God, Important Relationships, Change and You

God uses Pastor G and me online a lot to comfort, counsel and encourage.  We are thrilled to be used for His purposes and feel truly blessed that God has equipped  and empowered us to be there for others in this way.  People share that they feel safe with us and that we encourage as opposed to attack, rebuke and accuse when they have made mistakes in their Christian walk. 

Somehow, some (or most) spiritual leaders don’t understand how to be positive forces of change in people’s lives.  They don’t get that those negative tactics can actually be a form of spiritual abuse.      Not only that, they see God only as a harsh, demanding judge who sternly rebukes and punishes those who stray from following Him and living His way of life.  They tend to forget that God is love at His very core and that He bears the characteristics found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Galatians 5:22-23.  

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

It takes a mature believer, ordained or not, to embrace what love is all about, since most of us hail from dysfunctional families.  It’s probably from these dysfunctional families that the idea of a harsh, unyielding tyrant of a God comes from.  Many moms and dads come across like that.  The miracle is that God shows us who He truly is.  Can we all embrace that or do we choose to remain in our comfort zones and false assumptions of how God is?

Let’s Pray

Father God, I pray that all who have been led to read the words of this post take the challenge to heart and begin to transcend false teachings and beliefs about You to see You as You truly are.  May lives be transformed because of this, and may people grow ever more secure in You and in embracing the characteristics that truly make You who You are and what You transform us daily into becoming.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

This is today’s encouraging and transforming word.  May it encourage and transform you.

 

copyright 2014, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

About christiancounselorpastor

We are partners in marriage and ministry and are ordained spiritual leaders and skilled, trained Christian counselors who have been God's instruments in making a difference in many believers' lives. God has led us to write an emotional and spiritual recovery workbook for Christians that's been widely praised by respected spiritual leaders like Joni Eareckson Tada. Contact us if you want a copy. We have just a few left from the second printing.
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2 Responses to God, Important Relationships, Change and You

  1. Steven Owensby says:

    I enjoyed what you shared, and am grateful that you can be used of The LORD, Jesus Christ. Your message was a welcome encouragement to remember that we as saints, can be a little too critical … However, I have a question: If I share what God puts on my heart, and if I am doing so out of Genuine Love and Concern -with no regard for my own hopes, wishes, or desires other than to see ‘them’ overcome by Trusting in God’s Son; how is that people take it as though I’m being judgmental? Was Jesus being ‘judgmental’ when He called the scribes and pharisees Children of the devil? (John 8) [Which, I believe is one of the Most needed Truths that Is Missing from the Pulpit today …, All in the name of ‘love’, or rather, because people don’t want to hear the truth, and they surround themselves with preachers whom will Not Preach the Truth ….] Was Paul ‘wrong’, and being judgmental, when he told the church of Corinth: ” I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified.”? (1Cor.2:2) Just because he didn’t want to get caught up in their internal affairs (1 Cor.3 and onward) How about James, when he said; ” Ad double minded man is unstable, in All his ways.” (James 1:8) Was this Not said in Love? Was it Not True, what he said? Yet many, I’m sure, ‘thought’ in their heart : “Who is he to judge me, and say that my ways are unstable?!?!” I could go on, with many more examples of how each and Every Saint in the Bible ‘Preached’ ‘Hard’ to handle and accept Truth; and probably even do so from just about every chapter in the Bible. So, I would really appreciate it,if you would please, explain to me how one is to Preach The FULL Gospel or Word of God and yet do so in such a way as Not ‘Convict’ people, and make them think: “He’s JUDGING me!!!”

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    • Brother Owensby, thanks for your comment and your question. The answer is about understanding what speaking the truth in love is about and about truly being love as God is. Love edifies, builds up, encourages. I know your heart is right in wanting to help people in their walks with God, but consider the difference between edifying and correcting or rebuking. The one who edifies wants to help people make right spiritual choices because he or she sees that the wrong choices hurt people spiritually. Those wrong choices set them on a progressive path to literally model satan instead of God. So, the idea would be to help the person model Christ, our example, and to be love as He surely is.

      Consider that correcting and rebuking can be barriers or stumbling blocks to change while speaking the truth in spiritual love can be a bridge to spiritual growth, freedom and maturity. First, people need to feel safe in God’s love for them regardless of how they choose to behave. I know I’ve given you much to take before God’s throne for Him to help you help your brothers and sisters in Christ and others that God places across your path.

      Consider that Christ Himself did not condemn or rebuke the woman caught in adultery. She knew full well what she did and that it was wrong. I picture Christ looking upon her with compassion and gentleness. Who wouldn’t feel forgiven and motivated to change after such an encounter?

      Those of us who have been called to preach and teach indeed face those choices as to how to present God’s way of life in a spiritually productive and encouraging way. Over the years, God has changed many of us and helped us travel the path between legalism and love by following the lead of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus rightly said He guides us into knowledge about Him (Jesus) and His way.

      Pastor G and I are convinced that many spiritual leaders make the mistake of thinking that harsh correction and rebuke will cause someone to change. That’s prevalent in many denominations. The problem is, it won’t change peoples’ attitudes and why they do what they do. People need to obey God because they want to or choose to and not because they are afraid of Him.

      The above being said, there is a time to literally shock the sin out of people. The example is Christ rebuking the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Their hearts were so hardened by spiritual vanity that the soft approach would not work on them. Hopefully, that’s the extreme exception rather than the norm.

      God can and will grant you the wisdom and discernment to know which approach is best for which person and situation. Rely on Him and His leading, for He knows and sees far more than we do and so knows what is needed to help or, at the very least, be a witness.

      Pastor Sharon Billington

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