Several years ago I struggled with the decision of leaving my church. I felt that I was not growing in my personal walk with the Lord and I did not see the opportunity to advance in my ministry. Positions opened up, but it seemed that I was not in the right season or timing of God to seek or inquire about the possibility of filling the job.
In his book, "The Bait of Satan," Bevere says that he is often asked, "When should I leave a church or ministry team? How bad does it have to get?" "Who sent you to the church you presently attend?" The majority of the time they answer, "God did." "If God sent you, "I reply, "do not leave until God releases you. if the Lord is silent, he is often saying, "Don't change a thing. Do not leave, Stay where I have placed you!" when God does instruct you to leave, you will go out with peace, no matter what the condition of the ministry.
"For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace. ( Isaiah 55:12, NKV)
We have to be sure that our departure will not be based on the actions or behavior of others, but rather on the Spirit's leading. So leaving a ministry should not be based upon how bad things look in the place where you server! We must be sure that we are not leaving with an offended or critical spirit. To leave in such a way is not the plan of God. We must make sure that our feelings/emotions and the behavior of others is not the driving force behind our decision to "walk." As Christians, we must always be guided by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."Notice that it does not say, "For as many as react to difficult situations, these are sons of God." Almost every time the word son is used in the New Testament it comes from the two Greek words: teknon and huios. A good definition for the word teknon is "one who is a son by mere fact of birth."
When our children are born, they are products of the the husband and wife's intimate act that resulted in the making of a baby. If our babies are in the nursery in the hospital with other babies of the same race, you can not identify them according to their personality. When our mothers and fathers and family members came to the hospital to visit, they can not pick out our child except by the name tag above his crib. The reason is that they do not do anything that sets them apart from the other babies in the nursery. Your child and my child would be considered a teknon (by fact of its birth) of say for example: Tom and Pat Ford.
Bevere says, "We find teknon used in Romans 8:15-16. it says that because we have received the spirit of adoption, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children (teknon( of God." When a person receives Jesus Christ as Lord, he is a child of God by fact of the new birth experience. ( John 1:12).
The other Greek word translated sons in the New Testament is huios. Many times it is used in the New Testament to describe "one who can be identified as a son because he displays the character or characteristics of his parents." As our children grow they start to look and act like one or the other parent, or combinations of both of them. That is why we can leave our children with our parents, go on vacation, pick them up a week or two later and be greeted by these words: "Your son acts just like you did at ten years old." He did this or that; and you acted the same way when it was time to go to bed!
As our children grow, they can now be recognized as our sons and daughters because they take on our personality, not merely by fact of his or her birth, but also by the characteristics and a personality that resemble their father's. So Bevere says, "The Greek word teknon means "babies or immature sons," and the Greek word huios is most often used to describe "mature sons."
So when we look again at Romans 8:14 it reads: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons (huios) of God." We can see clearly that it is the mature sons who are led by the Spirit of God. Immature Christians are less likely to follow the leading of the Spirit of God. Most often they react or respond emotionally or intellectually to circumstances they face. They have not yet learned to act only on the Spirit of God's leading.
As our children grow, they begin to progress in character development. The more mature they become, the more responsibility we can entrust to them. It is wrong for our children to stay immature. It is not God's will that we remain babies. The only way that we can grow up in Christ is to go through difficult situations. the same is true in the secular world. The only way that we can mature and grow is to learn to handle adversity and difficult situations. Children sometimes have to learn how to handle the classroom bully. As much as we want to defend them and take care of the situation, we must remember that we are only responsible for giving our kids the tools to handle persecution, Once those tools are in their hands, they have to wield them and use them to resolve their problems.
When we give our children the tools and counsel that they need in handling difficult situations, they begin to grow. The operative word here however is, "obey!" If our kids do not obey in the midst of their suffering, they will not mature. This is similar to what God does with us. The Bible says, "Though He (Jesus) was a Son (Huios), yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8).
Physical growth is a function of time. No two-year old child has ever been six feet tall. Intellectual growth is a function of learning. Spiritual growth is a function of neither time or learning, but it is a function of obedience. Peter says, "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. (1Peter 4:1).
A person who has ceased from sin is a perfectly obedient child of God. He is mature, He chooses God's ways, not his own. Just as Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered, we learn obedience by the difficult circumstances we face. When we obey the Word of God that is spoken by the Holy Spirit, we grow and mature in the times of conflict and suffering. Our knowledge of Scriptures is not the key. Obedience is!!
Now we can understand why so many people leave the church who have been Christians for twenty years, who can quote verses and chapters of the Bible, have heard a thousand sermons, and read many books, but still wear spiritual diapers. Every time they meet with adversity, rather than responding by the Spirit, they seek to protect themselves in their own way. They are "always learning and never able to cone to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3: 7). They never get to the truth because they do not apply it.
Truth must be allowed to have its way in our lives if we are going to grow up and mature. It is not enough to give mental assent to it without obeying it!! Even though we continue to learn, we never mature because of DISOBEDIENCE.
If I had left my church six years ago, it would have been because I was offended. I felt that my gifts weren't being acknowledge and used. I felt that I was out-growing my spiritual counterparts. I was haughty, proud, and impatient. I blamed others for my lack of progress. I felt like the victim in a soap opera. There were times when I totally felt that I was treated unfairly, but at the same time my assessment of certain situations were based on appearance, perception, and hearsay. I was judging from a "profane" heart. I say this again, we have to know the condition of our heart before we make rash life changing decisions. This proves true not only in the church, but in the real world as well.
This that I am sharing right here, is too important to rush through! I will be back tomorrow to continue down this avenue. Tomorrow we will talk about "Protective Walls and Self-Preservation. A common excuse for self-preservation through disobedience is offense. I hope you got something out of today's blog.
Listen Ya'll, "Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers," They work!