Monday, January 2, 2012

Lord, Please Don't Take My Security Blanket

Growing Pains

I have been on a journey over the past three years that has been a hard one, but I am so thankful to God for bringing me through it.  

I came to the faith about 17 years ago through the witness of a woman at my job.  The funny thing is that she wasn't even trying to reach me, but my cousin.  My cousin would come home and share with me Omega Church & Ministry Center tapes & materials this woman gave her.  Somehow, when I heard these messages, I knew that I was hearing the truth.

God led me to go to a Christian bookstore and I purchased a Bible as well as other Christian books.  Everything else in my life faded to black as I devoted my time to study and prayer; I was eaten up with a desire to know more about God and to be known by Him.  I devoured every tape, every message, every book as a new world was opened to me via the preaching of the Gospel.

It turns out that this woman's husband was the pastor of that church and soon I became a member.  As I grew in the faith, the pastor & his wife literally became like a father and a mother to me.  I was craving life, and the source of the life I needed (Jesus Christ) was pouring through them.  They opened their home to me, and in those years I likely spent more time with them than in my own home.  This Body of believers became a family for me that in many ways was more real than my earthly family.  I was so excited to be in the presence of the saints that I would show up about an hour early for almost every meeting, service, or social function.  When those events were over, I lingered, attempting to delay going back to the loneliness of my own apartment.  The closeness of this relationship meant the world to me.  Their acceptance gave me a sense of belonging & security I hadn't known before. 

I am not describing anything abnormal.  What I am describing - and what they offered me - is true discipleship.  A brother once stated the following about what it really means to be a disciple:
Because many of us have been indoctrinated by an institutional mindset, there is a tendency to look at our faith, the scriptures, the church, and Jesus’ commands to us from an institutional vantage point. I believe this is a major reason why we have had a wrong definition of discipleship. Jesus said when a disciple is fully trained; he will be like his master (Matthew 10:24-25). Not only does Jesus want us to be His disciples (be like Jesus), He has commanded us to make other disciples by teaching others about Himself and His commands (Matthew 28-18-20)....

True life change is something that is ‘caught’ by demonstration more than ‘taught’ by information...To the degree that we have received life and have lived by Christ’s divine life, will be the degree that we are able to give this life away to others. I’m afraid that many people will find this kind of a lifestyle too difficult because they have no spiritual life to give away. They are dry on the inside. Living this kind of a community lifestyle is sustained through abiding in the vine (John 15) as a way of life.
What is spoken of above is what I experienced.  The pastor and his wife had their lives laid down in service to God.  Therefore, as a babe in Christ, I was able to learn what it is to be a servant of Jesus by their living example.

As the years went by, I grew in the knowledge of the Lord and my fellowship with the saints became even more precious.  I had a "church family".  I loved the structure & support, it was dependable, even comfortable to me...perhaps too comfortable.  Church eventually became an idol to me.  Instead of keeping my eyes on Jesus, I began to define myself (and my relationship to God) based on my interactions with the Body of Christ.  If I attended service regularly, did what I was asked, and had their approval, then I was serving God.

Don't get me wrong; the issue was not with the church at all, but with me.  I was looking for man to fill a hole that only Jesus could fill.  It is so easy to look on the external for validation, direction, acceptance, & approval because interactions with man are tangible.  People can give an immediate smile, a word of correction, or share spiritual wisdom to encourage you along the way.  Plus, religious works can often feel like Godly works.  After all, if I am accepted by my church family then I must be accepted by God...right?

Like children in the natural, God may place us in the care of others to help nurture our growth, but at some point we are expected to mature.  There comes a time when our spiritual senses have to be exercised enough not to need the tangible reassurances of man.  Our spirit is sharpened to hear from, be sensitive to, and be satisfied with the Spirit of God directly (and primarily).  That doesn't mean we outgrow the need for fellowship.  It simply means that we understand the need to be made whole in fellowship with Christ first.

The love and righteousness we see reflected in God's servants should lead us to seek even more the One whom they reflect: Jesus Christ.  But somewhere along the way, I had become content with just the reflection.  I began to use "the church" and my role in it as the barometer for measuring my progress with God.  So because the Father loves us beyond what we can imagine - and because He is a jealous God - He began to show me my idolatry.

He began to take away my security blanket.

