Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Turn Your Doghouse Into A Tent Of Meeting

Have you ever been in the doghouse for something you said or posted on social media? I have been, more than once, for comments I've made on some important Biblical issues. It's easy to get out of the doghouse when you've said something wrong. You simply repent and apologize and forgiveness will usually come. But what happens when you didn't do anything wrong? Apologizing when you've done nothing wrong is Lying.  It's a quick and easy way to get back in favor with people, but it is not honest and lacks integrity. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and true peace and unity only come through the truth. So what should we do when we're stuck in the Doghouse?

1. Check Your Motives

I have said wrong things before for which I had to apologize, or said the right thing in the wrong way, but there have also been times where I have gotten into the doghouse with a teacher, or many people, when I said something or wrote or taught something that I believe God led me to. Obviously prayer is very important. In this case, I also thoroughly checked with Scripture, consulted scholarly resources and sought wise, experienced and learned counsel, all of which agreed completely with my point of view. The SBC even made a strong resolution that supported one of the key issues I had addressed at the same time. My motives were to respect the Bible, teach the word of God rightly, correct misperceptions, keep people from being deceived, speak rightly about His character and promote the Gospel, even if it meant facing the disapproval of man. In this instance, I was in the Doghouse for the right reasons. Never turn your back on God or betray Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 says "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances." To despise means to ignore or turn away from what the Holy Spirit has called or led you to say and do. Stand fast. While we should always examine our methods and seek to deliver the message in the most gracious way possible, we should not abandon the teaching of Scripture or vacate a Biblical position just because man disapproves. 

2. Avoid The Tent of Bitterness

Be careful not to let your doghouse become a tent of bitterness. It is easy to be hurt and feel bitter, sad, or even angry with God and people for the isolation that occurs in the Doghouse. Hebrews 12:15 says "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up to cause trouble and defile many." Bitterness and unforgiveness are poison to the soul. In my case, it was important to keep meeting together as Scripture also teaches, and I did, but still, I allowed resentment to make me miserable, steal my joy and send me into depression, hopelessness and despair. I had been working so hard to gain favor and approval so that people might allow me to teach or lead worship and do the things God has called me to do and when it seemed those opportunities had been forfeited due to my candor, I was crushed. It's been a very difficult year. I made a point of being consistent and reliable with my attendance and service and to be positive and friendly, especially to those I sensed were angry with me. It hurts to be left out, cut out and to miss out on opportunities. But I also began serving more with another group of people and it helped to share my struggles with other believers who were not angry with me and who could encourage me. 

3. Make It A Tent of Meeting

If you're in the doghouse for being obedient, then God is in there with you. When we try to please God more than man and when we place His word and being faithful over the approval of man, He is with us. Galatians 1:10 asks: "For am I now trying to win the favor/approval of man or God? Am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." The best thing we can do is to turn our doghouse into a Tent of Meeting. Anytime I have stayed faithful and refused to back down from a Biblical position, God has rewarded me with deeper knowledge and understanding of Scripture. When we sacrifice favor, position and standing with man, we offer one of the highest forms of true worship. While the doghouse can feel very isolated and lonely, it can also be a special place of spiritual growth and development as we spend time alone with God. I have learned a great deal over the past year. The lessons have been numerous and I have finally taken a step toward getting over my fear of man and need for approval. I have spent considerable time reading the opinions of those who are often marginalized or disagree with me dramatically so that I understand how to minister to them better. I have refined and adjusted my views on church leadership structure and gained a new respect for congregationalism. I have a renewed appreciation of the importance of the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer and the value of discussion. The beliefs that I hung my hat on a year ago will always be an important focus of my ministry. 1. That every person is created in the image of God and worthy of dignity, honor and respect 2. Expository teaching that presents the Bible in the correct context using good interpretive methods is essential 3. We should seek God's approval before man's

Being in the Doghouse is a Trial.

You know the testing of your faith develops patience and perserverance. And let perserverance finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:3-4

Trials can make us bitter or they can make us better. Let me encourage you to make your doghouse a tent of meeting and a place of refuge.

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