Saturday, December 8, 2007

...Just to Clarify

Now regarding my last post, I have a few clarifications to make, as I can hear the potential questions being raised. So here goes... There is nothing wrong with some of the ideas of council we were given, such as read this or that book or article or what have you. However, this was more of a formula that seemed to be followed instead of our ultimate need being met. Which is to hear the full measure of the Gospel and understand God's amazing love for us despite our sins, actions or behaviors. Why was this not the first and foremost thing we were taught and told over the years? All I remember hearing were phrases, "The Gospel" and "how to glorify God" and "the cross." Now these are all important, and don't misunderstand me, I just think we need to hear the whole Gospel actually talked out and preached all the time, not just mentioned as mere words in and of themselves.
Also, I do not believe anyone intended to do us wrong, in fact most people thought they were helping! I do not judge anyone or accuse anyone! I am simply seeking to speak up and hopefully show our truest need is the message of GRACE, ultimately found in the full Gospel! And, I now believe any council given should be born out of genuine love, which can only come from God, and by building genuine relationship built on trust and sincerely felt care. I believe much of the council that went on was because we were a council driven culture and accountability with one another was of the utmost importance. Which I now think takes away from the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and hearing God's voice. Too much man centeredness! I also believe we just all need to build each other up, not point out sins, - encouragement again and again!
Okay, so enough on sincere hope is that this council was born out of care, and love, and I was told it was! However, I find it difficult to see love when all I am hearing is how bad I am screwing up..this ultimately leads to condemnation which is not from God! I am inclined to say, people's truest need is to know they are loved despite how badly they are sinning, which is what the Gospel is all about! To know that before the world even began God set his affections on us!
Also, I am not writing to indulge any sort of self pity. I know God can use all things for his good purpose! I am a walking example of failing time and time again and the Faithful Father reaching in and pulling me up and making Himself greater in my eyes! Always showing me more of who He truly is and how much he loves me!
As for the question of, "it seems like you may be bitter?", I must say the temptation has been there for sure. Anger as well. Anger mainly at the fact that we could have been free from this strife long ago had our church not drifted from grace and into a legalistic sin consciousness. Years spent toiling, years with wrong believing.....however, my anger is more at the undermining power the enemy has through infusing the church with a works based mentality! But don't worry God is restoring my heart in this area and I am growing more compassionate and understanding!
At one point I was told I was too concerned with what people think, what council I could get from others, instead of God. This is partly true. I was definitely too consumed with seeking accountability and talking to others about my issues....this partly is so, due to the over-emphasis on accountability and confessing our struggles to each other. And partly because whenever we councilled we were told to find someone to meet with and share our struggles with. I got carried away, because my husband did not accept this practice and somehow I felt like I needed to make up for his lack. (a very self-righteous, legalistic attitude on my part!) I did, however, seek God! I sought Him as best I knew how, with all my heart at times! I knew I needed him, it's just that all the voices, I allowed to infuse my mind became too noisy and began to drown out the One Voice I needed to hear.
The most amazing thing about all of this is that God indeed is bigger than all of our mistakes! He is so loving and so patient! His Amazing Grace is available to live in at all times, never ending! He longs to be gracious to us! However, he cannot partner with self-righteousness, he will not! He opposes the proud! But when we get to the point when we realize we cannot "glorify" God on our own or in our own strength, it is then when the floodgates open wide! You see the more we failed and didn't "get it right" the more we knew we needed God. We always "knew" this in our heads and accepted it as truth, however our hearts weren't fully engaged.
That's enough for now, I have much more on my heart to share, as I am so passionate about sharing what God has done in our lives and I hope to preach the Gospel again and again....I am so blown away by the Grace available to us in Christ. Where sin increased, Grace abounded all the more...!!!! I am living breathing proof of this truth, let me tell you!!!


jul said...

Lydia, I think you're right to point your anger at the true enemy, because what happened to you should make you angry! But not at other deceived people, they're suffering as much or more than you were. As far as how loving the advice you got was, how could it be loving? The people advising you don't know God's love themselves, they think his love is conditional on their performance and so their love for others (spouse, children, family, friends) is conditional on their perfermance. I know, that's how we lived too, how we counselled people (funnily enough with no good results!) and how we almost destroyed our marriage, children, and hope of future ministry. I keep saying over and over, I will never counsel anyone ever again, all I want to do is listen to people, love them, and preach grace, grace, grace, grace, grace until they get revelation by the Spirit and get wrapped up in the the loving all-powerful manifest glory and presence of God! Oh, and of course I'll get them listening to Rufus or some other great grace preacher so they can saturate themselves with hearing the word of God. And then we just sit back and watch Him do the work none of us can do..restoring faith and joy back into the lives of prodigals.

Joel B. said...

Wow, lots of good stuff here, in the post and in Jul's comments. Lydia, I've gone through similar (although not exactly the same) things with the 'leadership' at my church, in regards to the counsel that comes from their preaching and teaching. I fully believe that their heart for people is genuine and deeply sincere, but I disagree with many of the ways they go about teaching the 'principles' of the Christian life. During the time that I've been desiring to grow deeper and deeper into grace over the past 12 or 13 years, I've found that even a tiny bit of legalism mixed in with grace can cause a whole mess of problems. So while I have a whole lot of love for the people who I've been listening to for the past 8 years, I've had to really take a look at how their teaching and preaching has affected my life - both positively and negatively. I don't think I've ever said anything against them personally, and in fact I really do like to say a lot of good things about them, but yet I've had to take a stand for the truth, and I've had to stand in the truth and acknowledge that their good-intentioned teachings were hurting me. All the while, I've also been able to glean some great stuff from them. Like you're saying, there are good articles, good books, good advice and counsel that can truly help.

And so the battle truly isn't against flesh and blood, but the battle is to stand in grace and in true godly wisdom in the midst of the spiritual forces and principalities that would bring us down.

lydia said...

Amen! Amen! This is good stuff....I hope Aaron lets you preach a bit as well....:)

Thanks for saying your piece, as it is always appreciated!!