What comes around goes around, the blind leading the blind, and yet as always, right in the thick of it all God’s heart is longing for us to experience so much more than simply being awakened to His grace.
One of the sobering but very disturbing things I am detecting within this “grace awakening” is that although the venue may have been changed, the power-brokers are salivating at a potential smorgasbord.
Didn’t Paul allude to this reality even in his time?
“Take care and be on guard for yourselves and the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you bishops and guardians, to shepherd (tend and feed and guide) the church of the Lord or of God which He obtained for Himself [buying it and saving it for Himself] with His own blood. I know that after I am gone, ferocious wolves will get in among you, not sparing the flock; Even from among your own selves men will come to the front who, by saying perverse (distorted and corrupt) things, will endeavor to draw away the disciples after them [to their own party]. Therefore be always alert and on your guard, being mindful that for three years I never stopped night or day seriously to admonish and advise and exhort you one by one with tears.”
While pondering on some things today, the following story was highlighted to me in a way that I see to be most relative to what I am experiencing regarding grace. In the Gospel of John chapter 11, Jesus’ friends Mary and Martha are greatly concerned with their brother Lazarus’ increasingly unhealthy condition, so they send for Jesus to come and remedy this situation. Long story short, Jesus ends up getting there but his friend Lazarus has now been dead for four days. After Jesus told them to roll the stone away from where Lazarus was buried, Jesus commanded him with a loud voice to come forth from the place of his entombment.
“And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go.”
For a deceased man the burial clothing Lazarus wore was most appropriate, but not for a man who had just been resurrected from the dead, ergo, “Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go.”
For all of us who have been born-again or re-birthed by His spirit (an inner resurrection of our spirit), we were, in many cases, soon clothed with garments that had nothing to do with whose we now are: “If any man is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold all things have become new!” Just as Lazarus needed to have his death apparel removed, to intermingle with those in the land of the living, so must we be freed from the death shrouds we have had put upon us as His sons.
Rather than listening in our hearts to what the Father by his spirit is instructing and making real to us in terms of what we had encountered in the new birth, we are becoming subject to the well-meaning, sincere and ‘loving’ power-brokers who are being allowed to interfere in our lives - much like what happened to the early believers who were blindsided by the Judaizers . I’m referring to the growing number of men and women who see themselves as leaders of this ‘grace movement’.
For clarity sake I need to emphasize a point that needs to be continuously repeated, our (my) enemy is not with “flesh and blood” or human personalities, but with someone much more covert and sinister in his cloaked operation within the flesh of man wherein Sin resides.
I think there is something deep within man, especially the re-birthed man, a disturbing notion and it’s this: that unless the anointed and ‘called of the Lord’, Doctor/Reverend So and So intervenes for those freshly brought into the family of God, they will fall by the wayside. They reason that anyone with a head on their shoulders knows that the making of a “true” Christian is never going to happen by osmosis. We must instruct and train them and make them disciples of the Lord! (in other words, disciples of our dogmatic opinions).
Soon comes the bait and switch pitch, a lot like I remember from my Vineyard days: “Comes as you are, you’ll be loved” - and boy, is that a story for another time! Soon the school of the spirit is displaced by the charisma of the self-appointed individual who will mess with your soul until it resembles what a clown does with those long skinny balloons twisted into various animal shapes. You will be served a menu consisting of some of the following, (the length of the time spent on these things will always vary):
discovering the voice of God, discovering what temperament, motivational gifts or other “gifts” you have, whether you’re yet filled with the spirit, etc. God forbid that you sense you might be called to the ministry, because in some circles there are rigorous and stringent courses you must take to unearth generational sins requiring inner healing, to even see a “Christian psychiatrist” in order to be all healed up and ready to “minister” to the flock.
The list is endless, depending on your denomination’s particular flavour, regarding how to become a mature disciple of Jesus Christ. This modus operandi has been in effect ever since the birth of the church and today is but a new day of a soon-to-be-seen fresh batch of modern day Judaizers attempting to train and equip the new grace fledglings!
I especially detect this unbeknownst desire to lead and guide these ‘gracelings’ in those who are still fixated on the supposition that they have some sort of calling or anointing. To try and shape what God is doing within the hearts of so many today is often a residual throwback from having spent years in religion. It’s a subtlety, for sure, but the dissonance of this deception is registering on my radar screen.
In many cases, these previous leaders who have left the institution no longer have a point of reference in terms of referring to their followers as their ‘church’ or ‘flock’, but still the craving or lusting for a reputation exists. They just word it differently, using more palatable or pleasant terms such as, “I have this group of people.” In other words, their venue may have been altered, but the lusting for recognition and prominence is still lurking barely skin deep. These previous leaders just don’t realize the hooks the enemy has planted within their souls for power and distinction.
And therein lies the bait and switch: those whom the Father has drawn out of the bondage of religion into the freedom of grace will soon find themselves caught in the enemy’s snare as they become willing followers of yet another so-called leader of the so-called ‘Grace Movement’.