If I say to someone, “You’re not pursuing God” based on what I see another doing; it’s not only faithless, but condemning also. Whoa be to me, for if I believe that God only responds to those of us who consistently share Him, I could fall into pride and believe the same lies of the world that, “God helps those who help themselves.” Yet Romans 8 is chock full of scripture references that indicate quite the opposite. Dare I think that He meets me because of the effort I put into serving Him, and I’ll crumble with contention if all my work doesn’t provide the result I was looking for. I know best what it’s like to be a good Christian in hopes of a reward from Daddy and others, and let me tell you, it was a huge disappointment. Only when I admitted my inability to help myself, was I able to let others find their need of God through choice. My pursuit has been intense but there were years when other people didn’t know my heart and they just judged my behavior. I could always be “doing more” for God or working on myself more intently according to them. Yet this dog hunting approach to finding me became the very path toward a love grown cold. I didn’t want my relationship with Him to be a chore for the sake of proving myself a legitimate believer. I was meeting Daddy daily in my prayer room seeking His direction for my life but on-lookers judged my fruit according to their judgments, and quite often missed the mark entirely on Daddy’s ways of anchoring me to Him.
Daddy to me today looks far more intimate than how He did 18years ago when I first got saved. I needed Him in different ways, to get the sin out of me and now I’m becoming acquainted with His upside down way of operating His Kingdom. Maybe I need reminding that we are each individuals with our own unique process of figuring out who God personally is. If I assume that a loved one is too stubborn, weak, angry, disinterested or not as gifted as I am, then I have placed human boundaries around my Lord’s revelation for him. Maybe someone a little shy, not yet comfortable with sharing his faith, has a deep thought life on the things of God? Wouldn’t it be an act of faith if I recognized character and integrity in my loved one’s disposition even when he questions himself?
I’m curious however, why so many believers get caught up in “doing” for themselves what only “being” can accomplish? Romans 2:14-16 says, “When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences.” And it is personality differences coupled with environmental influences and experiences that make each person distinctly unique to Daddy and their understanding of Him. I’m not so sure that most Christians believe He can move in someone else’s life the way that He did in theirs, especially if left to faith without having to “do” something to help oneself.
After our move to Georgia, my boyfriend and I attempted to befriend people who didn’t necessarily want our companionship. I was regarded as a walking wound, someone obviously in need of immense healing, and Dylan was deemed immature and not ready for a relationship with God. Yet, we still sought guidance from a couple we had met through ministry because some of our interaction on the weekends intertwined. When seeking advice turned from edification into suggestion of what else we could be doing to prove our devotion to inner healing work, I became distracted from Daddy’s timing of working everything out according to His purpose. Their opinion of Dylan, “Not even pursuing God and waiting for someone else to do it for him”, really derailed the peace I had found in Daddy’s presence concerning our individual walks.
The mere suggestion that personality differences could make or break us based on human understanding negated the miraculous transformation that God had already begun on our hearts. That presumptuous comment became the slight suggestion of doubt in God’s leadership, much like the serpent while in the Garden of Eden when he attacked the couple’s identity in the Lord. The enemy knew my fear was dating someone who wasn’t following God while Dylan’s was fear of disappointing others. The wedge of fear had been placed between us because faith for Daddy to lead us personally had been dumbed down to thought requiring action. I looked at my past attempts to gain personal healing as futile and I blamed Dylan for not measuring up to religious standards that judged him. Condemnation set in as the delivery from our peers about needing to work harder, felt religious in itself. In all of our efforts to seek a holy foundation for life in The Lord, it seemed it wasn’t enough proof for others that we could remain in His hands. Yet, “God made it perfectly clear that His purpose is not a hit or miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by His decision flowing steadily from His initiative”. (Rom.9:16)
