Seeking the Respect of Heaven
When we look at the history of moves of the Spirit, we see the founding fire often wanes to “middle-class acceptability. Quiet order replaces passion, and maintaining the respect of the community overrides caring for the outcast” Many divisions among churches and denominations have splits occurred over the concern that the Church had lost its fervor and a desire to go back to its roots.
The same concern has been addressed in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement. Harvard theologian Harvey Cox warns Pentecostalism “might lose touch completely with its humble origins and become the righteous spiritual ideology of an affluent middle class” (Cox, Fire from Heaven, pp.71, 297). Even Paul addressed this matter in his letter to the Thessalonians, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20).
As our Renewal movement becomes established, organizations are formed, influence increases, and prosperity overtakes us—let us not fall victim to middle-class Christianity. Let us not desire respectability over passion. I am a respectable person, and I applaud good social behavior. Paul didn’t want the Thessalonians to lose their fire, but he further instructed, “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
I am not proposing foolishness or strangeness. But let us not run from foolishness for Christ’s sake, for “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
If we must seek respect, may it be the respect of heaven for a well-lived life, full of sacrificial love and humility. May we fully embrace the scandal of the cross.
If we must seek respect, may it be the respect of heaven for a well-lived life, full of sacrificial love and humility. May we fully embrace the scandal of the cross. The scandalous idea that the infinite God would deign to become a finite man and give His Own life on the cross for our sin. The scandal of The Great becoming low so the low may become great.
May we model our lives after His. May we, like Him, embrace the scandal of mercy and forgiveness. The scandal of a God Who still engages with humanity through the power of His Spirit. The scandal of the poor being treated as equals and the sinners being invited to dine with the King. May we embrace the censor of the respectable and “wage war” against the urge not to rock the boat.
May the inevitable prosperity which follows the righteous (Proverbs 13:21; 21:21) not shift our focus. May we embrace the simplicity of devotion even as our movement becomes complex. As we grow in favor and organization—may we choose the favor of God over the favor of men, and maintain the fire of the Spirit which transforms the world.
May we embrace the simplicity of devotion even as our movement becomes complex. As we grow in favor and organization—may we choose the favor of God over the favor of men, and maintain the fire of the Spirit which transforms the world.
Action Point: In what ways can we as a body collectively take action to “strike down” the desire to simply be well-liked, especially when that desire causes us to ignore the push of the Holy Spirit?
P.S. As you examine your life for ways to move forward with God and step out in faith, you may begin questioning your summer plans. If so, pray about taking your faith-walk forward dramatically this summer through one of our summer offerings: Global Summer Intensive, Greater Things, and Youth Power Invasion. Global Summer Intensive condenses a year’s worth of supernatural ministry school training into just a few weeks in the summer. Greater Things is our biggest conference of the year and promises to light fires for healing and revival in all attendees. Youth Power Invasion is an international ministry trip for youth, and there’s nothing like it.Learn more about each by clicking on their title above.
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This commment is unpublished.· 1 months agoAwesome prophetic words of encouragement and faith. Thank you! I'm 74 and have not used internet stuff very much. I like it so much because I get to hear believers like you. I'm going to learn how to 'facetime' with my granddaughter and two Great grandson (5 & 6) Saturday andcan watch our church sermon online! That'll be pretty awesome too, but not as good as doing 'facetime' with my Lord and Savior! Lord Bless.
This commment is unpublished.· 1 months agoWow Charity - what an important word for the body of Christ. It feels especially poignant to be reading this during Holy Week. Thank you for calling us to lay down our egos, and desire for acceptance in the places where they might hold us back from God's calling.
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoA good word and a timely word also. A well articulated and balanced challenge to remain focused on the right things. Thankful and, amen.
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoAmen! and Amen!
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agogood word
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoMay only the passion of God's heart be our driving force. If such is the case , then we won't succumb to the pressures of societal conformity.
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months ago❤️ GOOD WORD. Thanks
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoWe would like to be bold, be strong during this time and invite people to come to our home on Sunday for a worship service and meal. It is difficult to discern as the Bible instructs us to both obey our government and to stand on the protection of our Lord. We do appreciate your uplifting! God bless.
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoThe Elijahlist published a word given by Chuck Pierce a couple of months ago “Synaxis Arising - A House Church Revival”
...such a timely word as the local church closes its doors.
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoTinka, I understand... but this is more than an "obey the govt" issue, it's a "follow sound bio/medical practices" issue. Many CV19 carriers do not have symptoms and can pass the virus to many people with compromised health unknowingly for 2 weeks. Do you want to be the one who unknowingly passes on CV19 to people who end up suffering or dying from this? I don't. It is not a "faith" issue, or indication of "lack of faith" to avoid unnecessary public gathering at a time like this. By the common grace of God we have multiple electronic means to meet and speak and interact with one another. We can still go and minister in person to those that really need help, but lets avoid unnecessary meeting.
I'm so saddened by a few great, godly men and churches still meeting at a time of great risk while this pandemic is ramping up. This pandemic is not a conspiracy to prevent Christians from holding public services... Defying govt orders and continuing to meet is unnecessary risk and giving the church a black eye.
This is a very relevant quote from Martin Luther responding to one of the horrible plagues in Europe 500 years ago:
"I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but will go freely."
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoWow, love all the encouragement and insights for spiritual fire that you’re writing these days Charity.
Your speaking and writing is exceptional!! Thank you.