like a wow revelation for me! There were electric guitars, drums, pop-ish type music, people weren’t dressed to the nines and the ladies didn’t wear hats… they were normal, everyday people… they talked without aires and graces, they were open and welcoming, I wasn’t stared down like I didn’t belong there… It was VERY different from the church I grew up in or got married in. It was like a breath of fresh air.
We stayed at that church through a few seasons of our lives. But after a few years, the atmosphere started to change… politics crept in, pastors weren’t getting along, people were becoming divided… so I felt it was time to move on. For me, if I’m learning and growing I’m actually in a happy place. But when I’m being asked to pick sides or get involved in the legalism of religion… that kind of takes me to an unhappy place.
But during this process, and because we all go through seasons, I realized that my spiritual growth is actually up to me. For many years I have listened to a variety of pastors who speak to me through podcasts, televisions shows, church and reading their books. Some I can’t stomach easily because I find them too weak – they deliver milk when I’m yearning for meat; others are too focused on prosperity as a financial means and that’s not very interesting to me, and so on.
Now, I’m not one to bash a preacher or a pastor, and honestly I don’t think anyone should. I believe that the gospel cannot be twisted without the Spirit alerting us to that. There is a place for milk and a place for meat. There is a place for financial prosperity and there is a place for prosperity of the body, mind and spirit too. Everyone preaching via the Holy Spirit has a place in the Body of Christ – His Church.
In John 16:13-16, Jesus says: However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
If we are connected to the Spirit, I believe we can rely on Holy Spirit to actually guide us into wisdom and truth – that’s His job. And that said, I can also trust Holy Spirit to guide me to where I’m supposed to be, and sometimes that isn’t in front of or listening to a particular teacher.
There are pastors that I love learning through today, yet if I had listened to them 10 years ago, I might have been left hiding under my bed in fear! There are those who might be perceived as being soooo-far-out-there that they’re just nuts, but they actually are very grounded in God’s Word.
We are all so uniquely made, with different gifts, interests etc – so I’m really glad there are a variety of teachers and preachers out there ministering to us all. We weren’t meant to be the same. We were meant to connect to Jesus through the Holy Spirit and live our lives as God predestined us to.
My growth and my relationship with Jesus is greatly dependent on me and not on those standing on the platform. I will get out what I put in. The more I study, the more I will know. The more I lean in, the more God touches my soul. The closer I get, the closure He gets.
Just as we don’t wear the same shoes we did as babies, we aren’t supposed to stay in the same place as Christians. It’s more than OK to allow and encourage yourself to grow!!