The enemy studies us because he is not omnipresent like Daddy, so he has to hurt us relationally which has the potential to have us act out. Should he get confirmation through our behavior that we believe his lies he stays with that focus until rifts occur between us and those we care about. Fault finding was founded on a suggestion from the serpent in the beginning and we humans have been falling for it ever since. Unfortunately it hurts the most when it comes from the body of Christ who mistakenly believes judgment will cause another to straighten up. All judgement and suggestion do is reap condemnation. Condemnation kills. Condemnation will never motivate a person toward his loving Father. When one is defined by another Christian as being a “lesser” Christian because he has run out of steam, appears complacent or is disillusioned, those passing judgment need only look back at their struggles in faith to be humbled. Sometimes however, these very people are usually blinded by their pride and presume that they are above falling into such situations. Yet the Bible is clear about presumption, “Don’t assume you can lean back in the arms of your religion (ministry) and take it easy, feeling smug because you’re an insider to God’s revelation, a connoisseur of the best things of God, informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God’s revealed word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you? Recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics.” (Rom.2:17-29)
I got stigmatized by a personality type and so did Dylan, but we agreed with it as well. Once we allowed a prototype to define our behavior, it became easier for others to assume our pursuit of Daddy was based on the strengths and weaknesses of our personalities. This gave way to my believing that others knew me better than I knew myself. Instead of solidifying who I was in Daddy, I read books that told me who I was and why I thought the way I did. Yet nothing I read explained why I was so afraid of being in a relationship with a mate who didn’t pursue God in the ways that I did. Because I had been taught that an unequally yoked relationship would doom my marriage, I gobbled up the lies that darkness was feeding me which said I needed a man with my same personality. I had listened to the couple speak of Dylan’s calm demeanor as if it was a problem and I wrongly accepted that my boldness squashed his personality and deemed us mismatched. After all, if they saw something in us, then it must have been true. But, Daddy didn’t allow me to fit in that mold.
What’s interesting about our meeting with the couple was how we felt condemned and discouraged even though they felt it was their duty to “call as it as they saw it”. Their truth happened to be filtered through their marriage experiences and was still not the truth intended to sharpen us because we were not led into an encounter or deeper process with Daddy. Graham Cooke is notorious for preaching about truth and half-truth’s and he accurately describes an edifying word as being one that illuminates truth of God within us to deepen our encounter and process with Him. It came with over a year’s distance from influential believers, that Dylan and I forged our own relationship with Daddy that would encourage both of us and take our eyes off of what the other was doing. The Lord gave me Romans3:3, “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God will it?” This scripture took a huge load off of my back. So what if my pursuit of Daddy looks different than my mate? So what if people think they can discern a situation because they are a seer, knower, sensor or feeler, they still don’t know another person’s heart. Thankfully, I cared to know Dylan deeply and saw changes in Him that nobody could explain except God. Therefore, I remembered all of my moments of faithlessness in the past and slowed my anxious heart and thoughts down in order to see Daddy’s faithfulness unfold to the both of us.
Our year has been riddled with further criticism from church goers who believe we should attend a Sunday service if we plan to grow in belief. We couldn’t disagree more. In our quiet place, by spending time in the presence of Daddy with worship music and YouTube messages from trusted prophets, we have far surpassed anything we could have dreamed for our relationship with Him. I understand that in the South, Christians use church as a networking system or personal joust where they get to perform their gifts, but our contentment has grown in simply defining ourselves through His interpretation.
As I realized that most Christians struggle with unbelief, it became easier for me to let well-intentioned believers off the hook. Many ministries get caught up on steps to follow that prove their validity because it was their path to freedom. I get it, they want to share what worked for them, but once it becomes dogma, their tried and true method to heaven, judgment of other approaches usually follow close behind. Those that allow Holy Spirit to personalize their “framework”, open doors to greater revelation of just how limited humans are in performing miracles. I know this because I have worked with many different ministries and attempted to withhold many of their principles until I got a nudge from the Holy Spirit to step out of the box. I ventured outside of the perimeters that they placed me in, to discover that Daddy was just as bored as we were with the religious system. When I personalized prayers or spoke to Him according to the rapport I had with Him, my curiosity unveiled healing, signs and wonders that I could never claim as being from my own hand.
