Our lives are shaped by our experiences. Happy childhood = happy adulthood – for the most part. Tragic childhood = strife. And there are always exceptions. Still, no one seems to understand us better than someone who has been in our shoes – for the good or the bad. Someone crosses our path that speaks our language and poof – someone understands me. A kindred spirit – that’s what I’ve heard it called.
Have you ever sat and listened to a speaker and you notice he or she is delivering the same message you heard earlier, but it was tailored for your specific tongue – at that moment? I don’t even know that – that makes sense. But…I attended a conference last weekend. This speaker was teaching on the importance of being free to love. The topic is a familiar one… how can we express love to others, if we are not free to love. Loving others and allowing others to love you go hand in hand – and it includes loving self.
Well, I have been talking to my husband about the whole concept of love the last couple of years. I spent ten years in a very abusive marriage. The Lord had to work in my life to teach me how to love and how to allow myself to be loved, to feel love. Anyway, the Lord did not send me someone that loved me unconditionally, or that stood by me, or any kind of support. He did not plant me in a church. He did not surround me with Christian women, though I knew many. He sent me two friends that walked with me in spirit. One knew my struggles because she too had survived an abusive marriage. My male friend was a bible study teacher. He and his wife held bible studies in our home.
I had three daughters, but this time, they were teenagers and two were in full rebellion. It was not easy raising teenagers on alone. So how did the Lord teach me about love?
The Lord gave me rebellious children, with constant needs, a grandchild to raise, with constant need. He stripped me of my employment. He shut all the doors to any employment opportunities. He left me without a vehicle. All my friends, except for the two abandoned me. I have a huge family, but I might as well have been an orphan…
I was attracted to the teachings of David Jeremiah and Rich Mullins… to completely different voices.
Yes, the Lord taught me about love, to love, to allow myself to be loved by stripping me of all my worldly identities, my worldly resources – non-existent as they were. And he gave me rebellious children as a mirror. For me, it took an absence of the spoken word to allow God to reach through decades of pain and rejection. His word had to penetrate walls so thick and wide… He alone could tear down those walls. I learned the only way to hear the Lord – is to shut my mouth – and limit the other voices trying to get in my head.
Anyway, back to this teacher last weekend. I was listening to this speaker and suddenly I realized – I am so dumb. All these teachers, preachers, authors, speakers and such are speaking the same message they are just using a different language to convey meaning. They all put their own spin on the message. They all believe it to be new revelation. Then it was like the light bulb coming on. If I happen to attend two conferences with two different speakers, the audiences will be different. If I go to the west side and listen to a speaker who rose from the streets to preach the gospel – his message will sound different from the speaker at the convention center – who grew up in middle class America and attended Dallas Theological. The language matters. Experiences matter. American is a very diverse place. Some people need convoluted language to convey/understand a simple messages e.g. soulical plague. Come on! Others need only – the simple message.
So then, if the message of the gospel is a simple message – and it is presented to every man in his own tongue. Then truly, the messenger is the one we need to be cautious of. Different voices appeal to different people. And if someone wants to hear only good things that’s what he or she will gravitate too.
We have to test every spirit – to make sure it is from God. No one wants to be the town crier, but in these last days – deception is on every corner. The Scriptures tell us the deceivers are already in our midst.
So if any message appeals to you, if you feel a connection with the messenger – he/she feels your pain, your struggle – then take the time to make sure their message aligns with Scripture – and not your feelings. The heart is deceitful above all things. I have to constantly remind myself.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. People will refuse to listen to the truth and turn to myths.
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Thank you for reading. Be blessed.