I have often asked You, Lord, to not let my hours of sleep be only for my rest. To also use them as my classroom if You had something important to teach me.
Last night, school was in session.
I was dreaming. I was at a memorial service for someone I had loved dearly. There was some confusion about the service itself — who would be doing what… almost as if it were being planned on the spot.
It was also clear I was being given some authority to decide what would be done or not done. Someone brought up a particular church “doctrine,” offering to have a man she knew come and speak about it. Others seemed fine with at least having a plan, but I had a “check” in my spirit. A hesitation.
I put words to my hesitation: “Wait a minute. I don’t even know what that doctrine is.” So the woman told me. And the more she said, the more I realized this doctrine was not of You, Lord. So I said an emphatic “No.” And I woke up.
My first thought was: “Wouldn’t it be something if this was actually a real doctrine out there in the universe of spiritual ideas?” So I Google’d it. Lo and behold, there it was! Not only does it exist, it is a foundational doctrine for the church that espouses it — a church that has millions of members.
As I read a detailed article defining this doctrine, written by one of this church’s leaders, I began to imagine how Eve might have felt in the Garden, listening to the serpent — who was more “crafty” than all other animals You had made (Genesis 3:1). He was telling her what was possible in her future. It sounded so attractive.
“… your eyes will be opened and you will be like God.” (Genesis 3:5)
The serpent is just as crafty today as ever. And he’s still “selling” his “wares.” Even now, it sounds so attractive. A promise of Power that, instead, leads to Destruction. Same Story, Different Day.
So why this particular lesson today, Lord? I know and love some who hold fast to this particular doctrine, not wanting to hear or discuss anything that might dispute it. Perhaps a day is coming when those conversations will occur?
Today is also Sunday, a day when many people will be in churches listening to messages preached by people who have been called by You to shepherd Your flock. Pastors and Teachers who are at varying degrees of spiritual maturity. Pastors and Teachers who seek you with, perhaps, varying degrees of fervor. Pastors and Teachers who all have great influence in Your Kingdom… one way or another.
The very people Your enemy targets.
“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered…” (Zechariah 13:7b)
Is part of Your lesson today that I am (we are?) to listen carefully to what we hear today and examine Your Word to see if it is true… just like the “noble” Bereans did so diligently? (Acts 17:11) And, if we find some error (something that really matters), I am (we are?) to go speak with our brothers and sisters in love, so that we might all grow in understanding and maturity?
“So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)
As each part does its work. I suppose it’s no accident that this dream lesson came to me on the cusp of this year’s March Madness… is it, Lord? Christianity is not a “spectator sport.” The time for sitting in the bleachers, watching, is over. How do we move from the bleachers onto the floor? How do we know which position we are to play? How do we properly train so we have the physical, mental and emotional stamina to play our position well — so our team members can depend on us — and we on them — as we all should? How do we ensure we are hearing clearly the Voice of our Head Coach — not letting any other voice direct our steps? Especially when there’s much more at stake than a mere basketball tournament… How, indeed?
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.'” (John 14:6)
Still listening to my 24/7 Teacher, for whatever lessons You may yet bring Today…