A Journey In The Wilderness

A Journey In The Wilderness - Book

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A Journey In The Wilderness

From Page 95, Reputation

God is not like a man; He is not concerned about His reputation. Nobody has ever come to Jesus because He had a good reputation as a Saviour and Lord. They come because they are without hope on their own, and the Holy Spirit has revealed Jesus as the only answer. In most denominations, there is a hierarchy of pastors and churches based upon size and reputation. The Flesh wants to find acceptance. It fears rejection and seeks approval, even adulation. A pastor, church, or individual is not free to walk in the Spirit if they are seeking acceptance from others. The struggle for a good reputation is a work of the Flesh. With every perceived fluctuation in our standing, one way or the other, we are tormented by unrest. The Flesh cannot be satisfied, it must be put to death. Jesus and the spiritual men of the Bible were despised by most men. Only in the long view of history were their lives confirmed and redeemed. Martin Luther, although he had many subscribers to his Spirit-led conviction that we are saved by grace and not dead works, had far more people in his time declare him a heretic. Who was he to oppose the established authority of the Church? To walk and stand for the things of the Spirit is to invite conflict, criticism, and dissension against our actions and our person. If we are not free of the struggle to be seen as “right” and “good” we will never be able to take a stand for what we know is the Spirit’s “walk” for our lives. Our reputation is a wall that stands between us and God and His purposes for us. It is good to have the opposition and hatred of some people. The image we present to others needs to be crucified on the Cross. We need to confess our faults to others openly, being transparent as sinners, redeemed only by grace. It is in this lowly position that we find freedom from the tyranny of the Flesh. Jesus picked the lowly and poor to spend time with because that is what He was. They were humbled in His presence, but the Pharisees were agitated. He reduced them to mere sinners who had nothing with which to make themselves better than others. They could not be justified by their good works in His holy presence. Pharisees operate in self-sufficiency and independence. They are looking for someone to elevate them to a new level of independence, honour, and sufficiency. As leaders, they had an image to maintain. What is the image that we project as the Church? The Church projects the image of being sufficient, able, together, capable. We present ourselves to the world as if we have it “together”. We think that if we look good, we will attract people to Christ and His Church. This is misguided at best. It is for this reason we have not been able to attract the unable. These are the ones Jesus came to save (Luke 4:18). The poor and the weak know what they are, and are looking for an answer to their need. The more able and sufficient we appear to be, the less the unable are attracted to us as a Church. We want the able for our Church because they appeal to our Flesh.

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