Over the past few years, God has been re-awakening in us a hunger for His Presence. There is nothing like His glorious Presence to bring life, renewal, growth, power, healing, joy…fruit. I hope that in the past few years your desire, like mine, for more of His Presence has been growing.
This morning Im once again contemplating the calling on our lives, on our mission to see Supernatural growth and increase. What hindrances still remain in us, in the way we think, in what we believe, in what we are doing, that are preventing a greater outpouring of God’s Spirit upon us? What could still be blockages in us, things that prevent the flow of His power, anointing, and favor? I know it is possible in God, to see exponential increase. I know it is God’s will for His Kingdom to grow in that kind of way among the unreached of South Asia.
I think it is important that we continue to ask the Holy Spirit to highlight things in us that need to change. This morning, and the last few days, I’ve been thinking about the subtle, but serious sin of idolatry. Im quite sure if you are reading this you are not regularly bowing down to idols. But what is idolatry really? It is giving glory to anything other than God. Giving the praise and worship He deserves to something other than Him.
I’ve been wondering if we sometimes do this. I’ve been wondering if we may sometimes start out with the right desire- to see His Kingdom grow and see rapidly multiplying churches. But if somewhere along the way, we start to believe that it is our methods that will work to bring this about. We start to believe that what we need is to understand more about T4T, or a better use of story telling, or for churches to be more participatory, or more contextual. We think: if these things would happen, then we would see the growth we long to see.
This is a subtle, but serious lie and perhaps yes, even a sin we can fall into. Now I'm not saying that these things are bad or that we don’t need them. But if we start to give glory to the method, instead of to the God who has filled that method, given life to it and used it, then we are in danger of idolatry. God will not bless or use that method like He could, until He can trust us that if He does, He will get the glory, not the method.
If God really started to bring His life, favor and anointing upon the particular way you are doing things, would you stand in awe of Him, worship and thank Him? Or would you use that as a way to prove to others that what you’ve been saying works all along really does? Who gets the glory if you see fruit…supernatural growth? God? You? The method?
These are important questions to seriously ask ourselves. We must examine our hearts.
I wonder if God sometimes actually withholds his anointing on certain “good methods” because He knows that if He uses them, they will become an idol in our lives. To protect us from this sin and the separation from Him it will cause, in His kindness maybe sometimes He doesn’t bring fruit through them.
We have also been on a journey of learning what it means to honor others and what it means to create a Culture of Honor. Paul Manwaring says that honor is when we recognize the glory of God within another. We are able to honor others, because we can see God’s glory upon and in them, even if they are not believers. They are still made in the image of God, his creation. So when we honor them, we honor Him.
The same is true regarding methods. I’ve become very careful about condemning other methodologies that don’t seem to me to be very wise or good. This used to be quite acceptable and frequent among us. We would condemn things like mass crusades, or passing out tracks, or TV evangelists…or yes, traditional “elephant” churches. These days in my heart I feel a great caution about doing this. Why? Because my wonderful God has chosen to use those things sometimes, to fill those things with His life, His glory, His power. I want to honor them, because I honor Him. I want to honor them, because they (many times, though not all the time) have been carriers of the glory of God. When I speak with disdain for these things, I am telling God I am bigger than He is, wiser than He is, and I know what methods or vessels He really wants to fill. How ridiculous of me! No, God delights in using the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Why? Because He alone is worthy of the glory.
Does this mean that strategy and methods don’t matter? Does this mean we should just throw out all our efforts to see a change from traditional methods to more organic ones? No. It doesn’t.
What it does mean is that we must commit ourselves deeply, at a heart level to recognizing that when God, in His goodness, begins to work through a method (be it contextualization, storying, T4T, or even a mass crusade) it is Him who deserves the credit and glory for what He has done. If lives are changed, if His Presence is there and experienced, if any kind of Kingdom Advance happens, He deserves the glory, the praise and the awe He is due. Lets once again commit ourselves to worship, praise and give glory ONLY to Him. Lets once again commit ourselves to be people who honor others because they carry something of the glory of God. Lets rejoice in everything God is doing, and commit to worship Him when He places His favor upon our strategies, or even upon methods or strategies we thought would never work. J
Lord, keep us free of this subtle sin. Make our hearts devoted to you alone. And may you enable me to always give only YOU the glory for the great things you do in bringing your Kingdom to this world.