Bye Bye Blankie

Knowing more than I how much I was using my identity with what I called "church" to define my walk with Him, God began to shake that idol.  For the first time there began to be a disconnect between what some felt I should be doing and what God was leading me to do.  It was a position I was not prepared to be in.  At one point, one of the brethren told me that I had an "obligation" to ensure my actions did not reflect poorly on "the church".  Based on such feedback, I began to question myself, "Was I really hearing from the Lord?"  I became torn between feelings of responsibility for representing "the church" versus representing Christ.

This should have been my first clue that the image I had developed of church was wrong. Everything that God allowed to happen at this time was for the purpose of showing me how I had given "church" a life and identity of its own, apart from Christ.  In truth there is no disconnect between Christ and His Church, for the Body is merely a reflection of the Head. 

God then placed me in a variety of situations where I had to choose.  I could do what He was leading me to or do what others thought I should be doing.  Submitting to others would at least give me the appearance of being submitted to Christ and allow me to retain their perceived approval.  Yet the same would also mean I had placed man in a position which only God should have in my life, potentially putting me in disobedience to the Father. 

It may sound like an easy choice - and perhaps it should have been - but it wasn't.  It was a tortuous time and I often vacillated between obeying God and doing what others thought because I didn't want to be rejected by the only spiritual family I had come to know.  What needed to be set aside was not the church, but my faulty impressions about it (and the need I had for man's approval).  However I honestly wasn't strong enough to do it, so God did it for me.  He yanked from my clutching hands the idol I had made of "church" by removing me from regular interaction with my church family. 

I'll state it again: the issue was not my church family; the issue was me.  Brothers and sisters in Christ may have the best of intentions, but we still need to seek to know and heed God's direction in all things.  Because I had not made it a priority to be made whole in Christ first, I was being swayed by every impression, every expectation.  I realized that I needed to "know that I know that I know" God's voice above all others and have the fortitude to obey Him in spite of.

I had to ask myself, "Was I willing to stand for God, even by myself?  Was I willing to obey God, even when brothers & sisters may not understand?  Would I conform to the opinion of men so as to appear "submitted" while knowing I was not doing the will of God?"

I had to face the fact: God was expecting me to GROW UP.  I couldn't rely on others to direct my life, sign off on it, or tell me what to do.  I had to become personally accountable before Him and seek the Lord myself to know His will. 

Let me also clarify.  Ceasing local fellowship is no sign of maturity.  This was a specific process that God used in this particular case to address this idol within me.  It is not like you reach a point where you become so "super spiritual" that you no longer need the Body of Christ.  God says that we should seek to come together all the more as we see that day approaching.

Yet at the same time, getting together with other like-minded believers is not what makes us Christians.  Neither are we called to live up or down to any man's perceptions of our walk with God.  We are His sons & daughters when we are led by His Spirit to do His will. That is what God needed me to learn.

So I began the painful journey of walking out this aspect of my relationship with God.  I say painful because being apart from my family for a while was like having to cut an umbilical cord.  Truth is, I didn't want to stand by myself; I didn't think I was ready.  Yet, even as I look back on it now, I know it was needed and for a purpose.  God was making me into that which He had first used to reach me: a disciple.

As long as I saw myself as one to be discipled instead of one to become a disciple, then I would never take the steps to start doing the works of the ministry.  If I only saw myself as one who was supposed to be fed, I would never fulfill God's command for me to feed others.  I had become arrested in my development in Christ because of my own idolatry of "the church".  So God had to send me through this test to prove me, to let me see for myself whether I was prepared to stand in Him, even alone.

Over the past year, God enabled us to put into practice what He has been growing us up for over the past three years.  We were able to open our home to several people, including a new believer in Christ who stayed with us for most of this year.  As was done for me, we have been able to pray with her, teach her God's word, encourage her in the faith, intercede for her deliverance, etc.  She has indeed become an extension of our own family.

As we took her to the airport this weekend to return home, she cried wondering if she was ready to leave.  She did not want to go.  I smiled, understanding only too well her hesitations.  I shared with her that - while we would always be here for her - God also needed her to grow in Him so that she can begin to put into practice what God had been showing her, learning to depend on Him completely.  Like a child learning how to walk, God would make sure that there was support to teach us how to take our first steps, but at some point we have to learn to stand on our own.  It is then that we can be free to fellowship with others in Spirit and in truth.

