Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
2Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Before I begin my invective on this particular topic, I want to clarify that I am absolutely not condoning the immature, undeveloped, juvenile, gushing, feel-good, ooey-gooey kind of love! In this specific article, while addressing this subject matter, Iím specifically presenting the kind of mature love we should have for the brethren within the Body of Messiah.
It is also necessary to clarify that Iím hoping, praying, even assuming, that everyone who is reading this article has a true relationship with our Messiah, and that you are continually studying to show yourselves approved unto God, and growing in grace.
It grieves me to see the Body of Messiah (true Believers) suffering from implosion. It is blowing apart, from the inside. Is our belief system the only one who shoots the wounded, rather than heal them? We are making ourselves known as The Company of the Walking Wounded. Do we truly believe Godís Word to be true, and do we have trust in Him? If so, why do we continually ignore the portions of it that require an adjustment in our attitude and lifestyle? Are any of us filled with more wisdom and knowledge than the Creator? Has the creature become haughty toward the Creator? May it never be!
Letís peruse the word "vainglory" from our opening Scripture. This word gives off the essence of groundless self-esteem, one who will never concede that another person is correct, and right or wrong, they love to have their own will expressed, even if they are verbalizing a vain opinion or error. Diotrephes was this class of person, and he loved to have the preeminence in all matters (3 John 1:9). This replicates a person who is consumed with contentions of various and miscellaneous sorts, manifesting self-conceit.
A person with humility gets along well with others because they are flexible and considerate of others. They will not push people around just for the sake of feeling power and authority.
Having said that, it has become crystal clear that the line of demarcation between discernment and judging has become quite noticeably blurred.
Are we to judge? If you do a brief search via the Internet, you will find more articles on this one topic than time will permit you to read. Yes, we are permitted to judge. BUT, the only things we are to judge in anotherís life are the fruit of their life, and their doctrine.
As you all know, one cannot judge "fruit" in anotherís life by way of articles on the Internet, simply because you do not truly know the author and their manner of lifestyle. There is no intimacy in that particular relationship.
But, you must judge doctrine. If the doctrine deviates from the truth of Godís Word, it is false, and those who are promoting it are false teachers. We also cannot "assume" that they are wrong simply because we think so Ė their doctrine must be proven true or false by way of Godís Word.
Are we permitted by God to judge another manís servant?
Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another manís servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.We cannot continue to assail personalities, differing views (unless they are heretical), character flaws, personal habits, etc. Even if any of these issues do need to be addressed by Biblical standards, that objective can be achieved with graciousness, and without wrath and anger. We can be assertive and still maintain respect and humility. Let us not tread on holy ground, by trying to usurp the function of Ruach haKodesh (The Holy Spirit) in otherís lives.
The Body of Messiah is developing into a group of individuals who are islands unto themselves. Who wants to articulate an idea on a particular Scripture if they KNOW the retort from the other human being will be an assault on them which will question their intelligence, reputation, knowledge, past errors, or even their salvation? No one! Therefore, they remain silent so as to shield themselves from such verbal abuse and slander, and to guard their hearts, that they may keep themselves in the love of God. This is unquestionably a sad state of affairs for the Believers in this day in which we are living, because we are to articulate Scripture and the Body today batters those who do so as a result of their studies and relationship with God through His Word.
1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
God IS love, and if this precise "fear" (in the above Scripture) is promulgated amongst the brethren, then God is not involved in the melee at all!
Does everyone have to have their own private "revelation" from the Word of God? Are we playing the game of "one ups-manship"? Must everyone flaunt their own fastidious knowledge on every topic and Scripture? And then turn around and give themselves a gleeful pat on the back, over the slaughter they just executed on another member of the same Body? Am I going to hell because I donít study from the same translation as you do? Am I doomed to everlasting separation from God because I donít ascribe to your pet doctrine? Has it ever crossed our tiny minds that "perhaps" Ruach haKodesh has shown someone else something about a particular verse that we didnít know beforehand (and, vice versa)? This IS the role of Ruach! He teaches and feeds us, as we submit ourselves to Him. Oh yes, Beloved, weíve all been at the receiving end of this soul-slaughter a time or two! Therefore, I know whereof I speak.
1Corinthians 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
My cherished brothers and sisters, itís time to cleanse the thinking of the sinful nature from our mind, and allow it to be renewed by Ruach haKodesh. From a vertical view, there is a pipeline from each of us individually, and corporately, to God in heaven. The only way to keep that pipeline uncontaminated and free flowing is to measure every bit of minutia in our life by the plumbline of the Word weíve been given. The plumbline is Godís Word and it is the epitome of exactness.
Thankfully, we Believers are not members of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, but Almighty God has given us clear instructions when he spoke through Peter, saying:
1Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
(As an aside, the word "honour" is interchangeable with the word "value.")
If you cannot love ALL of the brotherhood, then be gracious enough to "zip it up" or "put a sock in it," and do not allow contention, pride, arrogance, etc. to manifest itself through you. Treat your brothers and sisters charitably and with dignity. It befuddles me to see those who are arrogant teachers stand and talk to unbelievers with love abounding. Then, in the next instant they wield the sword and murder a brother or sisterís soul, without even blinking an eye. Donít permit yourself to be a sepulchre as they are. Itís very unbecoming behavior for a Body that was purchased with such a high price Ė the very life blood of Yehoshua (Jesus).
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
We are the redeemed, and we need to conduct ourselves in a manner that is fitting to give Glory to our King. This brief article has been intended to help us take an in-depth look at our character traits, our attitudes and to press into Him, who gave His all, that we can show forth His glory in this earth.
2Corinthians 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
If you have persevered to this point, I want to thank you and commend you for your endurance, and for allowing me to put some random thoughts into words, with respect to a topic that is bothersome to me, to say the least.
True greatness lies in character, not in ability or position. ~ A.W. Tozer ~
Submitted for the nurturing, exhortation and edification of the Saints,
by Anna L. Schwery -- © Yad bíYad Ministries
Questions or comments? Contact the author.