I have been inspired to share this passage of wisdom by two ladies who are dear to my heart.
Both I do not know well, but in both I see a love for the Lord, a gentle spirit and a desire to serve him wholeheartedly.
Both will know who they are when they see the content of the topic.
This is not a rebuff, a backlash or a last say. It is a loving ‘hey look at this’ as I contemplate their genuine disappointment in the church they have either once been placed in or are struggling to stay in.
I certainly know their heart well enough to know they are not rebellious, Jezebels, gossips or trouble-makers. Their concerns past and present are pure and come out of a desire to serve the Lord emphatically.
The topic I’m going to highlight in small detail is the concept of either leaving a church you are planted in or refusing to put your roots down and become a fully functioning part of the body of Christ.
To the one, I must state that I totally understand that you have experienced spiritual abuse and therefore had no choice to leave. I am inspired to share this with you purely because you have put the subject on my mind and the Lord has put a book into my hand.
To other I must acknowledge that I have no idea what you been through in the past, but that you are aware of the real presence of darkness that is allowed to infiltrate our churches when we become complacent and dismissive of the dangers of compromise.
So I rebuke neither of you.
I regard you as older sisters who should be respected as mothers even though I suspect I am way older than one of you. But one can learn from the younger in years and in salvation age, so I still look up to you despite being older in both.
I say I do not know the ladies well. In a way that is true, as one is an internet friend who I will probably never meet in person and the other I have only known for a short period of time but has a guard up that will make her back away if I get too close.
Yet I know their spirits because I have been blessed by many conversations with them. As we have conversed, I have felt a strong presence of the Holy Spirit – and their spirits are indeed far more gentle than mine.
So here it is. Here is a man of God in the public eye who has a proper fear of the Lord. Indeed one of his books has that exact title. I know his intentions to be honourable and I know despite being human, he will not fall from grace and shame the name of the Lord. His preaching and his books are commendable and he seeks to glorify God, not himself, in everything he says.
Here is the excerpt I would like to share with you:
“Many people ask why does God put people under leaders who make serious mistakes and even some that are wicked?
Can you imagine serving a minister like the corrupt priest Eli who had two wicked sons who were priests aswell? They took offerings by manipulation and force and had sex with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle. He was a minister so insensitive to the things of the Spirit that he couldn’t recognise a woman in prayer and accused her of being drunk! So fleshly that he was morbidly obese and so compromising that he did nothing about his sons who were committing fornication right in the church.
Most Christians today would be offended and search for another church, telling others as they went of the wicked lifestyle of their former pastor and his elders. But in the midst of such corruption it says Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. (1Sam 3:1)
Yet did Samuel go look for another place to worship? Did he go to the elders to expose the wickedness of Eli and his sons? Did he form a committee to put Eli and his sons out of the pastorate? No, he ministered to the Lord.
Today men and women leave churches so readily if they see something wrong in the leadership. Perhaps it is the way the pastor takes the offerings. Maybe it is the way the money is spent. If they don’t like what he preaches, they leave. He is either not approachable or too familiar. this list doesn’t end. Rather than face the difficulties and maintain hope, they run to where there appears to be no conflict.
Let’s face it: Jesus is the only perfect pastor. So why do we run from difficulties instead of facing them and working through them? When we don’t hit these conflicts head on, we usually leave offended. Then we go from church to church looking for a place with flawless leadership.
The Bible says that ‘Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.’ (Psalm 92:13)
If we do not agree with the way things are done we get offended and go. But this makes us blind to our own character flaws and we do not realise that God wanted to refine and mature us through the pressure we were under.”
(Taken from ‘The Bait Of Satan’ by John Bevere.)
This is an invaluable book and it helps keep me balanced when things seem ‘just not right’. I pray you too will be able to make the right decision and stay in your imperfect churches so that God can rub all those rough edges off you and teach you how to pray for the leaders he has put over you.