I’ve committed to reading the entire Bible in 2012. I’ve never done it before, and I believe God is calling me to do it. I mean, how can I really talk about knowing Him if I don’t take the time to read through the book He’s given us to live by. This week, I’ve gotten through Genesis 24. And I’ve been really thinking about two well-known men of God: Noah & Abraham.
You know Noah. He built an ark. He blindly listened to God even though the people around him thought he was crazy. Wonder what all the people were saying… mostly behind his back? Their talk was probably similar to what we hear in churches today.
Abraham was going to do whatever God asked him to do. In fact, he was willing to kill his son. Are you kidding me? Considering that Abraham was probably an introvert (he was a phlegmatic), I’d say more than likely no one knew what he was planning to do at the altar that day… it was probably just between him and God. But can you imagine the stir if people DID know? Again, it would probably be similar to the gossip that runs rampant among our churchgoers. And let’s just say it… among US.
We’re all guilty of it. We see things in church we think we could do better and we critique. Someone doesn’t act the way we think they should and we judge. Something doesn’t sit right with us and we talk. But most of the time we talk about it with our friends, instead of approaching the person(s) who we should really be talking to about it. The person who is trying to do whatever God has called them to do.
I’m a critic by nature. It’s something I fight… and sometimes I don’t fight it hard enough. One of my hard-learned lessons in 2011 was that I need to let go of thinking my way is the best way to do things. To realize that I’m never going to agree 100% with anyone. Why? Because God made me uniquely. And He made YOU uniquely. Part of serving God collectively is learning to bring all of our different gifts, hearts, and perspectives together for His glory. So, when something done by church leadership hits us wrong, we need to stop and examine where our anger/frustration/disappointment/whatever-you-want-to-call-it are coming from. Is there really an issue of unbiblical leadership? Or does it come down to our personal preferences?
Sometimes, when we’ve let frustrations build up for a long time, there is a tendency to get it all mixed up. So, what I’ve learned (and what is the only way that I have been able to truly worship for the last month or so) is that I have to check my heart. Check my motives. Am I just trying to get my own way? Or am I truly seeing something that God did not intend?
Now, if you are struggling with a foundational issue… if you believe you have truly sought the Lord’s guidance, if you have talked with your pastor, and you still believe there is something seriously UNBIBLICAL going on… by all means, it’s time to find another church. However, if you find in your heart that you have unchecked hurts, emotions, motives, and bitterness, give it all over to God and stay put. God didn’t call us to church hop. I believe that He calls us to the place He wants us to serve… and that we are not to gossip or run when we don’t like something. We need to respect the leadership that He has placed in our lives. Those men and women are called to lead us.
I wonder what might have happened if someone (anyone) believed Noah was hearing from God. Have you ever thought about that? What if people had jumped in to help instead of criticizing? They might have made it on the boat. And as for Abraham? Let’s just say I would have called him crazy. But God knew what He was doing. He really wouldn’t have cared what I thought.
My friends, I’m not preaching at anyone. I’m just as guilty. But from now on, I’m praying that my heart will seek Him only. Not a platform that can make MY name great. And my prayer is that He will quiet my critical spirit. In the end, I just want Jesus. Don’t you?