Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them
[continually recognizing their authority over you],
for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls
and guarding your spiritual welfare,
as men who will have to render an account [of their trust].
[Do your part to] let them do this with gladness
and not with sighing and groaning,
for that would not be profitable to you [either].
Hebrews 13:17 Amplified
I have blessed discipline and chastening quite a few times on this blog, and now I have a real-time example of the gift that comes with submitting to spiritual authority. And in staying honest with God and other people about where you really are. And in waiting and asking and crying and not trying and just being. Basically, God works on many levels and sometimes He lets us see more than usual. This is one of those times.
My last post was pretty raw, and I was worried about whether to publish it here or not. So I sent it to Martha and asked her to read it and give me a thumbs up or down. She gave a thumbs up, and I thought that was the end of the matter. Instead, Martha called me Friday morning and said she had a word for me, on where I was with the Lord and why. I’ll get into that in more detail on Wednesday, but suffice to say, that word changed everything.
I am coming through now. I’m moving forward and I can feel the very life of Jesus Christ moving and rising in me. And all from one word.
My relationship with God is real and intact, but the word that freed me came from my spiritual authority. He didn’t give it to me directly. One of the big deaths that I experienced early on in this Christian life was my desire to be independent. And I don’t mean independent of God; I mean independent of other people. I didn’t want to need anyone else, and I didn’t want to be exposed to anyone else. It was a BIG chunk of pride with a little fear thrown in for flavor.
There is a very great deal that God handles with me One-on-one. “He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle” (Is. 42:3 NLT). He’s never violated my person, but He has absolutely humiliated and crushed my pride. And it has been for the saving of my soul and to bring Light into my heart. It is a gift to have someone “keeping watch over your souls.” It’s not just chastening that comes through my authority, it’s wisdom and healing and freedom and above all, LOVE.
Hebrews 13:17 gives some of the soundest wisdom in the whole Bible. It’s ignorance (or something worse) to view authority as the vehicle for discipline and accountability alone. Authority is a vessel for God’s Love, in whatever form we need, just when we need it. To scorn the discipline is to forfeit the love. What a tragedy that is!
Proverbs 1:23 Amplified
If you will turn (repent) and give heed to my reproof,
behold, I (Wisdom) will pour out my spirit upon you,
I will make my words known to you.