This is not about what we have done, but about what God has done (and is doing)!  Through it all, I am able to see the cycle that real life generates.  As God designs, each life type produces after its own kind.  If we have been regenerated to life in Christ then we must bear the fruit of that life to others and be able to lead them also to it.  This is the manifestation of eternal life and it is the life source of the Church.

Pastor Gary Price preached a message this past Sunday on "The Words of Eternal life" which addresses the false notions we can adopt about who and what the church of God is.  The question he challenges us on is the same that God issues to His people, "Will you stand up?  Will you be accountable?  Will you go into the world and proclaim the Good News?"

There is no more time for playing church.  It is time to become the Church.  We must each consider whether we actually possess the transforming words of eternal life.

The Words of Eternal Life - Part 1

The Words of Eternal Life - Part 2


  1. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with church.
    “True life change is something that is ‘caught’ by demonstration more than ‘taught’ by information...To the degree that we have received life and have lived by Christ’s divine life, will be the degree that we are able to give this life away to others”

  2. Hi Share2Show,

    It really wasn't so much my experience with church as my experoence with learning to grow up. Omega is one of the few churches which actually preach freedom & truth in Christ and not bondage to man. They will always be my church family. But no matter how Godly the fellowship, if you are not whole, then you can create your own issues. That is what I did.

    We must be able to stand on God's word unmovable. If there is any ounce of us which looks to man for that which only God can provide, then there is that possibility for compromise. I don't want that. I want to be whole and I thank God for doing that; for getting me to a place where I can truly join in fellowship in the liberty of the Spirit.

    May God continue to purge us all, draw us closer to Him, and give us our marching orders in Him

    God Bless!

  3. When are you going to focus on the whoredoms of the men in the body of Christ. It's not all just female it men as well. The problem with this blog is that it's one sided and posits that the problems with the body of Christ is all female. Are you kidding. T.D. Jakes, Joes Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, John Hagee, The TBN camp all men. This will probably get erased but I don't care. Their are great examples of Godly women in the Bible and ironically God used a woman to bring forth the Messiah not a man at all. I'm so sick of hearing that we woman are whores and need to change. I've seem some of the biggest whores and they were men. Let's look at David and Solomon and their wives. Lets look at Sampson and his whoredoms. Time to readjust the your focus and look at the whole counsel of God. When Jesus was on Earth he didn't blame one party he put the sins of man on the individual not a group. Wake up!

  4. Hello LondonHermit,

    I always find the way that God does things completely logical and on-time. I thank Him for being so much wiser than we are and for caring enough about us to show us ourselves.

    At first I pondered about why you were posting your comments here, which seemed to have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Then I realized how this is yet another example of that which the article speaks.

    Perhaps you didn't read it, but in case you did not let me say, "I don't care what you think about what I have written in this article or any other."

    I didn't write it for you, but in obedience to God. For those who can receive it, may they receive it. For those who cannot, the message may not have been for you.

    You should have tried to catch me 4 years ago. :-) At that time, I was still seeking approval from man and may have ignorantly heeded your input rather than heeding God. But now I am free! Praise God!

    Not free from fellowship or free from Godly correction & oversight, but free from religious performance. I live for Christ and not one other person. I will not be brought into bondage again.

    If you feel that there is a message to be told for God, then tell it. Get about the Father's business yourself. What are you so busy trying to micro-manage me for? Such is the sign of someone who is not engaged in the battle themselves.

    As my pastor has often said, if you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, only the hit one yelps. Your comments resonate with the sound of a yelp. I have never said the things that you claim; that is simply what you have perceived. Such is called conviction. If you love the Lord, inquire of Him why you are so offended and why you have taken some posts so personally.

    Don't like the blog? Don't read it. It really isn't that difficult. However, my prayer is that God would give you understanding so as to truly perceive what is being stated. If there is a word from God in this, then I sure want you to receive it. The choice of course is yours.

  5. I have been struggling with this issue as far as growing up in Christ and not being afraid. I pray for the Holy Ghost to fill me so that I am able to hear him and obey without question. I know He's real and He is God and desire that close relationship with Him. This article was encouraging. Thank you for allowing God to use you for such a time as this and pray that you stay encouraged and uplifted.