Tradition can go on for decades because of knowledge and organization, but that doesn’t mean love and Holy Spirit lead it. One of my favorite quotes is, “I have respect for tradition, but I’m passionate for truth”. Anyone can create their own truth and commit to living it out, but few ask Daddy what He says about it. Nobody walks in freedom if they still believe lies, even if it appears to be working. Breaking free from religion will require belief in someone else’s victory so you make going after the same thing, your own. If we each have our own set of fingerprints than it goes without saying that similar experiences will still be uniquely experienced.
Same can be said about personalities, despite which type any of us have, condemnation and the power of negative suggestion will affect each and every one of us. Despite what personality Dylan or I have, how many distractions, number of lies, emotional reservations, traumas or unbelief, God is still faithful to complete the work He started in our lives. “And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun.” (Rom.8:30) Take all the stories you have and stand on them for proof that only He could do them. The same testimonies of what worked for you are possible again, but they aren’t always meant to manifest the same way through others.
Writing a manual or formula for life is what other religions are known for. Some make a testimony or personality the premise for their teachings, but that greatly foreshadows failure because of the grave differences in people and their need to seek answers for themselves. I constantly ask Daddy, “What if I didn’t passionately pursue you? What if I remained comfortable in going to church and doing my own thing? What if I just sprinkled a little Jesus on parts of my life but reserved a little? If I relied on my personality type to carry me through hard times, what happens to the people who don’t, do You look over them with frustration like I do? How can so much of my Christian walk be dumbed down to what I put into it?” Yet I always come back to knowing Him and being known personally by Him. It doesn’t work to compare myself with anyone or place expectations on them either, that would mean that Daddy upholds the world view of only helping those who help themselves. That’s crap. That would make him just like the rest of us, belly button gazing and writing a script about it.
All methodology is defined by this type of interrogation in hopes to motivate relationship, yet it is without love and acceptance. This is religion and anyone who says they aren’t religious but requires you to reward good behavior, automatically judges bad with a need for condemnation. Religion has judged every relationship since Adam and Eve from this premise, and it is my belief that just enough suggestion of doubt creates an avalanche of fear that humans respond to with ministry constraints. Instead of allowing people to think for themselves, it becomes easier to establish by-laws, memberships and persuading prayer teams who can become the litmus test of righteousness.
Dylan and I were desperate for instruction on how to do life according to Daddy’s truth but we had to find it through His council alone. Our well-meaning ministry friends were the first we had to forgive, then each other, and finally church as a whole. We recognized that the process of any individual‘s walk, was only the responsibility of them and God. We put our blinders on and cut out the opinions of others until we felt strong enough in Christ to filter people back in. This doesn’t sound normal to most believers, and it may not be, but now there is no question about our strength in Him. I don’t look to Dylan to fulfill me anymore because only Daddy can do that. I’ve made it a challenge to journal my complaints to Daddy and envision leaving it at Jesus’ feet. As much as I want to persuade Dylan to respond as I think he should, I resist, write and pray, and then I wait. My process looks different than his and his looks different than most godly men I know, but I don’t question his walk anymore based on how the church describes what it should look like. I’m over it. It doesn’t work and I’m no longer afraid of condemnation. I can’t question anyone’s success rate when comparing them to another. We serve a much too personal God for that.
The truth be told, we each question our place in this world and if we matter. It all boils down to love and acceptance; if we don’t feel it we naturally pull back. It was most upsetting in my life to realize that Christians who I supported and sat under, did not value the honor I was giving them. There is a lot to be said for the lesson I learned in these moments of dedication to man instead of Daddy, because I don’t think I would make the mistake again. Basically, I learned what not to do by falling into the need of relationship, and letting it distract me from the most important one. It cut deep to accept that even those I shared common beliefs with, still didn’t want me to partake in their ministry unless I proved myself worthy. After all of my questions for the Lord came back to me, I clearly heard Him say that He understood my unique struggle because Jesus walked the path before I did. In order for me to accept the personality differences of others, I had to acknowledge that I don’t have all of the details of another person’s life and struggle. My job is to keep bringing my reactions to others to Him instead so that He can teach me grace through wisdom.
