Monday, July 30, 2007

Pharisees

I spent a good bit of time Sunday on the couch. I've been fighting a summer cold for several weeks and yesterday I awoke to a fever, chills and a horrible sore throat. So Emma, who was also running a fever, and I had a lazy morning. We had planned to "watch" our church service on-line so we wouldn't miss anything, (plus I wanted to see what the choir shots look like so I can figure out where to sit so I'm hidden!)but we both fell asleep before it started.

Chad was on the media team yesterday so he and Chloe stayed for both services, by the time they got home, everyone was famished. Does anyone else get the major hungries on Sunday or is it just my family? Maybe I'll start a Sunday Lunch Post on Friday that way I'm forced to think about lunch before the car ride home. :)

After everyone ate mandatory Sunday rest time was enforced. Chad headed to the bed, the girls to their rooms and me, back to the couch. I flipped through some of my notes from a recent Wednesday with Beth on Life Today.

The entire episode was powerful but she said one thing that really summarized something I've been trying to put words to but couldn't. She was teaching from Luke 5:17 -26, the passage where the friends bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus to be healed. When they can't get in, they go to the roof, make an opening and lower their friend to Jesus. (Side note, be a friend who will raise the roof to get my friends and family to Jesus.)

There were two obstacles those friend faced: the crowd and the pharisees. I'm summarizing the point that caused me to stop and rewind. "Some of us don't experience full healing and freedom in Christ because of the pharisees in our life."

Who are you surrounded by? Who do you confide in? Is it a person who totally believes God? Who believes that He can and will move in our lives? Or are you surrounded by skeptics. Maybe a person who is saved and content to go no farther in their walk with God. They believe the Bible, but don't believe God really moves that much anymore. Be very careful. We become what we surround ourselves with.

For quite some time I have struggled with a particular relationship. It's a relationship that after several years of trying to force it to be healthy, God said stop. These people are Christians, but not growing in their walk. Every time we were around them, we left frustrated. It seemed the entire conversation was about how bad their church staff was, how unfair they are treated, or worse, gossip about other people or family members. This relationship was toxic! After much prayer, God showed us that there needed to be some healthy boundaries. It didn't go over well. Now, we're the ones talked about. It hurts. They are pharisees in our life. They don't worship God, they worship tradition. If anything varies from tradition it's wrong, and they don't mind to tell you all about it. They worship their hurts and heartaches, but have never let God totally heal them. I wonder if they think God can't fix it? It's really very sad.

There is so much more to this, more than I have liberty to write about on the Internet. I can tell you that since I committed to pray that they would be aware of God's presence in every day situations, things have gotten a little better. There is still quite a bit of healing that needs to take place and we are still guarded, but I can tell that God is moving.

Now, then I ask this question. Am I a pharisee in the life of someone? Do I believe that God hasn't or won't move in someone else's situation? Do I "down-play" someones testimony of God's grace? Do I think that God can't work miracles in another person like He's done in mine? Shame on me if I ever do. All that does is say that what Jesus did on the cross wasn't enough. For God so loved the world. Not just you, or me or our circle of friends. The World.

I don't want to be a pharisee. I want each person that reads this, each person that I speak with to experience the joy and freedom of simply believing God.

5 comments:

Amy said...

Powerful and thought-provoking Stephanie! There's much to "selah" here...I may write about it at my blog....

Thanks for your inspiration and encouragement to be real with Jesus!

Love you,
Amy

Meg said...

Stephanie...this is really good and I thank you for sharing it. Am I a Pharisee in someone else's life? I am going to have to give that some thought. I do have people in my life like that...some I can distance myself from, others I cannot. Praying for them is key...thanks for the reminder to just stop and pray. I pray you'll be feeling well soon. Love, Meg

Darla said...

There are many Pharisees, and the sad part is they are missing the abundant life also..I was misled for a few years by a pharisee, but God knows a heart that wants HIM more than life...and HE rescued me and set me wise to it. I think the hardest part is to pray for them, and not want to kick their butt all by myself! :) Not very Princess like! Love you and your post!!
BTW-thanks for encouraging Princess K she was delighted!

Lisa M said...

Thanks for this post Stephanie. I needed to read this right now. I really enjoy reading your blog. God bless you!

The Small Scribbler said...

Steph,

I was studying John 5 this morning...this message came through loud and clear.

You ask a good question though. Are there areas of my life where I have the viewpoint of a Pharisee...where I keep God in a box and don't trust that His power to work in circumstances is far greater than I give him credit for? The answer is yes as I am sure it is in everyone's life and I need to continue to pray like the man with the sick child, (paraphrased) "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief."

This is a good, introspective post.

Kate