  6. 2012 is the year we stop dealing with religious foolishness and bondage. As sister Maisha has said, "it's time to grow up." There is no male vs. female battle, but the forces of Jezebel and Ahab are offended by truth. The demons were trying to make Maisha self concious and I thank God she is well past all that. This year we declare war on the homosexual/lesbian/whoremongering/whore system of Antichrist and the war cry remains the hell with Jezebel!! Join us January 6-8, 2012 in Atlanta for "THE NEW CHURCH ORDER" gathering: register at It's time for all of us to get in the battle and fight for the liberty of your sons and daughters. Maisha thank God for you and your boldness. I know it took time, but it was worth the wait. We will not tolerate anymore demonic infiltration and accusations in the Body of Christ. We take the battle to the enemy and Lord be with us with mighty signs and wonders powered by the Holy Ghost, AMEN! Pastor Price

  7. Hi Anonymous,

    I can completely relate! It can be scary, but God knows what He is doing.

    I remember one time when Pastor Price told my husband that I should stay behind to answer phone calls while church members went downtown to a Eddie Long & Creflo Dollar conference handing out info about the Jesus Cult.

    My initial response was, "WHAT???!!!!! Why should I be the one to stay behind and receive these angry calls from the people who receive the info?" I didn't want to do something on my own. I wanted someone with me, I wanted to do something as a team. Surely God led Pastor Price to have me do just that so I could start to get out of my comfort zone.

    Just trust God. He is able to lead you and He wants to. You be encouraged in the Lord as well. I do believe He is going to do great things this year through His Body.

    God Bless!

  8. Thank you for this post! God deals with any idol we set up in our lives and I am thankful for it. May we all move through coming challenges with His strength and push further in our relationship with Him.

    Keep it up!

  9. I enjoy many of the blogs posted on this site and direct others to read your blog posts. I believe they are God inspired writings and many are confirmation. Thank you for being obedient to God.

  10. This post pretty much sums it up. there has been so much talk lately of being called out of the Institutional church, organized religion or whatever you want to call it. As you stated, those that hold to these thoughts (including myself to a certain extent) feel that they have transcended to some higher Spiritual plain. Some tend to forget that god orchestrates all of this and I believe it is for the very reason you say in this post...TO GROW US UP IN HIM!!!!

    I agree there are several issues with what people have called "the church" for some time now. I personally feel that it is more of a hindrance when there is no light in that fellowship (doesn't matter where they choose to meet. Unlike you, all of the fellowships or churches and what have you have NEVER discipled me. I learned full well what it meant to be pleasing to man and in some instances how to give God what He needs in the way of perfromacne while still being able to "balance" that with my own fleshy desires but NEVER have I been taught by any of these what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus Christ!

    I am learning now. the Lord is showing me throug His Word and also by reading things like your blog and other stuff He sends me to.

    I remember one of the first posts I read on here was about being set free. It was at a time that I was in complete bondage to a man and his ministry, his church. I knew something was wrong but was afraid to call it bondage because I felt I was being disobedient and rebellious to the "man of God". God cracked that thing wide open and confirmed it with your blog post.

    I appreciate you Mia! And if the Lord wills I will see your face before we see Him in glory!

    Much Love to you! And your family!

  11. Hi Latika,

    I know for sure that it has been a wonderful blessing to have been led to Omega Ministries. And that is not about Omega itself as much as it is a testimony about what fellowship can be like when Christ is preached above all else. I only have to hear testimonies similar to yours to know how rare that is.

    Yet, God still saves, matures, and keeps us in spite of. Prayerfully, as people decide to break off the shackles of that idol called "church", they will determine to become vessels of light to provide a different experience than what you have described for those who will be brought into the faith in the days to come.

    Tika, I really recommend that you listen to the message linked in the article on The Words of Eternal Life. As I listened on Sunday, I just cried. It was my personal testimony which I had never shared with anyone else before (besides my husband). I knew God wanted me to stand up and share how I had been snared by the very thing Pastor Price describes.

    Breaking from that was just one of the hardest experiences I have ever had. I too didn't want to be considered "rebellious", and struggled for quite some time in trying to maintain a balance between performing to meet man's standards and obeying God. But for me, there was no balance to be found. I was literally miserable and the more I tried to submit to man's way, the more I felt the life of Christ being crushed inside of me. God would not let me do both because He is a jealous God and I praise Him for that.

