When I was younger and exploring outside the box of the religion in which I was raised, God led me to a group of people that were accustomed to recognizing the life of God in other people and celebrating it. They were Christian, and had learned to love God and people without putting people in a higher position than God. They recognized God as the source of good.
As the Church, we are more in line with God's will if we are encouraging others in pursuing the expression of God's innate design of who they are, instead of creating a police state in which we block the flow of the life of God in other people.
What happens to the simplicity of the gospel? We get caught up on some system or "canned" teaching and then we mistake the map or outline for the true breadth of God's heart on a matter. Someone teaches us about healing, and even if they tell us it is not a formula, we or they make it into one, and then we are stuck trying to push buttons to achieve a desired outcome.
God is life and breath and living love. He is not a system, nor does he place all of His wisdom in one human being, group, congregation or ministry. Don't let a person deceive you into thinking that you must go to him to receive from God. People are important, but they must not take the place of God in your life, whether by deception or whether by us yielding power and honor to man which should be only given to God.
The issue of letting the traditions of men get in the way of what God really wants is not a new issue, and yet it is easy to allow confusion from tradition and people to obfuscate knowing who we are and what He wants us to do.
Why are many in the church so preoccupied with power games and status? Why is there so much one-up-man-ship? Why the territorialism and attempts to posses and control others?
We need to acknowledge that the Church has one head, Jesus Christ, and that under that headship, it is a flat organization of equals, equally important individuals in community, not a military hierarchy with human top dogs and underdogs. We may be engaged in spiritual battle, but that battle is not with people. The church is not about man coming under the subjection and subjugation to man.
We need to stop our inordinate focus and preoccupation with named offices of individuals that traditions of men consider "special." When we feature and highlight a class of people within the church, we delegitimize and devalue others. Christ never thought of you or anyone else as a less-than Christian, why should you? We need to war against the thinking that we are below or above others.
We would do best to emphasize that every one in the body of Christ is of value, no person unimportant or marginal. All are necessary. Let's give this more than lip service. It is death to put another person under you and think of them as less. It is death to see yourself as less value than others. It is life and health to see yourself as God sees you. Renew your mind in the word of God as to who you are. Renew your mind in the word of God as to who the body of Christ is, and that part of who you are invited to be is an important part of the body of Christ.
We need to be loving and living that way. It's not just empty words that you are of great value and just as important as anyone else in the body of Christ. Don't let the false church or false traditions allow you to feel less than or that any other person in the body of Christ is less than or greater than who you are. You are needed. You are necessary. What you have to give is important. Who you are is important.
Eschew death-producing traditions. Embrace the reality of who the body of Christ really is, and the reasons for which we were created.
Why do we support organizations and people that produce death while claiming to have a corner on the knowledge of God's power? It is as if we become mesmerized by some carrot they hold out on a stick like a Las Vegas sign saying "You need me to get what you need from God." We are warned of false Christs, those who claim to be Him or to represent Him, but are not what they say they are. Let's look at actions and words over time and not just believe claims and salesmanship, but see what fruit they produce.
You need God. He works through His body, but you are free to move amongst His body, giving and receiving as God leads.
You are not cattle to be corralled in someone's pen and branded and under the bondage of some vein of human tradition.
It is fine to rest under the shade or feed from this pasture or that, or help to nourish others, but we are possessed only by the Son of God, not man.
We are not human merchandise to be marked and branded by man as a possession of his territory or trophy of the productivity of a (false) church or ministry.
Why are some so pressured to testify of healings that never happened? You are free to give glory to God for healing that does happen, and you are not less-than if you have not yet been healed. But man made pressures can make you feel that something is wrong with you because you have not fed the ego of a false shepherd.
It may be that a member of the body of Christ started out well, and began to build something healthy, but later became shipwrecked by the temptation to build a monument to himself. It's happened before. We see many examples in scripture, Old Testament and New.
Beware those who teach or encourage loyalty to themselves or man-made hierarchy that sounds biblical, but is not of God. A healthy Christian does not demonstrate faithfulness to God by hanging on to a boat the skipper is determined to sink. Even if it says it is a lifeboat, be awake to whether it is harming or damaging people. It is painful to realize you thought it was life-giving, but it wasn't. If "leadership" does not value your input and efforts to save them from producing death, and they won't listen to you - someone of great worth and value to God - it is not about your failure as a beliver. Jesus stood outside Jerusalem and longed to gather them like a mother hen gathers its chicks. But they would not have Him.
It is not health and life to remain part of that death-producing work, no matter what the claims and p.r. say. It is okay to swim to shore and plant yourself in solid ground. Be rooted and grounded in the love of God!
The next time a person claims you are one of his sheep, remember Who your Shepherd really is, and don't just say "Ba'a" because others around you do. Social influence is much stronger than we are aware. Sometimes all it takes is an environment where others cheerlead for us to become convinced something is good. We are God's beloved. He is our Good Shepherd. We belong to Him. True shepherds give their lives for others, they don't spend a lot of time talking about it and trying to convince you to buy in to the picture of how they want you to see them.
Recognize the imposters and those who make merchandise of believers and the gospel. Let's withdraw our support when we see those who step over others to assert their postured authority. Instead, let's join in agreement with those who lift others up without needing to be doormats.
In Him we live, move and have our being. Let's stop being people of eye-service, and start being people who express the love of God in every facet of our existence, looking to Him, who is the author and finisher of our faith.
It is woe for many when some usurp God's role and dictate to others what they should and should not be doing for Him.
Have you been under the oppression of people or groups who claimed to love you and encourage you, but instead tried to control or stop you from walking in a genuine expression of who God made you to be? Are there those who, by guilt or innuendo, push buttons that keep you from being able to be free to do as God leads?
Be released from the bondage of being made to feel bad or wrong for who you are!
Rest in the love of God, and that He finds pleasure in you, His creation. Bless what God is doing in others, and allow yourself to be encouraged and blessed in going forward with what God shows you is your work, your calling, your life.
Who are we to judge another's servant?
Love, discern, share insight and wisdom, maybe, but say no to accusation, put-downs, and fear-inducing activities that shut down the light, life and love flowing out of others.
Let's, instead, become a blessing to our fellow members in the body of Christ.
Let's support, encourage, uplift, educate (in a good way), help, and foster the love and hope of God in them as they pursue the things of God that make their heart sing and, at the same time, give praise and honor to our King!