In the aftermath of my leaving MCF (Melbourne Christian Fellowship) in 2016, and its ‘guru headship‘ model of hearing from God, obviously I needed to get back to basics and hear from the Lord the way we are supposed to.
Of course I had never stopped praying or reading the Bible. But, as most Christians know, if they are really honest, we rarely get clear, direct answers.
Really? It’s true in my case, and I think a lot of other Christians too.
But, in my opinion, I think this is how it’s meant to be.
God wants to enjoy watching us live our lives! He rejoices in our living.
The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers,Deut 30:9
The Lord is not wanting to control us minute by minute. And he rejoices in our uncontrolled living!
Of course, He desires fellowship with us, and we trust that as we daily live by HIs word and prayer, several things happen.
Firstly, HIs word is a light to us.
But that does not mean a minute by minute guide. He is teaching us how to live as ourselves:
Your word is a lamp to my feetPs 119:105
And a light to my path.
The entire context of Ps 119 makes it clear that God is shining a light into our hearts so that we will live according to his ‘precepts’, but live as ourselves, not like robots:
How can a young man cleanse his way?Ps 119:9-16
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.
‘Taking heed’ and ‘seeking’ and ‘delighting . . in Your statutes’ are not robotic executions of commands! It’s loving God and his precepts and, day by day, making our own decisions consistent with what God is teaching us.
The guru elder messenger model was robotic.
It wasn’t living.
It was no longer human. It was imprisonment.
Secondly, as much as God is teaching us, in the New Testament we find God is, now, transforming us so that we can live Godly lives even more divinely, yet whilst human. Again not as robots in remote control mode, but due to transformation.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.Rom 12:1,2
This may be no surprise to most Christians, but as an ex-MCFer, it’s important to deprogram ourselves back to Scripture.
Regardless, I think it is interesting, and beneficial, to contemplate how we are to hear from the Lord.
We get this feeling that God was talking to Abraham all the time. But, you know what, I think it was only four or five times. Like once every ten years that he got a direct answer or visitation.
That’s like the (rare!) times when we get a really direct answer to prayer.
In between, Abraham lived by the light he found in his prayers and offerings to the Lord.
God gave us hearts and minds to live with that He is transforming, not controlling. He was well pleased with Abraham and other heroes of faith. He will be well pleased with us when we simply live, day by day, by his precepts because we want to.
We are not to seek seance-like advice from a guru every five minutes. That’s not what God intended.
It means we don’t need to beat ourselves up, or second guess, our decisions! We don’t need to worry about ‘dead-works’ or ‘taking the wrong path’ as abusively taught to us by MCF.
Even if we make the wrong decision, it’s OK. Just think again about Abraham. How many mistakes did he make!
If we are in prayer, and connected to Christ, we needn’t worry. In the absence of direct answers to prayer we are supposed to make our own decisions!
It’s called . . life.