    Pastor Price mentions that this message will set you free if you grab a hold of it; and I am a living witness that such is true!

    I love you guys and wish that I could see you all this weekend, but I guess Rashid will just have to represent. :-) When I give him a hug, it'll just have to be big enough for him to bring back & share with you both. :-) Until as you say I can give you my hug in person.

    Be encouraged in the Lord & trust Him in all things.

  12. Right on target. The church must experience growth.

  13. Amen! Please take the time to listen to the song, "Sons and Daughters" by Jason Upton. This song has really ministered to me the truth of who we are in Christ. It is really powerful!

    I won't be at the fellowship gathering this weekend, but please let me know if there any believers in Maryland who I could connect with. I wish I was attending, but I'm in the process of moving (my lease is expiring).

    Thank you again for your candid honesty. You are truly a breath of fresh air. God Bless.

    I am also on the e-mail list of Omega Ministries, so please keep me updated.

  14. Hi Emily,

    I do know someone from Maryland who is coming and there may be more so I'll be sure to let you know.

    God Bless!

  15. Great Article! If you can post on fasting, I could really use guidance in that area as well.

  16. Wow, thanks so much for this article. Your blog has been such a blessing - God led me here and used it to speak into my life too many times to count. Thank you for letting God use you for HIS GLORY. My story isn't exactly the same as yours but I would like to share it. I got saved while attending a very strong church in my hometown in 1999. I was so on fire for the Lord but was truly a babe stuck on milk. I loved the teaching from my minister, praise and worship, went up for every altar call to receive, receive, recive. I did pray and study my Bible. But I totally missed the Great Commission. Salvation was all about me and I felt affirmed by people. To make a long story short God allowed some tests in my life and I went through a few years of unemployment(2 layoffs in a row) recovery from a car accident, etc. I had to move to another city for a job offer - and just like that the security blanket was gone. I found out just how much I was connected to my former church and how lacking my personal relationship with the Lord was. Another shock to me was that I had accepted Christ as my Savior but had not made him LORD of my life. I joined a good church in my new city but I still missed my old church, the people and constantly receiving from them.My faith was so tied to the old church. Spiritual immaturity... I didn't stand up well under the pressures of life, being a single in a new city, and unfortunately did the backslide right into the world and every area of my life was a mess. I had some experiences that had me running back to God like my life depended on it because it did. God showed me that He wanted all of me and to show me He alone is sufficient. He wanted a living sacrifice so He could come in and by His Spirit transform me to use me for His purpose and plan. I started to cry out in the middle of my mess to Him, asking for strength and forgiveness and He delivered me from a relationship that was killing me - one He told me not to get into in the first place. I started praying regularly again and the interesting thing is I didn't go back to church right away. I didn't feel led to for a time. Instead, I started studying the Word by myself for hours at a time and it came alive for me like never before. You know what happened? The Lord met me there and started revealing Himself to me. The Word is truly a mirror. He showed me that I got lost because I forgot or never really understood my identity in Christ. I eventually went back to my church and am now involved in ministry and leading bible study. The key for me was that I had to lay myself on the altar and give everything, every part of me to the Lord. He is the one who redeems, saves, heals and delivers - not people. God had to get me out of the church building (the one I was attached to) to make me a real member of the body of Christ that is useful to Him. I have experienced God like never before and such a filling of the Holy Spirit I weep sometimes with joy at what He's doing to me and through me. I can now look back on the tough times and praise God for what I went through because He used everything for His glory and now I have a testimony to share with others. Each day now my prayer is "yes, Lord you can do with me as the potter does with the clay." We're now seeing such revival in my church and I'm praying for the body as a whole that we wake up from the spiritual slumber we're in. It's amazing to me how much of today's church is just like the nation of Israel, like Hosea's wife the prostitute. God is merciful and is holding back the winds I believe because He is waiting for His people to repent. But He won't wait forever. Jesus is coming back for His bride without spot or blemish!! In the meantime, I will continue to serve Him until that glorious day!!!

  17. Emily,

    I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful pastor and his wife who are starting a fellowship in Bowie Maryland. You can access their website here:

    The Warriors Temple

    I know you recently moved, so I am not sure how close you are to Bowie, but they are great folks to know either way.

    I pray that you are well!


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