Faith Teaching Vs Surrender Message

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Faith Teaching Vs Surrender Message

Postby Berea » Fri Jul 22, 2005 5:00 pm

Brothers and sisters, I trust that the following article will encourage you in your Christian walk. Amen.

Faith Teaching Vs Surrender Message

Crises will produce spiritual reality and revelation relative to the depth of our real faith: Said differently, crisis will reveal what we really believe. Many in the body of Christ are coming face-to-face with realities that only crisis can produce. Circumstances do not make the man, but often do reveal him to himself. Several years ago I was fortunate enough to face one crisis after another for quite a long period of time - these trials eventually led me to truth. My circumstances were so dire that I had to stay on my knees constantly in search of truth to simply survive. There are some lessons that man can only learn in the lion's den and I was amongst an appearingly hungry bunch. From these experiences, I gleaned that all real learning is precipitated out of necessity. I realized that in order for my circumstances to change, something in me would have to change.

What I came face-to-face with during these trials, some of which I still endure, was the depth of truth in my life from many years of Word of Faith teachings. To my dismay, the chaos I faced revealed that what I once held as truth could no longer be accepted as such. What I learned caused me to face the fact that I had to unlearn much of what I had spent fifteen years learning.

The new message I heard was "surrender it all to me, let it go, rest in and trust me no matter how bad things look or feel. Trust that I am doing something in your life. This wilderness experience is necessary as preparation for your call. Quit fighting and kicking against the goads. Stop looking for devils behind every thing that doesn't go to your liking." What a contrast to WOF teachings that told me of my entitlements, my great authority, and my rights as a child of God.

In contrasting the "Word Of Faith" movement of yesterday to the "Surrender" message of today, I found that to the degree I strived in my own strength to attain even that which God had appointed for me, to that degree my authority was weakened. The harder I worked, the more I commanded the devil to cease his operation against me, the more I appropriated scripture and placed demands upon God the worse my situation seemed to get. Rather than operating by spiritual discernment, I simply followed the WOF formula manual. I sought pastoral counsel but my poor pastor had no real word because my situation did everything but line up with the WOF teachings that we all were so ensconced in.

I was saved in January of 1983, and like many in the body of Christ, cut my teeth on Word Of Faith teaching. Much of the earlier WOF teachings are the firm foundation of the word upon which I stand today, but as with other great outpourings of God that truly started with God, time allowed man to ebb the flow of truth with perverted truth and human interpretation. As the eighties gave way to the nineties, it seemed that much of the WOF teaching began to give man more and more say in how and what God would do for him in a given situation - bind the devil when anything unpleasant or bad is happening, give money to get money, find a scripture that applies to your situation and stand on it until God does it, name it and claim it, etc., Man replaced God as the focal point in the equation, almost as if man could order God. The concept of man directing God and demanding things of God filled the airways of radio and TV. Teaching tapes abounded from ministries named for men, whose great exploits for God were taught as a combination of their faith and God's ability.

It was during this phase of the WOF movement that formulas became very popular. Man envisioned formulas replaced spending time with and hearing God for our particular situation. While it cannot be argued that man certainly has a part to play in what God does in his or her life, the over statement of this fact seemed to change the emphasis from the sovereignty of God to the studious ability, perseverance, and faith of man. The complete and total emphasis on reading the bible seemed to replace spending time with God, going into the throne room for a word from God, and the spiritual vitality of a one on one relationship with God. In simple truth, reading replaced hearing; specifically, reading and appropriating scripture replaced hearing God and developing our faith from having heard God for ourselves. It is vitally important to understand here that I am not saying that reading the bible isn't important, or that God cannot speak to us through our bible reading. Reading the bible is of great importance, but it mustn't replace worshiping the Lord, spending time with Him and allowing Him to speak specifically to us.

The WOF emphasis has been on what God can do for man instead of what man can do for God. Ministers, it seems, have focused more on their ministry and ministering to men, rather than ministering to God through their ministry. Worship has been replaced with entertainment.

Much of the WOF today is taught in a natural carnal way; appealing to the natural mind with a primary motive of being blessed. TV evangelist have us shout slogans like "Its my time to get my stuff from my God! It's the year of jubilee, your blessing is right around the corner providing you keep giving and do not leave Jerusalem." Carnal ministers appeal to a carnal congregation, but many spiritually minded saints are tiring of this outer court ministry and leaving the church in a global mass exodus.

Nobody enjoys being blessed more than I do; God's blessing is rich and has no sorrow attached to it, but when the primary motive of the message is "blessing for man," the message has become perverted and distorted. Our primary motive in this earth is bring glory to God, and yes, if we live our life with that motive, God will indeed bless us because in true Kingdom Dynamics, the greater always includes the lesser: If we live and function to glorify God by hearing and obeying, the blessing of God will run us down and overtake us. WOF teaches that God's blessing is predominately money and health, but what we are seeing is that true blessing encompasses much more, the greatest of which is a true relationship with God. WOF often equates spirituality with material possession.

In living for His glory, the emphasis is not me; the emphasis is HIM. Much is still taught today in WOF circles about "knowing who we are in Christ;" our rights, our privileges, authority, etc., all important revelations, but contrastingly, an even greater revelation is knowing "who He is in us," the all powerful triune God, who knows no limits to love, power and authority. It is the ‘Him’ in us that does the work, not the ‘us’ in Him. We are His body, made and designed to perform His work; He is not our body, who comes along for the ride to help us obtain what we want! God is not about improving us; He is about removing us!

No, the "surrender" message is not as popular as "prosperity" teaching - one requires surrendering our rights, the other teaches gaining our rights. "Surrender" requires that you give all, the "WOF" promises that you will receive much. Surrender teaches "have your way with me Lord," WOF teaches "this is what I want Lord." The contrasts in these two teachings are stark.

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39).

Will it take a crisis to understand SURRENDER? It doesn't have to.

--by Clay Sikes
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