Atlen
McDonald

 

All people everywhere have six areas in which they are to live while in physical time: spiritual, mental, physical, family, social, and financial. For the true believer it is through the spiritual area that the other five areas are lived.

Even though all have six areas of life many people acknowledge only five. Counted in this group are atheists and agnostics. They live for today only, with no thought of God, nor eternity. These people believe they have no spiritual area.

Another group of people in the world acknowledge all six areas. However, each area is treated as separate and apart from the others. The people in this group may attend worship on Sunday, but when they leave the building they leave God behind. In realty they are no better off spiritually than the atheists and agnostics.

This article is written for the purpose of discussing yet another group of people. Many who consider themselves to be in the Body of Christ fall into this category, and unless they "awaken from sleep" they, too, will be found on the left side at the judgement.

The vast majority of the people in this group are very religious. They feel they are fighting on God's side in the spiritual war. However, they are not. They are on the devil's side.

The people in this group suffer from tunnel vision, caused by wearing blinders. Something, or someone, stands between them and their spiritual area. There are many blinders worn by some of "our brethren today." Only a few will be mentioned in this article.

 

I. TRADITION

Who wears traditional blinders? Traditional blinders are worn by those who believe that because we have always, year after year, done something, it is a law of God. We have no trouble recognizing the traditions in the Catholic Church that are not founded on God's word. However, we usually are unable to recognize our own. He who fights the spiritual war through traditions of men is not on God's side.

How can we recognize a tradition of man? It is recognized only through a thorough searching of God's word. Only the light of His word will show up our traditions for what they are. The Bereans, in Acts 17:10-11, used the light of God's word to prove whether or not the truth was being taught by the early teachers. Why are we not more like the noble Bereans?

Let us remember: something is not right simply because we have always done it. Neither is something wrong simply because we have never done it. We are not our own measuring rod. Jeremiah 10:23 says, "It is not in man to direct his own ways." Also, 2 Corinthians 10:12 tells us, "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." Some of us dare. When Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses the king said, "Away with him, why should we give up what we have always practiced and believed?" Is this our reasoning?

II. PARENTS:

Do you believe what you believe because that is what your parents believed? Each is told to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". Even though our parents may be true followers of God, if we are following them instead of Christ, we are fighting on the side of the devil.

III. MATE:

There are men and women today who believe as they do because of what their mates believe. However, women appear to be more guilty in this group than do the men. Many women believe what they do because that is what their husbands believe. The guilty woman feels that her husband is the head of her spiritual area, as well as her physical area. She leaves all matters of religion up to him and parrots his opinions on every religious matter. In effect, she expects that he will "work out" her salvation for her. What such a woman should realize is that she will stand before Almighty God, alone, to give an answer as to how she has worked out her own salvation.

IV. GROUP:

Persons who are converted to a group in a given location instead of being converted to the Lord wear the group blinder. An elder once stood before the flock of which he was a "spiritual leader" and said, "At this congregation we are in complete harmony. If anyone does not agree with us he can go elsewhere." The Christians there were fearful of questioning any of the practices or teachings. Either you wore the group blinder or you moved on. The Bereans would have been unwelcome there.

V. PREACHER:

Last, but by no means least is the preacher blinder. Those who wear this blinder put the preacher on a spiritual pedestal, believing every word he utters as if he continually receives direct revelation from God. Again, the Bereans were free from preacheritis in as much as they were interested in the message, not the man.

Unfortunately, preacheritis is often encouraged by some preachers because they delight in the recognition. Others, perhaps, find this a way to hold on to their "jobs". In the last few decades in the church we have seen preachers encouraging preacheritis by the constant praising of each other. Time is spent at the beginning and the ending of gospel meetings in praising the local preacher and the local preacher, in turn, praising the visiting preacher.

Lectureships, either at a church building or at a college are also breeding places for preacher-praise. Usually, preachers (at least the important ones) are named one by one, along with the name of the group where they do local work. Prayers are usually led by the best-known ones. Such practices carried on year in and year out serve to foster in the minds of the body of believers a "preacher-hierarchy", CONDONED NOWHERE IN GOD'S WORD.

In the preacheritis situation the preacher who allows or encourages it, and his followers who practice it are alienated from God. Our God desires that we give our praise and loyalty to Him, not to mere man, who is only the vehicle used to present the message. Woe unto the man who allows, yea, encourages others to follow him, becoming a blinder to God's children.

The true follower of God is one who has cast aside all blinders as he searches and finds the "narrow way that leads to life". The true believer continually "works out his own salvation with fear and trembling", going directly to God's word for direction in how to live in all his areas of life through Christ. The true believer as he fights in the spiritual war realizes that God expects him to bring others to Christ, and also that he aid them in being successful fighters in their waging spiritual war against the devil and his followers.

Let us seek to be true believers.