Savage Wolves Among the Flock

8:30PM, Monday, September 10, 2007

Paul addresses the brethren at Ephesus before journeying to Jerusalem:

And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
(Act 20:25-32)

Some criticize those who seek to discern truth from falsity as “troublemakers” or “dividers” or “unloving” toward the brethren. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is because of our deep love for the flock of God that we guard it jealously.

Paul addresses the Corinthians:

For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
(2Co 11:2-3)

There is but one husband for the church of Jesus Christ, and that is Jesus Christ himself. The husband of the church is not social activism. It is not supernatural experiences or feeling good about ourselves. Thus it is that we who fight jealously for the purity of Christ’s church against false teachers and the doctrines of demons are as those who are escorting a bride to her husband, striking down thugs who come up to her along the journey that they might have their way with her. I know this imagery may be strong, but it is accurate. Those who teach false doctrines and prophesy falsely are rapists of Christ’s bride. They are wolves among the flock of God, and if we do not make every effort to purge them from our midst the flock will be ravaged all the more.

May God grant us wisdom and discernment that we might purge the apostates from our midst. Here in North America it is either going to take another Reformation or else serious persecution of the church for us to more readily rid ourselves of these liars and false teachers. May God bring about whatever pleases Him that He might be glorified and that His church might be pure and undefiled.


Identity

7:26PM, Thursday, July 26, 2007

A lot of thoughts about who I am have been floating in my head for some time now. I figured it was time to write them down so I could make sense of them all and wrestle through them, perhaps together with you, my friends.

Not to be cliche, but I truly have nearly always felt that I don’t quite fit in whatever the crowd of the moment is. Even in my personal relationships, there seems to be an uneasiness about one or more aspects of who I am that tends to drive most folks away from friendship rather than attract them. Is it the depth of the conversations in which I enjoy engaging? Is it my goofy humor that alternately leaves my friends in groans or fits of laughter? Are either of those inherently bad personality traits?

An old friend of mine used to think so, at least in regard to my humor. She’d whisper to me and ask me to “tone it down” if she felt I was being silly or embarrassing her in front of her friends. It bothered me because that’s really who I am, and she seemed to take exception to it while most of the others around seemed to enjoy it. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with being goofy or being totally serious, or even mixing the two together to keep a sane perspective on things. Especially in a light-hearted environment like a party, I’ve never thought it inappropriate to be silly and entertain both my company and myself with humor.

And then there’s my faith. I’ve found that a lot of people my age either want nothing to do with Christ or else they’re not committed to the price that the Cross demands of us. So there’s not a whole lot of people I can talk to about spiritual matters who are my age. There’s probably a sum total of three of my peers whom I would trust for deeper theological conversations because of their proven faithfulness and love for God and others. Sometimes it feels like the only people who are willing to sit down and wrestle through spiritual matters in a serious manner are folks 30 years my senior — not that there shouldn’t be some. I consider myself graciously blessed to have a few closer friends who are 10, 20, or 30 years my senior; their insight into God’s Word and wisdom for my life has proven invaluable to me in these past months.

And so by now I’m probably looking like a crybaby emo kid who whines that noone understands him and that he has no friends. Now I think there are a few folks with a love for God and His ways whom I call friend, but some of them simply haven’t had time to develop a deeper relationship with me than sort-of-friends-who-hang-out-every- once-in-awhile-and-have-each-other-friended-on-MySpace-and-have- each-others’-cellphone-numbers. But I’m not about to hide how I truly feel. Truthfully, I am very lonely and long for a woman my age to show the love of Christ to me with her life. I screwed up my last serious relationship so badly that my ex avoids me and won’t even talk to me. It bothers me that there still is so much left unresolved between us. And that might even contribute more to the loneliness I feel.

I know that God is good and that His grace is sufficient to comfort me in my loneliness, but I can’t help but feel that something is missing relationally in my life. I think I wrote about it before when I talked about having a companion. I think that’s really what my heart desires. I want someone to talk to in the wee hours of the morning. I want someone who appreciates my silly humor as well as my love of God. I want a peer and not another mentor.

