Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lying in the Name of the Lord

What's he going to say next? No born again believer would intentionally lie in the name of the Lord, would they? Well it depends on how you define intentionally. Join me and let's look at ourselves.

Before I go to deep, let me insert two disclaimers:
1) I'm not against any bonifide move of the Spirit of God. Whether it's laughing, crying, repenting, prophetic, apostolic, healing meetings, falling, jumping, quaking, shaking, you name it. If it's real, I'm for it!

2) The term honesty will be used several times in this posting. Honesty is of the Lord, however, the secret things of our hearts can not always be shared with everyone because some things could be overwhelming to someone who has not fully matured in Christ. There should be someone in your life that you can be honest with, like your Pastor, or a good friend, etc. The way the term honesty is used in this posting is in regard to our public actions and displays, or our heart before God.
With that said, let's jump in!

Have you ever been to a meeting where the preacher calls folks down for prayer and a long line forms? At this point the preacher begins to lay hands on folks and one after the other they begin to fall down. Uh oh, your next, what are you going to do? The pressure is on. You want to look as spiritual as the next guy, you don't want to offend the visiting preacher. You may even be afraid that if you don't fall you may be pointed out as someone who can't receive, so what are you going to do? You quickly look at your "What would Jesus do bracelet" for inspiration, but it's not working. What are you going to do? Probably what most everyone else does. ...You take the fall! You get up giving the appearance that a surge of the power of God overtook you in that moment and all the strength left your knees and you had to go down.
Have you ever done that? .....I have. I've heard it called a courtesy drop, you know, you don't want to offend the preacher or quench the Spirit for anyone else. I think we've thoroughly justified ourselves for all of our actions, but are we helping or hurting the kingdom? Does God really need our help to win them over with a little of our drama?

Here's another: At the end of a sermon of fire and brimstone everyone goes down to the altar where there's weeping and nashing of teeth. Cries of repentance are going up. People are laid out everywhere. This phenomenon occurs once or twice a week in some places. At first maybe you think, wow, these humble people love God, yet shortly you see that no one gets up changed, because three days later they have to do the same thing again, and again, and again. Their divorce rate is no different than anyone else's. Their children have the same issues everyone else's have. I think you see the pattern. If God is touching people at a level where altar services are required, sin would go into remission and peoples lives would be changed. The axe would be laid to the root. That's something that shouldn't have to be repeated bi-weekly or weekly.

This is another good one: Your at a meeting, suddenly laughter begins to break out. It starts in one corner and soon has spread over the whole congregation. People are all around you laughing with feverish intensity, and there you are. You don't feel a thing. You may get tickled looking at others laugh, but this intense uncontrollable laughter; you're just not feeling it. And you think, well maybe my heart is hard, what's wrong with me? Am I the only one who is feeling this way? Maybe you are, but maybe some of what you see is as fake as a three dollar bill.

What's really happening here? Are we helping others with these actions or hurting them? Are we making them feel self-conscious as if they are less spiritual. I believe we should be doing all we can to help people reach their spiritual potential believing that they truly are children of God.
So there it is. Are we lying in the name of Jesus for the same reason we would lie about everything else? What's that you ask? Self-preservation of course! Who else greater than ourselves are worthy of our lies. The nature of God that's alive on the inside of us doesn't need preserving by our great works of wisdom. No we are only attempting to preserve our carnal nature that was supposed to be crucified with Jesus when we were born again.
It's time to bring honesty back to the house of God. If you can't be honest, find a place where you can be. I've made a commitment not to perform anymore for any reason, and I hope I live up to that commitment. King David was considered by God to be a man after God's own heart. David made mistakes and he laid them out before God. He didn't hide a thing. Look at the psalms sometime. David's honesty before God is astonishing. Does this mean we shouldn't be radical for Jesus in our worship. Does this mean that God may not move on us in such a way that we may laugh, cry, lay prostrate and repent, or fall under His touch. He absolutely could, God is sovereign and He can do any of these things with anyone whose heart is turned to Him. To limit God would also be to perpetuate the lie that God doesn't move in Spirit and power among believers.
Let God be True and every man a liar. Just because everyone else is falling or laughing doesn't always mean that God would have you do that. There may be someone there whose faith would not fail them if they could see someone else who was not being moved like the rest of the crowd. We need to be secure in who we are in Christ. I would go further to say that some or many could be being touched by God, but I have to stay true to myself if I don't sense anything happening to me personally.
I have jumped through many hoops before designed by men in services that left me embarrassed and questioning Christianity. It's time to clean up our gatherings and wash these dishonest performances out of our midst.
To end, I would say, I hope you laugh, dance, shout, fall on your face in the deepest of repentance, cry, fall under His power, but most of all, love your brother enough to be honest in the gathering together of the saints no matter what.


Blogger stan said...

What I've caught myself doing sometimes while singing worship (not on stage, but in the pews with the congregation) is to furrow my brow, lift my head up high, and sing like I'm auditioning for American Idol...while inside, I know that I'm just singing words that I'm not paying any attention to. Why do I do this? Because IT LOOKS AND SOUNDS MORE SPIRITUAL.

Sometimes, I know that my acting this way has enhanced the worship of others in my immediate vicinity. They have told me so: "Wow, great singing today - you really lifted me up." "You're inspiring me to deepen my worship to God." But the problem is, I'm acting. My heart may not be truly worshipping God when it looks like it.

What I need to do, from week to week, day to day, is be honest about my worship. If I am feeling the Spirit move in me (which does happen more often than not), I should definitely express my worship to Him outwardly. But on those occasions where I'm just not "there", I should pray that God will keep me from going through the motions, because He doesn't want anything other than my true worship. (Matthew 15:8)

12:53 PM  
Blogger bottlerocket said...

This reminds me of one time in high school when a hypnotist came to our school and when he hypnotized the entire audience, it didn't work on me but I pretended it did anyway to fit in and because I didn't want him to feel bad.

I attend church, but it is nothing like what you described, and so this hypnotist experience is the closest I've come to that. I would not want to be at a church like that, as I'm sure it would seem deafeningly fake.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Ken Mullis said...

Hey Stan,
I just realized I could respond to your comment. You had left a comment about the posting, Lying in the Name of the Lord. I appreciate it. There is a place to bring the sacrifice of praise by faith against the feelings of our flesh. It can be tricky. It comes down to motive. If it's to press through for example, it pleases God. If it's to look spiritual, that's something else.

8:52 AM  

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