Saved by a lifestyle?

From 11-10-05 Journal entry

Note: At the time of this journal entry, I was involved in a Bible study written by Beth Moore.  She is a Christian author/teacher. 

“We were studying Jesus calling the 12 disciples.  It brought up a lot of feelings for me, of course. I had no idea how the class would interpret those verses.  I was afraid they would downplay it too much, but they didn’t.  Instead, they applied the basic concept to themselves. It was so interesting. They took the verses where Jesus told them to take very little with them and they totally understood why Jesus would tell them that. But it wasn’t like it was a huge, big deal to them.They saw it more like Jesus was introducing the concept of taking care of each other.  I then got to thinking how the fellowship took those verses and built a whole church around it.”

The fellowship believes you must have a homeless ministry in order to be saved.  I had been taught that my entire life and had believed it with all my heart.  When I began searching the Scripture for answers to questions such as, “Does the ministry have to live the way the workers do in order to be ‘right’”, I knew I was entering into a huge subject.  I’m sure there will be several posts here about this subject.

Not only did I have to search the Scripture again and again on this subject, I also prayed earnestly for the mind of Christ on that matter.  I had to find the whole tenor of that subject.  What was going on then and now? What truly mattered to God then and now?  I prayed desperately that God would reveal truth to me on this subject; that He would not let me be deceived by anyone. Not by the workers and friends, not by my new friends at church, not by people I worked with, not by any author, not by Satan.  My heart’s cry in that area was 100% pure.  I chose then to trust that God would answer that cry.  Why wouldn’t He?

Was I going to base my salvation on believing a certain lifestyle of a handful of men and women?  Was I going to base my salvation on what men and women were doing and how they were living?  Not even on how truly spiritual they were or weren’t?  Only the lifestyle.  It was all about man’s efforts and works. Not about Jesus. He was never the true focus.  The workers were. How they lived was more important than the true spirit and essence of what Jesus gave those first disciples.  Unbelievable.  Yes, truly and finally unbelievable.

When Jesus was with the disciples after the Resurrection, His final words to them were, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you…”

He didn’t tell them to spend their Gospel meetings telling people how they themselves lived.  It wasn’t to be all about them; it was to be all about Him.  Not their righteousness but His.

It finally became so clear to me where the error was.  The error wasn’t so much whether they lived with people or in their own homes, but it was never to become doctrine.  The focus was never to be on our own works but on Him alone.  That revelation was so freeing.

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10 thoughts on “Saved by a lifestyle?

  1. Thank you for your blog and your courage to tell your story. I appreciate your focus on Christ, and not just on pointing out all the hypocrisy and error. I still go to meeting for the sake of keeping peace at home, and have come to terms with it. I really do love those we meet with, and the ones we do meet with seem to keep the focus on Jesus, not “the truth”. I am liberated in that I now have a sense of looking outward, of seeing other Christians and appreciating their lives. I notice so much more the Christian struggle going on around me, and the price that others are paying for their faith.

    I also felt like the more I got to know Jesus, the less I fit in. I still don’t really fit it. So sad that professing people do not know how to talk about Jesus.

    I do pray that some day God will deliver me, in His own time and way, from this. But for now I am where I need to be and am content. I don’t give much, if any, thought to the lifestyle, the look, the method, or even the ministry. I live like I love Jesus, I look the way I do to be modest, nothing else, and I can honestly say that in my heart, I desire less and less of the world and more and more of Christ. I have dropped the facade of “professingness”.

    Reading your story has been very encouraging. Thank you.

    Donna

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    • Donna,
      What a refreshing post! Thank you for your honesty and most of all, for how you are living and what you are believing. It takes real courage to do what you are doing. God will be faithful and He will lead you where you need to go/be.

      God bless!
      Darla

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  2. Thank you Darla. My words are so inadequate, but please keep writing. I can’t tell you how they are helping.
    happydaze 🙂

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  3. Hi Darla,
    Your blog hits the nail on the head; those were some of the same reasons we finally stopped going to the meetings. We didn’t “lose out”, we didn’t “lose our faith”, we didn’t stop “professing the Christ”. We just saw, as you did, that the focus needed to be on Jesus, not the method.
    Darla, like you, we prayed desperately for a long, long time that we were not being deceived in taking this new direction. It was a day and night prayer, prayed in purity of motive. We were so entrenched in the fellowship in every aspect of our lives. We were convention grounds owners, and we believe with all our hearts that God led us to that experience in order to open our eyes. We tried pretending to ourselves that we “didn’t really see what we saw”. It worked for a few years, but then our consciences began screaming at us, and our peace was gone. We tried our best to reason with the ministry leadership in order to redirect the focus to our Lord Jesus. It was with great sadness and sense of loss that we left. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but conscience just demanded it. Our interaction with the ministry you were in was the driving force, the catalyst for our change of direction. We look back now and ask ourselves how on earth we allowed such bondage to ourselves, all while being well-meaning souls who had always wanted to “serve the Lord.”

    We thank God we can now fellowship with some folks and hear scripture-based teaching without all the focus on method. It is amazing and wonderful. Our services are full of praise and thanksgiving, NOT for what we are or what we have or what we have done, but for Christ who loved us, washed us, gave Himself for us as a substitutionary sacrifice, and then rose from the grave triumphant over every enemy, to sit at the right hand of God, interceding for us in all our weakness and human frailty. Praise be to Him. I should mention here that, like you, we do not attempt to persuade others in the direction we have gone; we all are individuals before God and will answer only for ourselves. We have come to believe that it is solely the work of the Holy Spirit when it comes to these matters. We gratefully leave it up to Him.

    Sorry this is so long. Your experience is so much like ours, I just had to respond.

    Jane

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    • Jane-

      Thank you for your honesty. I don’t know you – but I am so grateful for Darla – and people like you who continue to verbalize what some of us just don’t have words for!

      Crystal (Stidolph) Stiles

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  4. This is a huge issue for the fellowship. Having made it their doctrine takes the focus off Jesus and his true mission.

    Thank you so much for sharing. It’s been and going to continue to be an incredible journey my friend!

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