For many years, my family and I have struggled. We have fought enemies real, enemies imagined, enemies spiritual, and enemies physical. This struggle has cost us friendships, ministerial contacts, money, and who knows what else. Why have we done this?
We have tried with all our might to be, what one author calls, "God chasers". It is our desire to be with God. It is our desire to be in the middle of what God is doing in these last days. Unfortunately, when you step out to truly follow God, there are MANY voices (in and out of the church), that try and tear you down and stop you!
All we want to do is be a help to the kingdom of God and God's people. If God will help me, and I have not arrived yet, I would like to point out a few things we've learned along the way. Maybe this will be of help to someone out there.
1) Holiness IS required by God, but it is NOT a checklist of rules and regulations! Holiness is a real relationship WITH God! It is God living HIS life in and through us! I cannot be holy, as he is holy, unless he is the one doing the living in my life!
2) Standard. This is the word we "holiness people" like to use when we are referring to the list of do's and don'ts that we believe will get us into heaven. First of all, it is NOT these rules that will get us into heaven. It is, simply and totally, our relationship WITH HIM that gets us in. If we stay in relationship with him, we will naturally live the way he wishes. We will also stay under the blood, keeping us washed whiter than snow. When we begin to follow our standards, but neglect our relationship, we are backslidden!
Secondly, the word standard in scripture doesn't even mean "rules to follow". A standard, in scripture, was the flag that carried the kings emblem on it. When this standard was raised, it caused a beaten down and battered army to look, remember their just cause, regroup and fight for their righteous king. Jesus said, "If I (not these rules), but if I be lifted up, I will draw all men." The standard we need to be lifting is JESUS! We are called to introduce people to Jesus, not our rules!
I'm not saying that scripture doesn't give us do's and don'ts- it does! I am not trying to throw out all of our rules (though some of them are unbiblical and need to be tossed). What I am trying to say is that we have erred. We have placed so much emphasis on our rules, that we have given a false impression to people. We've unwittingly taught them that it is the rules that save them. I have personally seen many "saints" who lined up from head to toe to the "standards", but are as cold as a block of ice, hateful as a mad wolf, and as manipulating as any witch or politician. Yet, they are told if they come to church and check the blocks the preacher tells them to, they will make heaven. God help them on judgement day.
3) Church. Church is NOT the building. Going to church, to quote Kieth Green, won't make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald's will make you a hamburger. When the scripture says to forsake not the gathering of yourselves together, it is NOT referring to a building. Don't get me wrong. If you have a building to assemble in, great! Praise God for it. But that building is not "the church". The church is the people, the bride of Christ that he died on a cross to redeem. Many are the people who think that if you don't go to a building, you're breaking scripture. Many are the people who believe that because they darkened the door of the building, they checked the block, meeting the requirement of gathering together. Again, we have erred.
4) The "church" today is quickly becoming a "bless me club". Sermons are given that tell people how God will bless them, wants to bless them, how to line yourself up in order to receive the blessing. Where is the cry for repentance? Where are the cries to righteousness? Where are the preachers who will stand against sin- naming it specifically, instead of glossing it over as a vague concept. The law, scripture says, is the school teacher to lead us to Christ. Specific sins are named so that we can then see our need for cleansing in the blood of Jesus. The average church today teaches another Gospel, not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
5) The Bible gives us specific instructions on how to live in EVERY area of our lives. There is more to being a Christian than Acts 2:38 and the oneness of God. But even those things are done in relationship with our creator, not on our own.
6) Todays churches are becoming educated and sleek. Professional preachers, impeccably dressed, preach in front of professional choirs, to a congregation of professional Christians, who proudly hold their head up because they go to Brother "X"'s church. We look down on the worldly singers and celebrities, yet we make our own to follow! In the mean time, lost souls are dying by the thousands right outside the church doors, but these are not reached out to because they can't pay tithes and will be a burden on the pastor and the people to straighten out their lives! God help us! Return us back to the days where all we want is Jesus! Help us Lord to see people through Your eyes!
7) The Apostate church is growing in numbers and notoriety! While many are the people- hungry for God's true words, that are starving in the temples!
It is time for God's people to stand up! It is time for a modern day Pentecost! It is time for the remnant of the bride of Christ to come out from among the worldly church and begin to be the arms, eyes, mouthpiece, and heart of our Lord to a lost and dying world! Lord, help us to find your mind for each of our lives! Help us to find the fields that you would have each of us to work in! Send laborers to the fields to help us and bring forth the promised end time revival! Oh, How my heart longs to be in the middle of what you are doing!
May God help us all!