If you’re wondering what the title is all about, let me tell you about my other site Fire Press. Yesterday I published a guest post by fellow revival grad and blogger, Joshua Burton. We only know each other through the internet, and social media, but have a lot in common. As he mentions in the beginning of the post, an ex-professor of ours at FIRE School of Ministry had posted a Facebook note about how he’d heard of some church worship music leaders getting drunk and dropping F-bombs. I had made a comment on the note, it had gotten shared over 60 times, and had lots of likes and comments.
A week or two later, Josh tagged me in a note he wrote about his thoughts on the matter, and I knew I had to share it on Fire Press as soon as I was done reading it, and he gave me permission when I asked him about it. I knew it would resonate with people, but it also helped give a record amount single-day traffic to the site. So that’s a bonus.
A Matter of Building Electric Fences
Guilt, deception, shame, and the use of the skills and materials from the world around them (clothing made of fig leaves in this case) replaced the security they had known by learning of the world and themselves under the shadow of the love of God. Their sense of identity forever shifted from listening to God and the world He gave them, to listening to a fearful voice within themselves that spoke of shame, guilt, and the need to control and use the world to hide their insecurity.
Earlier this year I started, and then abandoned as I often seem to do, a series on electric fences that Christians erect around each other. I’m not about to defend cussing (I don’t think highly of Christians who do it), nor am I about to defend drinking, since, I don’t do it, but don’t see it as sin at all. Drunkenness, yes, merely drinking at all, no. But I couldn’t help but think and so does Josh in his post, that an awful lot of the standards we use to judge each other with are man-made or self-made.
Sure, the Bible is clear on plenty of holiness matters and their particulars. That’s not what I’m saying or talking about. But oftentimes we make our own classifications of what is acceptable and what is problematic. We erect electric fences to place around each other because we don’t seem to actually want to give the Holy Spirit room to bring people into proper holiness Himself, like he’s perfectly capable of doing. Instead, we need to create the lines and assume if people cross our lines in the sand, they aren’t truly holy, or they’re not committed, or they’re in compromise or whatever the case may be. We forget that not only does He NOT need our help at all, but we can’t do it better than Him like some of us seem to think!
Josh goes on to nail it further when he says;
The greater tragedy is that many have become so deafened by the voice of spiritual judgment that they associate it with the voice of God, and believe that in sharing it they are doing the work of God.
Unfortunately that’s the case, isn’t it?
We forget that Satan tends to beat up and puke on us. He pushes. The Holy Spirit leads, and encourages. Most of us don’t seem to understand the difference, sadly enough. We’re so used to having the devil puke on us and tell us through our own mind or other peoples’ voices that we don’t measure up or aren’t doing enough of this or that, that we easily assume it’s the Holy Spirit.
We know we need to change.
We know we have issues and that can’t be argued with. So since we’re already working on something in our lives that we want to change or wish we had power to overcome, we assume that voice is the Holy Spirit “convicting” us.
I’m of the opinion so many believers don’t actually commune as much with Him as they claim to on the outside. You may think, because I’m not worked up about something that you are, that I in fact don’t commune with him or else “I’d be more passionate, like you are”. That’s fine by me.
I still personally think too many don’t fully recognize the true voice of their Shepherd, and therefore so easily fall prey to other counterfeit voices that sound correct because the data itself is correct, because, it’s true — I do need to put away this or give up that. Since we’re not following the Shepherd’s voice directly, we become a people who need rules and regulations to tell us what we’re supposed to look like and behave like. We accept and impose on one another a codified religion so we know where the electric fences are that we’re to avoid, because it’s much easier obeying externals than it is to listen to that still small voice for ourselves.
From personal experience, and just plain my ever-developing understanding of the Scriptures and Holy Spirit Himself, He operates a lot more with incentives not guilt trips. He’s a lot more invitational into holiness, rather than kicking me like some other believers believe He does for not walking holy enough already.
If more Christians would start walking in complete love, the more excellent way, instead of the ‘electric fence’ building way we’ve gone about things, I really think we could see a real revolution and evolution in the way we grow and become an organism the outside watching world would be more easily enticed to join.