Putting Away Childish Things Pt 2: You aren’t the boss of me!

I Cor 13:5 ….it (love) does not insist on its own way….

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Well, maybe I could have also called this post “I’m not the boss of you!”  But both are true.

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Matt 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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I will be honest, I was hoping to do these in order after the first part of the series, but patience has been His #1 focus for me since March and I am not yet able to write about it.  And now looking back, if I were to choose one of the I Cor 13 admonitions about what love is and isn’t to be the lynch pin — this one might be it.  In fact, when I look back on my life I would say that the people who loved me best knew how to guide me and counsel me without demanding their own way or being controlling.  It takes a great desire to be merciful to excel in this aspect of love.

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You know, there are a lot of things I wish.  I wish everyone saw things the way I see them spiritually, I wish we all pronounced the Name of YHVH the way I pronounce it and that everyone kept the same calendar as I keep.  I wish that because it would be easy, and part of me wants to be “right.”  And there is no problem with wanting a certain amount of uniformity — but there is a very grave problem with enforcing that uniformity in my own image.

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That is what “insisting on my own way” amounts to — demanding uniformity according to my standards, instead of being satisfied with unity according to His standards.

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Insisting on my own way in the lives of others (forcing them to do things my way), apart from requiring that I display rudeness and arrogance (and probably resentment and bitterness towards those who resist me) in opposition to I Cor 13:4-6, is a form of idolatry.  When I insist on my own way in anyone’s life apart from my own, I am subverting God’s right to be your Heavenly Father, to be the One to set the rules for His own house, and to discipline His own children.  When I insist on my own way in your life, I am making you in my image, not encouraging you towards being conformed to His image.  Do I have to follow the laws of God?  Yes!  Do I have to do it according to my best understanding?  Yes!  Do I have a right to demand that you do everything my way?  NO!

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If I were to name the #1 problem with ministers today, and the largest form of ministerial abuse — it would be that too many “men (and women) of God” are trying to make disciples in their own image.  They are taking control of a congregation and demanding their own way, demanding they be agreed with, and oftentimes use the pulpit and social media both to enforce their beliefs and interpretations as well as to keep those who disagree in their place. But as we see from the words of Yeshua (Jesus), that isn’t the way we are supposed to operate. A minister is a servant and a guide, not the Father, not the Spirit, and certainly not inerrant.

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But it isn’t just ministers doing this — it’s wanna be social media ministers who can’t stand it if you don’t do and see things their way according to their timetable (ah, there’s patience again!).  But I tell you the truth, if we cannot bear people doing things differently than we do, it is most certainly not the unction of the Holy Spirit — it is our fleshy desire to insist on our own way.  So what if people keep a different calendar?  So what if they do not pronounce the Name the way we do? So what if they keep a commandment according to a different understanding than we do, as long as they are keeping it?  Are we the arbiters of correctness?  Are we the ones who get our own way, have we reached such a vaulted state of perfection that we are the ones who get to determine the path for the entire rest of the Body?  And especially the new people who are so passionate, how long have we been so right after being so wrong?  Oh brothers and sisters, we should be so much more humble than we are.  Before seeking to lead people in the truth, we should make sure we know it — and we should be mature enough to no longer mind that people do things differently.

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To quote Bill Cosby, “Who made you the Jello sheriff of the house?”

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tolerate

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If we cannot tolerate people who do things a bit differently, then we are not mature enough to be great ones in the Kingdom because we still have the gentile mindset of lording authority over others.  We are resources, not rulers. We are still sheep, not the Shepherd. We are servants, not sovereigns.  This is His Kingdom, His flock, and we are His servants.  Our job is to represent Him, according to His character.  How often do we see Messiah forcing His way onto people?  Following them into their homes uninvited after they walk away from one of His sermons?  How often do we see Him hurling insults at believers who are genuinely trying to do things the right way but simply do not understand?  Never.  Oh, when we don’t know the first century context, it seems like He is insulting people willy-nilly but once we know the histories of the specific groups of people He was talking to and what they were doing, we see His restraint.  We never even see Him laying down ultimatums — we see Him teaching His talmidim (disciples) and everyone else who would listen.  Even Yeshua never demanded His own way.  He expounded upon the Kingdom of Heaven, and called people to follow.  He just taught the truth to the people who chose to listen. They had the right to refuse and walk away without being insulted and jeered at.  Let’s be honest, we don’t jeer at people for walking away from Him, we jeer at them for walking away from us.  And a whole lot of people don’t know the difference between those two situations.  They want an audience, even if they have to get one by force.

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You see, even though it was about Yeshua, He made it clear that it wasn’t about Him.  It was about the Father who sent Him.  That was the message of Yeshua, “obey the Father, it’s His doctrine that I preach, follow Me because I obey Him completely and perfectly.”  He is God in the flesh and yet never acted like it, in the way most of us would, and oftentimes do.

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No matter how long we have been at this, no matter our lineage, no matter our educational credentials – we didn’t create these people, and we didn’t die for them and we are not the lawgivers.  We are the beneficiaries of all that, not the source.  So let’s stop acting like the source, like our way is the right way for everyone. We don’t have the right to insist on our own way, and we don’t have the right to be irritated and judgmental when someone doesn’t do things our way, especially in the minutiae.  In fact, our time would be better spent in humble prayer, on our face, seeking Him out as to whether we are doing things His way at all — and to stop looking down on others, just assuming we are right, placing confidence in our own flesh and assuming that our every though is Spirit-led.

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Love allows other people to follow Messiah and obey God according to God’s plan for their life.  When we get in the way of that, trying to become the mediator, it is presumptuous and divisive.  Everything we do needs to point to God, and never to ourselves.  If we do that, then we have faithfully served our Master.  If we do not do that, then we are the ones who should be accused of rebellion, not the people who are doing things differently.

 

 

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