And that doesn’t mean I’m not going to serve God while I ask Him to bring us together. That would be foolish, selfish, and not at all the attitude of a humble servant that I ought to have toward Him. I will serve God wherever He wants so long as He gives me breath, with or without a companion. And when He does see fit to introduce a companion to me, I will reorient my life with that relationship in mind and continue to serve him in the same manner. I’ll simply have a partner from then on.

So I shall serve Christ wherever I’m called. I recognize that Jesus alone commands my destiny. His timing is perfect. I recognize also that I have a deep desire for true companionship and that if it is God’s will for this desire of my heart to be satisfied, it must be God who provides through His wisdom and good timing, not me through my feeble and foolish efforts. He has already chosen her for me and me for her, and so there is nothing that either of us need to do for one another except wait for God’s gentle hands to send us to love one another. I relinquish control of this to God. Help Thou my unbelief. Let my trust be an act of worship to You, my gracious, loving, compassionate, merciful, magnificent, holy King.


The Wife I Desire

8:56AM, Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some friends of mine suggested that I write down what I want in my wife, and then to pray about it. Not a bad idea, and I think writing them down may help me to see what the desires of my heart are for a wife.

1. I want a wife who loves Jesus and has placed her faith in Him for her salvation. If she shares this most foundational bond with me, then everything else in our relationship will benefit. All conflicts can be resolved because we have a starting point to which we can return and work out any differences we may have.

2. I want a wife who values our relationship over any conflicts and is patient with me. If our relationship is more important than any conflict we will have, then we will be willing to discuss problems that are occurring or things that need to change in our relationship. We will not give up on our relationship and bail out because one of us hurts the other or because we feel like the other person isn’t listening because they have hurt us in the same manner as before. We will always work to be reconciled when there is conflict. We will be patient with and prayerful for one another, in order that God will make us into better reflections of His love and glory. We will make it a priority to pray for our relationship.

3. I want a wife who will forgive me when I wrong her and lovingly tell me how I have hurt her. I am a son of Adam. I was born into imperfection. Much as I strive, and as much progress as Christ will make and is now making in my life to refine me into His perfect child, I have not attained perfection, nor will I while here on earth. And as much as I will hate and fight against doing these things, I will eventually do them. I will fail my wife. I will hurt my wife with my words and with my actions. I need forgiveness whenever I sin, but especially so when the offense is against the woman whom I love most. Forgiveness is an absolute necessity on both sides of the marriage.

4. I want a wife who will be honest with me about how she feels. I genuinely care about my friends because of the love of Christ that lives in me. How much more my wife! If she hides her feelings from me, I am no mind reader; I can only guess at what she is thinking and feeling. I may have hurt her. I may be doing something that she wants to see changed. I may be doing something she is uncomfortable with. I need a wife who will be honest with me in private to the point where if I haven’t been listening, she’ll ask me to sit down, be quiet, and let her share what she has to share.

5. I want a wife who desires to worship God wherever she is and will partner with me in this. If she is musically inclined, so much the better. If not, then walks in the woods, praying together, serving together; these types of things will be pleasing as well. I want a wife with whom I can share the experience of the love and joy I find in glorifying God.

6. I want a wife who is emotionally and spiritually mature. I want a wife who can come alongside me in her walk and be a partner to me. I don’t want a wife who plays childish emotional games or gives me the silent treatment whenever there is a conflict. I need a wife who loves me enough to be honest, loves me enough to forgive me when I am wrong and work to restore our relationship, and loves Jesus enough to love me.

7. I want a wife who highly values our time together, irrespective of the activity in which we may be engaged. I want a wife who loves spending time with me whether we’re on a Caribbean vacation, hiking a trail, driving in a car, or even simply cuddling in a chair.

8. I want a wife who will hold me accountable to commitments I have made and to my walk as a follower of Christ. I don’t want a nag, but I do want someone who will lovingly and gently correct me when I am in error. If I am not being a very good listener, I want her to gently remind me that I interrupted her before she was finished. If I have hurt someone with something I have said or done, I want her to gently tell me that I ought to go make things right. I do not desire an overly critical wife, rather one who encourages and spurs me on to godly thinking and living.

So if those are things that line up with your will for my life, God, those are the desires of my heart. Make me into the man I need to be for her, then bring her to me. I am satisfied in You with or without a woman in my life, God. But I do desire a partner for this walk, Lord.