Questioning God, Questioning Leaders

SONY DSCAre you hungry today?  The following words, from Hyper-Grace: The Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God by D. R. Silva, are some tantalizing morsels to help satiate your longing.  I offer only a sample, but encourage you to read the whole book if your spirit bears witness with what is contained here.

Never let anyone convince you that God considers it “doubt,” “disloyalty” or “dishonor” if you question Him, or the leaders He has put into leadership positions.  Jesus welcomed and encouraged questions of all kinds (that’s how people learn!).

Never let anyone convince you that faith means to quit asking questions in favor of silent obedience to your leaders.  Not only is that a lie, but it’s blatant manipulation and behavior control.  The only ones who have done that kind of thing throughout history are cult leaders and tyrants who were afraid their followers would learn to think for themselves, because a single question can be the most powerful weapon against fear and tyranny, and one question has the power to topple an entire empire.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of a question.

question markYour questions are the greatest weapon you have against deception, manipulation and tyranny; never let anyone disarm you.

If your leaders are trying to teach you to fear them, it’s time to find new leaders.  The only reason they would want you to fear them is so you will do whatever they say without asking questions.  That’s not the church or Christianity that Jesus founded; that’s something else entirely.

Don’t let your leaders disguise fear as “respect” or “honor.”  There is a huge difference.  Respect and honor is something you give naturally, not something you have to be coerced and guilt-tripped into giving reluctantly.

Always line everything up with the person of Jesus.  You didn’t become a Christian to follow me or any other church leader; you became a Christian to follow Christ.  If something doesn’t line up with Him and what His life demonstrated for us (that is, those in the new covenant), you can safely conclude that it’s no good.  And if it’s tested and found no good, you will know not to hold on to it.  (I’ve written an entire book about this subject called It’s All About Jesus.)

. . . Being loyal to me as a person doesn’t mean you have to be loyal to all of my ideas; that goes for every other church leader as well.  If they mistake disagreement with disloyalty, then they have an ego problem.  Don’t let them try to bully you into thinking you’re the problem for not agreeing with them.

 

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The Choice is Ours

What would you choose?  To yield to the pressure of the crowd to do something that reflects poorly on Jesus in you, only to beat yourself up over it later?   Or, refuse to yield to that pressure, making it very awkward for yourself in those moments, with some discomfort later?

Which did I choose?  This time, I stood firm in my convictions.  Though I realized others were squirming – at least inside – because of my choice, it really wasn’t so hard.  No one chastised me for it, but I struggled for a while with the fleshly discomfort of standing apart from the crowd.

How much better this discomfort than what I have felt repeatedly in the past, in those times I chose to do contrary to the Lord’s will for me.  Those were the times I opened the door wide to guilt and condemnation – such cruel and unrelenting taskmasters!  Because I chose to be acceptable to others, I ended up living under oppression – a much more difficult thing to overcome emotionally.  In those times, I joined ranks with my accuser as he taunted me with such statements as, “You knew better than that!  Why didn’t you stand against the pressure?  You’re never going to make any progress in God if you can’t resist even the little things!”

I’ve had many more experiences with oppression than fleshly discomfort; yet, from this single instance, I found standing apart with Jesus Christ to be so much more rewarding (and easier).  It has helped me decide I’d really rather be alone with Jesus than in a stadium full of people ignoring Him; however, looking with the eyes of His Spirit, I see I’m not alone at all.  Many more are standing apart with Him in all kinds of settings all over the world.

Maybe one of the others who followed the crowd this time, when I stood apart to follow Jesus, will have the courage to choose to stand apart with Him next time.

Matthew 7:24-25 NIV   Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.