Is it true that the Lord will “prune” the people who won’t fully get on board with the pastor’s vision? … or is the Lord long suffering with people and will mercifully allow them to stay hooked up to a church for their protection? Can a few people truly ruin the plan of God if the majority wants to seek Him in unity?
To answer this question I want to preface it with a few questions, and these questions every Christian should ask themselves. What is a body? Why do we go to church? Why do I go to the church I go to? Am I connected to what and where God has called me?
Many Christian’s seek to be used by God and never figure out how. This is not hard, but in order for you to know, you have to connect to where God has connected you. I once had someone “try” our church a few times. The last conversation I ever had with them was about God having a plan for their life. They said to me, “I sure wish He’d show me!” I tried expressing that it would be found as they connect where God wants them, to which they shrugged off and I never saw them again!
Now what’s interesting about this is this person came to us, wait for it, completely on their own because they felt “led”! They’re words, not mine! I have seen this so much, God has brought someone, even supernaturally, yet because they don’t like the conditions they throw it all out! This is the epitome of spiritual immaturity. Yet even still, God is merciful and will bare with them. I truly hope they all find their way.
The reason I started with the above questions is because if you are going to be effective where God calls you, you must understand some things. Number one is that He will not consult people for his plan. What He gives us individually is guidance. We get to figure out where God wants us but we must realize we need to grow. In order to grow, the thing being grown needs something it doesn’t already have. Psalms 92:13 (NASB) says, “PLANTED in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.”
Once we know where God would have us we now have another step we must take. 1 Peter 5:5 (NASB) says, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” What’s interesting here is that younger men is not just referring to young men but literally means young in the faith. To subject is to submit. This idea scares people and that’s because the idea of submission has been used as a means of abuse. But the Bible does not say let elders abuse you. Hebrews 13:17 (NASB) says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” Again we see this concept of submitting and the question we might then have would be why?
Before I go further, let me say this again, submission is not direction to be abused or allow someone to control you. However, the vision for a local assembly will be given through a person and directed and taught to the people under their care. This is God’s design and it is prevalent throughout scripture. Simply speaking, if you try driving a car full of people and everyone is insisting on getting a turn, you’re going to end up in a wreck. God loves order and order comes down through the ranks.
Now, let me pose one more question. If you don’t agree with the vision given from a pulpit, and you cannot get on board with it for whatever reason, why would you want to stay? If anything, the law of love tells us that we should separate ourselves so we would not cause undue hardship or division. However I also want to say this, that we should not let some personal preferences or opinions separate us either. If we know God has brought us to a place, then we should submit the best we can, to what we can, and go from there. However, if we find over time that God has moved us on, then leave quietly and in faith. The Bible says at the end of Roman’s 14, whatever is not faith is sin.
As to the question, would God move us on? We need to be careful at how and what we judge and then how we act accordingly. Divisiveness is never God. If we are acting in such a way that our words and actions cause people to get divisive or to stumble, we need to be careful because this, God despises. We will be judged for such actions because they are dangerous to the local church.
Recently, when asked by a church member if a particular action was right or wrong I answered with this, “To my knowledge the Bible doesn’t specifically address this but in whatever I do I try and ask myself what is my motive for doing it. If I can have peace that God would approve then I have liberty to act.” But if I can’t back up my motive with knowledge of God’s will, then at least for the moment, I’m not in it! It’s a simple tool to live by and keeps us from a host of trouble.
Our goal as the people of God should never be to focus on what divides and separates but that which brings us together. God is a God of unity and He never gave any one part all the answers. God has done this on purpose for purpose and we find purpose when we see how we fit into this. God has called everyone somewhere, not because of the individual’s perfection but for everyone’s perfecting. He is truly working all things together for our good, let’s let Him do it!