Prepare to be frustrated.
In this blog, I am going to peel the scab off a wound, without knowing what to do to correct the root issue.
The problem has to do with principles vs. the word of the Lord. Both are absolutely valid.
Each of us can tell stories of times when we stood on the Book, invested in the principles and saw measurable, verifiable, sustained results because of the dependability of principles.
And most of us can share times when God told us to do something unusual, that was not based on principles, and we got — you guessed it — measurable, verifiable, sustained results because we obeyed the word of the Lord, even when it did not make sense, or went against the principles.
The problem lies when you are an outsider and you have no way of knowing whether the other person reeeeeally did hear from the Lord.
I get these calls all the time.
“Hello, my life is a mess. Can you help me?”
“Tell me about it.”
“Yadda, yadda, yadda . . . ”
“OK, I see some areas where there might be a problem. Why don’t you change A, B and C and watch to see if things change in a month or so.”
“Oh, no! You don’t understand. GOD told me to do A, B and C the way I am doing them. That CAN’T be the problem.”
“Ah, I see. Well, I can’t see anything more to suggest so I guess you need to walk it out to the end until God comes through with whatever His last minute strategy is.”
Now you know and I know that God pulls off some pretty radical last minute things, and a whole lot of faith is walking out what absolutely does not make sense, especially in the face of the consistent advice of all the wise people around you.
I have my doubts that Abraham tried to explain to Sarah about his expedition up the mountain with Isaac and the firewood. I think he just did it. I am glad Noah didn’t listen to the advice of the local wise men. In both cases, they heard right, and God came through supernaturally, superbly and history was forever changed.
But where it gets messy is when your friend is steadily going backward and won’t budge on his position.
I have one person who has been calling me for ten years now. There are two things which I think he needs to change. And he is adamant that God doesn’t want him to change either of those, but he keeps coming to me because his pain is going through the roof. His life is unraveling and from my point of view, it is because of principle violations. From his point of view he is walking out a life of extreme faith.
Who is right? I dunno, but I kind of wish he would quit calling me, because I can’t make his faith walk work for him.
Yet even though he (and so many others like him) bother me, I have to face the fact that I do exactly the same thing.
I cannot tell you how many times concerned people have sat down and tried to straighten me out on my business model. “This is how it is done.”
And, just like my friend who bugs me, I respond, “Yes, but . . . ” And I do the opposite because I think God has told me to.
I can see the logic of their wisdom — in the natural. South Africa, Australia, Canada, Ohio, New York and other places are active markets for us. I have been told every which way that I ought to go there and minister to the people who are hungry and eager and willing to implement these principles.
To which I answer, “Yes, but, God has told me to . . . ” So I walk away from a lot of income, to work in areas which are not income producing. We spent a big block of time this week looking at our new product, trying to find a way to make it profitable. So far, it eludes us, and I am probably going to do it anyway.
So what is the difference between me and the guy who has been obdurate for the last ten years? Nothing (except that I don’t go fussing to him when things are tough here).
So how do we walk this out?
Christianity is all about principles, and about the God who overrides principles consistently and asks us to walk out those counter-intuitive directions by faith.
And you don’t know whether I REEEALLY heard from God or not.
Further more, if you are walking a cutting edge walk of faith, the last thing you need is someone faithless like me walking alongside you empowering the enemy against your victory.
On the other hand, over the years I have seen far more failures than successes from those who were vociferous in claiming the voice of the Lord in their ears. I mean measurable, verifiable, sustained failures. People died. Businesses went under. Kids went south. Churches were destroyed.
So it isn’t always lack of faith on my part. Sometimes I was right about the violation of principles which I saw. Sometime they were standing on the promises God had not made.
But as often as I am justified in my bias toward walking by principles, there is still that large “irrational” piece of my life which does not conform to principles, and there is still the phone call tomorrow with someone new who says, “Yes, but . . . ”
So how do we walk this out? And why is Christianity so messy?
Copyright February 2011 by Arthur Burk
Written from home