11 August 2008

A Man's Faith Pt. One

It is comfortable to let others lead. I think many situations need leadership. Scripture tells us that it is right,in various ways and commands,to submit to leadership. But what are the bounds of that submission?

A Christian cannot go so far as to give up there own vigorous pursuit of spiritual things. We can share each others burdens. This is a clear command of Scripture.

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves..." Romans 12:10-19

This is a beautiful part of what Christ brought. Christians are brothers in more than some nebulous spiritual way. Love it meant to work its way down into the crevasses of our everyday life. Material possession is mean to be nothing to a Christian. A deadened sense of materialism and a quickened sense of brotherly love are perfect companions. The only trouble is that a Christian can sometimes get wrapped not only in the pride of being a teacher or elder, but complimentarily in the position of a learner.

People are supposed to be learners, or disciples. Of this there is no doubt. But there is a chasm we often cross because it is more comfortable for us on the one side than the other. One side if fraught with danger, the other with safety. On the one side of the chasm there is the submission of one's spiritual life to a spiritual leader. A pastor, a discipler, and elder more experienced Christian is the perfect candidate for this position of exaltation. Yet, how unfair is that?

To lay one's spiritual growth on another human being is a lazy thing to do indeed. Yes, children need to be led and nurtured. Yes, there is a place and a gift of teachers within a body of believers. Concurrent with this, and a grand balance indeed , is what I now present to you.

"They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matt 23:5-12

I am deeply grateful to God for the books of A.W. Tozer. In the introduction to one of his books he spoke of himself as a sign. He said that he was not the standard, but wished only to be a sign along the way pointing to God. I have begun through many trials to see the compulsion God puts in His children to seek Him. We can drench His fire in apathy and sooth our itching ears with as many teachers as we'd like. But until we see those God graces us with as teachers as signposts instead of pinnacles of spiritual success we may just be bound to only drinking the milk of their relationship with God, instead of being moved by the Fire that forged worlds.

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