The Lord has recently revealed to me that I do not have to fear going down the path other leaders have gone using, hurting or misleading others. I do not have to fear that there was just one event or action I could unintentionally and mistakenly do that can turn me into a false teacher and/or a hindrance to the real people of God.
… But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you… 2 Peter 2:1-10
You see, part of what has kept me from really operating in my call is the fear that I could end up being like those leaders under whom we have suffered. I truly did not want to wound others as I had been wounded (but finally healed). But The Lord recently revealed that it was never one or two isolated incidents or actions that they did or failed to do that has gotten them to be where they are and the way that they are.
I have now come to a conclusion and I have a more calming understanding. The understanding that I now have is one that God helped to reveal based on the experiences others and I had with these so-called leaders and their own contrary words, behavior and lifestyle. These things testify against them and make it evident to me that their hearts are not right with God. They have not accidently fallen through the cracks. They jack-hammered a hole and walked right through it!
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit comes before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed-without remedy. Proverbs 29:1NIV
God has revealed that they are not in error. Oh, if it were only that simple, it could be quickly remedied. Instead, they are manipulative con-artists who put on façade of kindness, spirituality and zeal when it is profitable to them. They have deceived themselves, are deceived by the devil and are deceiving others. They use the gifts and callings of God to further their own agendas. They are not focused on pleasing God and serving and ministering to the people of God that they lure away from other ministries or who may stumble into their alleged ministry. No, they are about making a name and source of income for themselves. Plain and simple.
… many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. Philippians 3:17-19 NIV
The Apostle Paul said that in the last days, evil men would was worse. Notice that he said that they were evil to begin with. They have fallen away from the truth by their own lust and greed. They are only getting worse and the fruit is now becoming visible to us. Wickedness will always become more manifest as it grows unchecked.
If you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? Romans 2:19-21 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:5
Notice that they are still preaching a form of The Gospel but deny the power to demonstrate it in their own lives. They claim they are leading others to the light, but they appear to still be in the dark as to how they are destroying themselves, their marriages and the souls that come their way. They wonder why you are not moved by their great swelling words and they are oblivious to the negative effect their testimony is having on those they are supposed to lead out of darkness.
From Fear to Freedom
God is now assuring me by putting to rest the fear I had of becoming that which I abhor: a leader who hurts, hinders and pimps the people. The Father is letting me know that people do not accidently backside. They are not innocent victims of deceit and unwitting participants in deceiving others. Instead there has been a series of choices, a condition of the heart, and a pattern of behavior that led them to become something other than that which God appointed and anointed them to be.
… But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:12-13
So, how does this happen. Did they accidently get deceived? Did something just one day slip by them, upon them or in them?
I say, no, no and IMPOSSIBLE! (based on Gal 6:3,7-8; James 1:22-26; 1 Cor 3:18-21; 1 John 1:8; Obad 1:3)
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Philippians 3:14-15 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy Jude 1:24
I say that no matter what I see, I believe the Word of God.
So when the Word of God tells me that He is able to keep us from falling, I believe it! So when the Word of God tells me that we don’t have to fall like others have fallen away, I believe it! When the Word of God says that He would let us know if we begin to stray off the path He has set for us, I believe it! Why? I believe The Book from Genesis to Revelation. What it says, I believe!
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Revelation 2:20-21 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
When the Word of God tells me that He will let us know if there is something else motivating us other than seeking and pleasing God, I believe it! When the Word of God tells me that He will give us time to repent and return to our first love, I believe it! When the Word of God tells me that He is being patient with us and that He gives everyone an appropriate amount of time to repent (yet they do not ), I believe it! When the Word of God tells me that He gives some over to a reprobate mind (because they would not keep the truth), I believe it! When the Word of God tells me that He gives some up to uncleanness and vile affections because they enjoyed being unclean and pursuing vile affections, I believe it! (See Romans 1:17-32)
But beloved, I also believe these slightly uncomfortable Words of God that instruct us how we are to treat those who were once comrades in the army of The Lord.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15NIV Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. Romans 14:16
We can no longer fellowship with those who walk contrary to God’s will as long as they remain in their current state of ungodliness, self will and will not repentance. We can no longer endorse or receive counsel from those who behave as if they are the enemies of the cross.
Retaliation or Reconciliation
But even after all that they have done to us and others and knowing that we have to distance ourselves from them, we are not exactly through with them. You would think that we are to shake the dust off of our feet regarding them. But we do not get off that easy.
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 1 Peter 3:12 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44
We are obligated to keep the love of God in our hearts towards them and continue to pray believing God for their repentance. While God’s ear may be closed to them because they are unrepentant and remain in their sin, we who are in right standing with God can intercede for them and believe God to turn their hearts and minds back to Him.
Beloved, know this: often when a friendship ends, that is when your true feelings become evident and even articulated.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourns for his mother. Psalm 35:12-14
Whether we are experiencing righteous indignation or we have incurred a repeated injury at the hands of those who are supposed to be part of the family of God, it is then that the love of God has to replace the human feelings that are so often tested in the fires of betrayal, deceit, abuse or abandonment. For those who would be sold out to God, it is then that real love is revealed.
I do not speak of the love or friendship that your friend has for you. On the contrary, their recent behavior proves that they are not your friend or that they are not capable of loving others correctly. The love and friendship that I speak of is your love and friendship for them that is now being proven on your part. It is proven by your ability to pray for them (not against them) even while you are still hurting and/or angry over how they have treated you.
So, remind ourselves why God gave us power.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19
God gave us power to walk on top of our deadly situations. It was not merely for our own personal gain or prestige. He gave us power to be above only and not beneath. He gave us power to conquer every wrong spirit that wants to set up house in our hearts. He gave us power over the bondage that we can become held to when unforgiveness and bitterness take root in us. When we received The Baptism of The Holy Ghost, God gave us power to pray for those who despitefully used us and are still trying to use and/or defame us. He gave us power to love the way Christ loved as he hung on the cross while we stood by rejecting, denying or abandoning him. God has given us power to move beyond the hurt and the pain into the ministry of intercession and a deeper level of compassion and forgiveness.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
Does the process of learning how to walk in this power only take a week-end? A month? Or even a year? Does it only take a fast to make our little boo-boo feel better? I cannot promise you any of that. But what I can promise you is that it will happen if you keep your hearts and minds in the right spirit. I can personally testify that one day, you will be soooo over this ‘light affliction’. You will become so much stronger from this experience and you will be able to joyfully endure much more than this situation put upon you.
If you choose to walk in your ministry of reconcilliation instead of retaliating or just plain pouting, you will see how those who seemed to be your enemy have instead become a footstool for you; elevating you into another realm of God to which you did not know a mere mortal could transcend. You will begin to see those who have hurt you as a harvest for the kingdom instead of just a thorn in your flesh. Then you will truly understand what love, forgiveness and, more importantly, MINISTRY is all about. Remember – the ministry of reconciliation?
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
God has called us to the ministry of reconciliation. But believe this, beloved, what He has called you to do He will do it for you, through you and with you.
Just hold on and don’t give up. It will get better. That, I promise.