At the end of the day, I know that my heart has always been chasing after Daddy’s will so I can be used to extend Heaven to Earth in my own little way. When I allowed Dylan to be redefined in my sight and no longer the lackadaisical Christian that our friends deemed him to be, I grew in the acceptance of myself. Daddy reminded me often of the uphill battles I had with trust and how it tainted the good relationships in my life with skepticism based off of negative suggestion. After I broke agreement with unbelief and cautious judgment I was able to see Dylan and the couple we lost friendship with, as Daddy’s kids processing through their own experiences. My faith became deeply rooted in my ability to empathize with those who judge and rebuke their judgements at the same time. God is God and I’m not, so it’s best to let the heavy stuff be lifted up to Him. I am discerning but even I cannot know the twists and turns of events that need to occur for anyone to look upward. The presumption from others has hurt me greatly, yet it taught me the dangers of such pride and it caused me to pause when I detected anyone fighting to maintain their ministry or position. It really stopped me in my tracks when I found people promoting their program instead of Daddy’s presence. To me faith became the hope in the Father who transformed my heart to do it again for Dylan and my loved ones because He had already done it for me. The fear had my permission to leave.
If you do consider personality differences than you realize seeing an arm grow out of a shoulder stump where there was no arm before, will provoke different responses in a group of people. Same God, yet many testimonies will be shared of that event according to each person’s perception. Our Father isn’t negated of performing that miracle just because some people walk away unconvinced. Regardless of how skeptical a person is who walks away from witnessing that miracle, the effects of faith are demonstrated through the personal relationship of the one touched by Daddy. The transformation happened within the soul and spirit of the one receiving the miracle; it bears no consequence if others disregard it. In personality prototyping, this would be considered a strength in someone who blends in with others because the legitimacy of his experience trumps the interpretation of others. Dylan fits this bill to a T and can keep his experiences to himself because it isn’t worth his energy to convince others of the same. I on the other hand, would be giving an account and personal interpretation for everyone else around me based on the effects of the miracle.
Miracles should be personal as well as profound, so it makes sense that others who devalue God’s intervention in our lives, would cause us to compare our worth to others. The power of suggestion is real and has always been a tool that discredits Daddy’s ability to manifest Himself in the life of someone deemed inferior or not walking out his healing. Yet faith always reminds us that nothing is wasted. I remember when I packed up to move as a teenager and threw a framed picture of Jesus into a box for storage as I left for college. Five years later I got saved, and five years later after that, I pulled the box down from the attic. When I opened it and saw the picture of Jesus, the exact feelings of tossing it into the box returned to me. My spirit was riveting with details of the memory and I wept as I remembered my lack luster approach to faith. But as I brought the picture close to my heart I praised Daddy for meeting me where I was then, and for showing me how far I had come since. It was like I had received the biggest affirmation of His strength to do what I could not do for myself.
It is the unique journey we each have with Daddy that confuses the prideful when unsuspecting people encourage us to change for the better, because we value them being in our lives. I recognized these qualities in my relationship with Dylan despite onlookers questioning it. His personality became characteristic of the glue that proved he was always attached to Christ and getting to know me for who I was. I didn’t have to change for him and in turn it slowed down my need to have him change. It became obvious that forcing a friendship with people who need to prototype us by personality traits was limiting all of our growths. How we process is important. It correlates perfectly with my being able to receive insight from a moment in history after I had grown to know who my Savior truly was. We are each capable of receiving the truth when it meets us in our personal circumstance, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes us. When the revelation hits our spirit we walk out in new found freedom that nobody can steal.
Daddy keeps me mindful of His ability to use it all, everything in my life. Even when I fall asleep during worship, or take a year off from reading scripture, He is still pursuing me. Our pursuit of Him was never what He needed in order to choose us; He chose us first with the guarantee that He would love us. Now He wants us to love ourselves, and you to love you because out of that relationship, identity is established. Nobody can steal or negate your testimony because it is a love story between you and your creator. What your mate, spouse, teacher, fiancé, friends, leaders or any other human says about you doesn’t matter; it can’t sway His devotion to you. Daddy had you in the beginning and He has you now. There is nothing that can separate you from the love of God, not even the condemnation you heap on yourself or that others suggest. Nothing. And nothing in your life will be wasted.