Remember that old nursery-school hymn “Jesus Loves Me” that we would sing back in the days of our youth in Sunday School? The words always stuck with me through the years, and looking further into them, I realize that yes I am weak. That’s because I’m still in the flesh, still a sinner in need of salvation. I’m still learning, and while I learn, I come to understand some things about who I really am.
Here’s a few verses on weakness. I love this first verse, 2 Cor 12:9 because it underscores our weakness and thus our need for a savior:
‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’
‘When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.’
‘Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’
‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.’
Because our Lord Jesus Christ is strong, our weakness reminds us of why we need Him. If we are “strong,” as some claim to be, then why do they need Jesus? Why do some people think that just because they think they’ve seen and experienced the worst that humanity can dish out that this qualifies them to rebuke other Brothers and Sisters in Christ for simply being weak?
Pastors, deacons and ministers who do this are operating under the sin (and spirit) of Pride. They are not approaching their congregation in love. Instead, they think they’re sensing “evil” or “worldliness” in other Christians, then they shun them, push them out, and do things like block their IP Address because they’re afraid of certain kinds of questions that they have no solid answer for. If I’m wrong, correct me. Don’t take the low road and make fun of my face, slamming my words while at the same time locking me out so I can’t speak up for myself or explain why I made my statements. What’s more — I’m not ashamed to admit I’m weak.
If I’m a “church-hopper,” it’s because there are so many false teachers out there in the online world and in the “real” world. I’ve yet to find a church that preaches on the whole Bible. Instead we have people who pick and choose the parts of the Bible they like and ignore the rest. Cafeteria Christianity. And if anyone disagrees about how one should go about believing in the Lord Jesus, they shun people, or run and hide.
Paul rebukes Cephas (Peter) for this very thing.
Galatians 2:11-21 (KJV)
In the end, we are called to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not called to create a little bubble of protection over small groups that agree with one person’s interpretation of the word, pushing everyone else out. When I walk out of a church, it’s because I didn’t just hear one little thing I disagreed with, it’s because I heard a LOT of things I disagreed with. Not only that, no one would explain why I was in error. Of course they self-justify, twisting scriptures until they’re blue in the face to support their position. They attempt to nitpick other things I said or had done, yet totally miss the point of my questions or statements. Finally they then hold me up as an example of what not to do while seeking the Lord Jesus. This is the very definition of “having a form of godliness yet denying its power.”
You can say anything you want in front of a captive audience, but when you actually go out and spread the Gospel like the Bible says to do, people are going to hit you with questions you don’t like or can’t answer. I’ve been hit with it by just trying to talk to my own family members. If you can’t handle questions, then you’re not out spreading the Gospel to those who need to hear it. If you haven’t handled that part of it, you are untested.
“…4traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having a form of godliness but denying its power.Turn away from such as these! 6They are the kind who worm their way into households and captivate vulnerable women who are weighed down with sins and led astray by various passions,…” – 2 Timothy 3:4-6
If I see that one person speaks as though they are the final authority on the matter – not the Word of God being the final authority, but their own opinion – there’s a problem. I’m trying to learn, mainly because when I speak to other people about Jesus, I don’t want to tell them the wrong things. If I came to sit in the pews of your church and you did nothing but rebuke me, hoping for “conviction” rather than educating me in the Word, there’s a problem. And yes, there’s a big problem when all I hear is YOUR OPINION of the Word of God rather than showing me concrete evidence in the Scriptures that what you hold out as your interpretation of it is true. The Scriptures themselves are truth, and they are the best method, especially when used in context and in comparison to other scriptures that also support them. It’s when we get into only one person’s sole interpretation of it is when things get dicey. Social media and YouTube are full of false teachers and preachers who count on the number of views, subscribers and clicks instead of confirmation from the Lord.
We’re all sinners, and in being Christians, we’re still open to being attacked and we will stumble. Never cause a brother or sister to stumble. If you tell me I am weak, you’d better qualify that with scripture, not just because I say something you don’t want to hear.
Get down off your cross and get over yourself. Learning and teaching the Word is about glorifying and spreading the Gospel. It isn’t about YOU, it’s not about ME or all the things wrong with either of us.
You can worry all day long about all the stuff that will occur (or is already occurring) in the end times, and brag about being “strong,” but what good does it do you? You’re doing the opposite of what Jesus taught us. You’re not trusting in God. You’re not trusting in Jesus. You certainly aren’t trusting the Holy Spirit. I don’t worry about earthquakes, meteors, aliens/ETs, the Lumis or anything else. If it gets me, it gets me because the Lord allowed it. It was my time to go. And when it’s my time, it’s when God wills it, not a moment sooner. I don’t worry about calamity, I don’t obsess over it like some others do, staring at GOES satellite images, looking for glitches in data and proclaiming doom when they find one. I trust God, and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He already told us what’s going to happen in the Bible.
In my weakness, I rely fully on the Lord my God in Heaven and in the Lord Jesus because I have always been looked-after, even when I didn’t believe. I rely fully on the Holy Spirit to lead me and teach me. I do NOT rely on any man or woman walking on this planet, because all humans are imperfect. They will make mistakes. They will get things wrong. Making me feel like I’m an awful person and shunning me because you think you have me all figured out is YOUR problem, not mine, for I rely on God’s opinion of me, not yours.
So, no, when I walk away from a church I don’t name it, don’t name the pastor. Don’t name the congregation. I never even talk about it unless someone asks where I last went to church. And even then I keep it simple – I didn’t feel the need to stay there and they didn’t want me there, either. No big deal. Once I walk away, I don’t look back. I’m not Lot’s wife.
Finally, at least I can admit I’m weak. Sometimes I stay for a time because I’m being shown something. When that lesson is over, it’s time to go. I’ve learned something new, something I didn’t understand before. There are “seeker-friendly” churches who preach nothing but love and light, and there are churches that live in a bubble of their own making, becoming overly paranoid, seeing the devil in anyone who comes to them looking for “meat” and seeking counsel. Jesus wasn’t just talking about ministering to the poor and needy when He said what he did in Matthew 20:40-45:
40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
He was talking about those who come in search of not just “milk,” but “meat.” If you deny them who come to you honestly and in humility seeking these things, you’re not doing His Will.
So I’m done with yet another place. Moving on, as the Lord wills it.