Have you ever been in a place (physical, mental, spiritual or where ever) that has been so uncomfortable that you felt as though you were barely able to function? Every movement, every thought, every prayer just seemed so out of place. Well, if so, I can definitely relate.
I am serious about the things God, if not just for the the fact that God is serious about them too. I do not take things lightly and I appreciate genuineness when it comes to dealing with the people of God. My life belongs to Christ and I desire to know HIM for who He is. Sound familiar, relatable. Well Praise God that He has given us a heart after Him. What's so awkward about that you ask?
Deep Breath: Here goes. I have been involved with a ministry for about the past year and a half. Like so many, I was hungry for more of God. I wanted to experience more of God and be among those that do more than just pay Him lip service. I desired genuine fellowship and love amongst the saints and just something more. What more I could not clearly articulate but there was a longing in my spirit. I did not feel that the church I was attending at that moment was fulfilling that desire in me so I ventured on from one church to another, convinced that the Lord was leading and even convinced that my fiance' at the time about the same. At first it was all gravy. The praise and worship was liberating. I'd even let go and danced before the Lord. The preaching was very simple and easy to grasp. I witnessed people operating in giftings that were not widely used in the last church. My fiance' and I were able to minister and serve at a capacity that we hadn't at the last church. The people were loving and the pastor was giving. There were things happening there that I had NEVER heard of in my life. Was this the "something more" that I was desiring? Had the Lord answered my prayer?
Let's focus on this line: things that were happening that I'd never seen or heard of. For a few months things were all good. A-okay. Oh but then, silly me, I started to question some of these things. Not because I doubted them, but because I wanted to know what God's Word said concerning these things. As I started on my journey excited to see what the Lord had to say in favor of these things, I began to realized that some of what I was hearing and seeing did not line up with Scripture. And while I have a relationship with the Lord to where I know I can pray and He will answer, I still wasn't very sure. I am, by no means, a Bible scholar so I wanted to dig a little deeper and see if there were others that were experiencing and believing the same sorts of things. To my surprise, this thing was bigger than I thought! Much bigger, and the more I saw the more skeptical I became and the more I studied the Word the more I was convinced that I was amongst a people that were following after things that they shouldn't. What a pickle!
So now you see, I am still there. My fiance' and I have since married. The people are still loving, the pastor is still giving, the teachings and experiences are still occurring (or at least the claims are being made) and I am growing more and more intolerant of this nonsense. I have had several moments of just crying out to God asking Him to make it all a bit more bearable for me. My husband loves the ministry and I would hate to deprive him of that (especially if he feels he is growing in the Lord). He is not really akin to a lot of the experiences but he holds to the teachings (which aren't all bad) and who can blame him really. If you commit yourself to a ministry you would hope you could consume of what is being offered. Plus he enjoys the opportunity to serve.
Some days are good. Some days not so good. I have gone through many feelings of doubt about my relationship with the Lord while involved with the ministry. I never felt that I wasn't "saved", but I have often felt that I did not have enough faith or was being critical and judgmental or was just plain rebellious and carnally minded. Not able to discern the things of the Spirit. It seems like it would be easiest to just go with this flow, you know. But I cannot. Something won't let me. Some would say its the devil, others would say that I'm battling with my fleshly reasoning and doubt. Very few would say that the Holy Spirit is doing a work in me, but that's what I believe. I cannot submit or fully commit to something that I feel is not of God. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying everything about this ministry is not of God but I feel quite a bit of it is a bit suspect and contrived if you ask me. And while I admit that I would still, in a sense, consider myself a babe in the Lord I am finding this time to be a testing of my patience, character, love for others and commitment to Jesus Christ.
THERE! I said! It is out in the open. Let me say this. I have nothing against any of the members there. Not the pastor, not his wife or anyone. I love everyone that is there but you can imagine how awkward I feel when like mindedness and unity are highly promoted (which should be in the Body of Christ period)and I feel like the joint out of socket. Only getting with "the program" to make it through the service but heart and mind are totally not in it. I believe one of two things are happening right now. I am either dying spiritually or God is really trying to refine somethings in me and show me some things. Allowing me to see where my heart truly is concerning Him when in the midst of uncomfortable situations. While I am in an awkward position at the moment, I know that this will not ALWAYS be the case. God is faithful to those that love Him and I believe that, in time, He will reveal and deliver where ever deliverance needs to take place. Whether it be in me or whomever.
If any of my dear brothers and sisters that I attend service with is reading this, I apologize if I have offended any of you or hindered your faith in Christ in any way. I do not seek to tear anything or anyone down. Please pray that I will allow God to have His way in this situation. That He would make things clearer to me and give me His peace.
Let me say this,(and this is a bit of what God has been showing me) whether you believe that the institutional church is the best thing since sliced bread, needs a makeover by the Holy Spirit or needs to be downright destroyed or whatever (I definitely feel that we are falling short on so many fronts) please be in prayer for those that are involved. Pray that God would draw hearts and minds back to Him and not allow us to be sucked in to the humdrum of the system and to make no idols and to recognize when we have that we might repent and be turned back to Him. For those of you who feel that you should be a member of a congregation or church...please be prayerful. Do not make any decisions based on emotion and be sure, above all else, that the Gospel is being preached and that you are receiving sound instruction in the Lord. The church that you choose to attend should NOT be the pinnacle of your Christian existence, experience or service. Christ and ONLY CHRIST should fulfill that (a lesson that I am sorely learning). Your best work for the Lord is done when He leads you, where He leads you and how He leads you. Whether it be amongst believers in a building or outside of the confines of the church walls. Church should NOT be something we go to but it should be who we are.
1 Peter 2:5 - Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Titus 1:9 - Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
2 Timothy 1:13 - Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-24 - Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.