Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Proper Focus: Your "Church," Your "Denomination," or Jesus?
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? [1 Corinthians 3:1-4]
For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. [1 Corinthians 11:18]
For quite some time, I have been seeing a lot of division among the Body of Christ, and it saddens me. I will admit that growing up, my family was part of a denomination that taught a particular doctrine (I will not divulge either the denomination or the teaching -- I don't believe that it's relevant to the point I'm trying to make here). At the time, as a young boy, I was neither born-again nor was I (obviously) mature in the things of the Spirit (and I'm still learning, as we all are, the ways of the Kingdom). This particular denomination held itself in high esteem, to the point where it was almost as if they were the only ones that were truly following Jesus. It was debatable to them whether or not any other Christian could even make Heaven if they didn't belong to this particular denomination...scary, isn't it? Thankfully, since then I've been born-again, baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues (this denomination believed in speaking in tongues, by the way) and can now safely say that I do not consider myself part of any denomination.
Now don't get me wrong. This is not intended as a criticism of denominations, (there's carnality in many congregations that consider themselves "non-denominational" as well) but sometimes too much "structure" brings bondage. My point here is the level of carnality in the Body. Carnality causes division. Maturity brings unity. Carnality turns the focus on "me" and causes "me" to esteem "myself" better than others. This should really call for a closer examination of our Love walk, because Pride is the root here. Until we begin to realize that the focus is Jesus, we will never grow up into the place of maturity that the Father has planned for us both individually and corporately. Individually - because each member needs to understand his/her worth to the Body as a whole. This is most important. Without the "Individual" there is no "Corporate". The entrance into this reality is that first and foremost, we must utilize the Teacher that has been sent from Heaven in the Name of Jesus - the Holy Spirit. He has been sent to guide us into ALL TRUTH, show us things to come, and to HELP us to take our rightful place in the Body. Pray in the Holy Ghost...OFTEN. It is the ONLY way to rise above those things, such as false teaching, that will hinder us from fulfilling our calling.
Sadly, there are many in the Body who are not in their rightful place, causing confusion. This is very dangerous. Ministering, or serving from a position of carnality will have disastrous results. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Revelation. It is He that knows what the Father's Will is for each and every one of us and to ignore Him would be foolish. After all, isn't He the Spirit of Wisdom?
Praying in the Holy Ghost, and abiding in the Mature (Agape) Love of God will keep us on the right path. The Love of God keeps us humble, takes our eyes off ourselves and brings us to the realization that it's not about a denomination...we are all called to be disciplined followers of Jesus Christ. The key here is to choose to be chosen.
Let's ask ourselves this question: "Am I chosen?" Now this has nothing to do with whether or not you will make Heaven, but will have EVERYTHING to do with the reward you will receive when you get there. The disciplined follower of Christ, who has given his/her life for the Gospel...the one who chooses to serve the Master rather than him/herself by serving others, is the one who will receive the greater reward. This is how greatness in the Kingdom is measured.
And he [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. [Luke 9:23-24]