If God’s ways are different than the ways of the world, what makes them able to be different? Whatever we perceive God to be is how we will hear Him when He speaks. If we believe He is a judge, we will hear His words as words that judge. If we see Him as a Father, on the days He makes judgments, we will not be shaken because we will understand they are judgments of our Father who loves us. His justice system is a justice system of a Father who loves us, not of a God. He never wanted to be God, that is what He is. That is not who He is. If we perceive Him for what He is, we may never know who He is. If we know who He is, than we can trust what He is. If we make the shift in our minds to see Him as a Father who love us, we will not read the Scriptures the same way. We won’t hear them the same way. We won’t share, teach, or even preach them the same way.
The church is the place. The community of God is a place, as the gate of heaven it is a place. Jerusalem is a place, as the mountain of the Lord it is the place where we learn the ways of God. When we, as the community of God, are challenged in the ways of our hearts towards one another, we are really being challenged to choose the ways of God or the ways of the world. If you spend every hour of every day with me, at some point in life I am going to offend you and you have to choose. Do you measure me by the ways of the world, or by the ways of the Lord? I am going to be wrong sometimes. When I am wrong, will you look at me through the measurements of right and wrong or will you look at me through the eyes of love. Those of you who are parents, you know it is easier to look at your children through the eyes of love than it is to look at your neighbor’s kids through the eyes of love. You have let your children get away with things you would not let your neighbors get away with. You love them. You see them as family. You don’t see them as strangers. You see them as ‘us’. The mountain of God is like that.
God doesn’t want us to see each other as strangers. He wants us to see one another through the eyes of God’s ways – through the eyes of love. I am really good at doing what I want to do I am terrible at doing what I am told, unless I want to do it. I have to decide to want it, or I am not going to be good at it. I make a terrible slave or servant, but I make a wonderful son that serves. When I want to do something, nothing will stop me. I traveled two months with a broken foot because I wanted to. The real issue is our hearts. The mountain of God is not a place we come to experience the disciple of the flesh. It is a place we come to embrace the willingness of the Spirit. The real issue is the desires of our hearts. In community, issues are going to arise that will challenge us in the desires of our hearts. Unless it is tested by something that tries to be stronger, there is no real proof of true community.
God gives relational connections to family members, but also to those who lead in that family. A family doesn’t just consist of brothers and sisters, it includes dads, moms, uncles, aunts, grandpas, grandpas and various elements of generational love, life, testimony, destiny and inheritance. Things will happen in life that are difficult to walk through. The real test in difficult times is the ability to be one together or to seek to be one by ourselves.
If I am in a battle of war, I want someone to lead. If someone has the grace to lead, I want them in the battle with me. I want to listen for their direction. I want someone to see the big picture so I don’t die in the little place I am standing. I want someone who can see beyond what I can see, so I don’t make a wrong move and die in the battle. I would like someone with an aerial view. I want someone who can see beyond what I can see to lead me. That would be a gift to me. In relationships, there are gifts of leadership.
When leadership leads, it’s destructive, detrimental, and deathly to try to lead instead of them. Leadership is given to us to lead us. They help us be who we are in relationship to the big picture. It is not a matter of one being more valuable than the other. It is a question of being us or disconnected in some way. To be us, we need leadership. We can be individuals all by ourselves, but we can’t be us without a gift of leadership to be us.
God is going to speak to us, but He is going to speak to the leadership in a way that helps us become ‘us’. When God speaks to leaders concerning the direction as ‘us’ it is important for ‘us’ to position our hearts to hear what God is speaking to the leaders.
When our leaders say, we’ve heard God say this is the direction we are going, we don’t go to God and say, God are you saying we are to go in this direction? When we do that, we are asking an illegitimate question. At the same time, we can’t just obey and blindly follow, that is not faith. This is control. Faith comes by hearing God in our hearts. When leadership says they have heard God we are to go to God as members of that body and say to God, I know You have spoken this. I need to hear this also in my heart. What is my part in this? Speak to me God, I need to hear You. What does this mean for me in my life? If we say, did You really say this? We are putting ourselves in the role of leadership. If we just say, the leaders said this, I am going to do this, that is not God either. We have to be people of faith.
My son is my pastor and in the corporate setting of ‘us’ as a community, there are things that God want to express through ‘us’ as a community. When my son says he has heard God say something to ‘us’, even though I am an apostle and spiritual father in his life, even though I was the senior pastor for twenty years, I never go to God and say, God did you say this? That is an illegitimate question. I would be positioning myself to be the senior leader of the congregations. If I do that, I will hear illegitimate things. To be the community of God we must know who we are in the community and we must seek to be ‘us’.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson