I wrote someone recently and told them that the best argument for some of the things I teach is Rose Creek Village. (Not that RCV does what I teach; I teach what RCV does.) I described “great power, great joy, and great satisfaction in God.”
Honestly, though, not everyone at Rose Creek Village believes that’s true.
I know a couple people, right here at our village, who would say that they can’t do anything because they can never get permission for the things that are on their heart. I always wonder if they live at the same place I do. In fact, I ask them, when I hear something like that, whether they live at the same place I do.
I’m talking about real personal stuff here, but it applies to all Christians.
The difference is not where we live or what we’re told. Those couple people and I have two major differences.
- I don’t think I’ve been told no until I’ve been told no.
- I’m willing to risk making people angry if I think I’m doing God’s will.
Maybe those both could be summed up in one statement: I care less what people think about me.
It’s not that I’m assertive by nature. All the psychological tests I’ve ever taken say that I’m extremely introverted. Growing up, I was shy and picked on all the time. I’m terrified to talk to strangers.
It bothers me greatly when people don’t like what I’m doing. When I say something controversial, and people don’t like it, I get nervous and jittery. It takes a great effort of will to choose to stand on a controversial truth.
But I do it.
I don’t feel like I have a choice. If I give up on a truth that comes from God, then I believe that God will give up on me. I get that from the verse where Jesus says that if we’re ashamed of him here, then he’ll be ashamed of us there.
So I don’t like it, but I do it anyway.
I’m a pretty good teacher, you know. I can be entertaining. I can say what people want to hear, and they’ll all pat me on the back when I’m done. Sometimes, when I lead a Bible study and I encourage everyone to talk, I’ll have people come up to me after and say, “I came to hear you talk, not them. You’re a lot more interesting. Do those others have to talk?”
I have a couple friends who are pastors. They became pastors by, well, lying. They said they agreed to a statement of faith that I know they don’t agree with, and they did so because they were told everyone does that. One of them told me, “You can’t repair a sinking ship from the outside.”
I can’t do that. I can’t do that at RCV, either. I’m at RCV because it’s the church. No, I don’t mean its the only church. I mean it’s the church. It’s people, gathered together for the purpose of following Jesus Christ.
So I listen to the church. When I say, “I think this,” and everyone disagrees with me, then I assume that the church is the pillar and support of the truth, not me. I yield.
But when everyone frowns, and says, “I don’t like it,” that doesn’t mean anything at all. I make them think about what they don’t like. If I think it’s God, then I go do what they don’t like. Maybe I’m wrong, and I try to pay attention to God putting a stop to me, or a brother running me down to say I’m sinning, but otherwise, I go on.
And if you’re trying to follow God, you’ll find that people don’t stop you. God has a way of moving everything out of the way, leaving the path open, and allowing you to blaze a trail …
… while everyone’s frowning at you.
Now, keep in mind, this only works for people who want God’s will. For those that are full of their own opinions and who have no fear of their own self-deceit, I just described a route to self-destruction, heresy, and destructive behavior towards the church that will result in God destroying you.
It’s good to be afraid.
But it’s good to be more afraid of God than you are of people.
That way, you won’t be confused into thinking that just because people frown at you a lot, they won’t give you permission to do anything. Get off your rear end and do something that you’re pretty sure God wants you to do!