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A Righteous Man’s Reward

My husband and I have been wrestling with our role in the church we had been visiting for the past three months. Although some members of this church were sensitive to the Holy Spirit, there seemed to be disagreement within the ranks about how much or little Holy Spirit should be demonstrated during official church functions. In the name of “order”, it seemed that some of the congregation wanted “normal church”, and some of the leadership wanted to keep the complainers happy. After all, few people—least of all Americans—are truly comfortable with spiritual things.

That left us in a quandary. Whereas some of the more senior leadership seemed to invite worship, prayer and prophecy by the Holy Spirit, some of the younger leadership seemed to be surprised by—and possibly afraid of—things like a couple worship-dancing together in an intimate (but not inappropriate) way as a representation of Christ and the Church. Some of the more Spirit-led members spoke with us with restraint about needing to “submit to the authority of the local church” when they shut down manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Since they all used the same phraseology, we knew they didn’t receive that instruction from the Holy Spirit—it was man-made—and it saddens me that the Spirit seemed so quenched even in a spiritually-sensitive body of believers like this.

When we were confronted with how our actions were being perceived by others, we spent some time trying to clarify our motives, as well as apologize where it was possible we could have wronged someone. I was even willing to fix myself to keep the church leaders happy, until, in a follow-on conversation with one leader, it was suggested that the freedom with which I shared ideas, implemented church guidance, or even made mistakes showed I needed to learn more teachability and humility. I was told that, instead, I should ask for step-by-step instructions from the leaders and do only what I was told, exactly how I was told to do it—like we purportedly make our Soldiers do (which is not true)—and this finally stopped me in my tracks.

Dialoguing with God

At that point, I went back to God in prayer:

Me: God, what is going on here? It feels like they want me to not be me, not be full of the power you grew in me, not be full of the strength you built in me, or the passion you put in me. Am I being affected by a spirit of offense or is what I’m seeing accurate?

God: A righteous man’s reward.

Me: You’re talking about “He who receives a prophet as a prophet receives a prophet’s reward and he who receives a righteous man as a righteous man receives a righteous man’s reward”?

God: Correct.

Me: So you’re saying that they don’t want or can’t receive me with the spiritual power you have given me, so I can’t bless them with it either.. that they can only receive me in the natural realm, as a “good Christian” and really only want me to be a mindless worker bee?

God: Correct.

Me: Well, am I also correct in my understanding that my season for being a worker bee was almost a decade ago?

God: Correct.

Me: So they can’t really see what it is you are doing in my life, and whatever they are asking me to do as church leaders is essentially against your will in my life?

God: Correct.

Me: I guess I know my next step, then.

Decisions are Made

That’s when I decided to quit this church—and every church like it—for the rest of my life. God did not create man for church, but church for man.

I’ve learned long ago to only partner with people who can discern God’s will in my life and vice versa. Why? Because life is too short to be held back by people who can only see the world or me through their own, limited, human lens. When the Bible tells us to be equally yoked, this applies to any kind of partnership—not just in business or marriage but also in the ministry of God. It’s sad to have to go—this church has so many godly possibilities—but they also have a lot more growing to do in their understanding of spiritual things.

As this is the third time, back to back, that my husband and I visited a church and knew there was no room for us there, we are concluding that it’s time for us to start working towards what has been growing in our hearts for how church could be done in this new generation. The things God has put on our hearts for a few years now are so countercultural to the “put on your best clothes, your church mask, smile big on Sunday, and make sure to look respectable” culture of American Christianity that the best description I can give is to call our dream “a non-church”.

Prayers accepted.

One response to “A Righteous Man’s Reward”

  1. […] been a long time coming. My husband and I are launching online healing groups as are our non-church answer to the church problem we have been experiencing for the past few years, namely that churches […]

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