Several times in my life I’ve encountered a bit of theological offense. I feel it when I’m presented with something that challenges my understanding of God and how he does things. I’ve found three reasons for the sense of offense I’ve felt. Sometimes it’s because…
1. What I’m hearing isn’t biblical and it offends what I know to be true.
2. There’s a distinct lack of humility or love in the person whose sharing with me.
3. God is stretching my comfort zone through his Word and I just haven’t recognized it yet.
Over the last four weeks of my teaching about the person, work, gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit, I’ve actually been praying that #3 would occur in all of us. (I can confirm it has for me.) The problem is that #3 can’t happen without a bit of theological offense; in fact, it’s necessary for us to grow. In order to not misinterpret #3, here are two biblical approaches:
• Embrace Ephesians 4:2-3 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” A good rule for engaging others is listen, listen, love, love. We have different experiences and different gifts so we can reflect Christ more vividly.
• Embrace 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 NKJV “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” Don’t let tradition or experience trump the Bible and remember, God has more for all of us. (Yay!)
When we operate according to these biblical principles, we give God room to grow us and we guard the unity of the body of Christ. If you missed last Sunday’s sermon on Spiritual Gifts, watch here. If you have questions arising from the sermon or the recent women’s retreat or the Man Night, join me on May 19, 7:00-9-00 p.m. in Building B for a Q&A. I love growing closer to Jesus with you!