveals the truth of the gospel, the good news, to our brothers and sisters who are vainly trying to fulfill His function by means of the flesh.

Amanda said...

I am here via shashers life.
I absolutely agree with you jul. I think the problem is, for some people, that they aren't in tune with the spirit for them to hear him speak to them. Or like someone posted some people struggle with lack of trust in the spirit. Great post

jul said...

Thanks for your encouragement Amanda. I think you're right about people not really knowing the voice of the Spirit. It's something I want to grow in much more myself...

Glad you stopped by!