Saturday, June 3, 2017

Are You Toeing the Line or Going The Extra Mile?

You will know them by their fruits..... The spiritual maturity and authenticity of many believers is often demonstrated by the way they treat new leaders. Toeing the line, to me, describes a person who wants to see just how far they can go, just how much they can get away with. Like the Pharisees, their heart isn't looking to see how they can help, they will give the least amount of cooperation and effort possible. Any time we see someone in the church who tests their limits, pushes boundaries, busts chops or otherwise gives a new leader in the church a hard time, that person likely falls into one of 3 categories:

1. A new or immature believer
2. A backslidden believer
3. Not A Believer

Mature Believers who are genuine Christ followers, filled with the Holy Spirit should:

1. Demonstrate a humble attitude
2. Have a servant's heart
3. Be patient, teachable and helpful
4. Be on a Gospel mission

One of the places where the Fruits of the Spirit (or lack thereof) are clearly on display and easy to read is in the church music rehearsal. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness and self-control are clearly evidenced in the way we interact with one another. Sadly, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, conflicts and divisiveness also rear their ugly heads.  (Galatians 5:20-23)

As musicians, we have to check ourselves because our feelings and attitudes during rehearsal can be very revealing. This can be a good thing if we engage in self-evaluation and accept that we are still growing to maturity in Christ.

Hebrews 13:17 admonishes us:

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

The word submit, means to cooperate and partner together with one another. The Greek word used here, hupatasso, is an action verb that comes from the word for Rowing a ship together in perfect unison. We are meant to row together in beautiful harmony, as we all work toward the same Goals, some of which are To:

1. Offer Praise, Honor and Worship to God
2. Use our gifts to their highest potential to build God's Kingdom
3. Provide an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can soften people's hardened hearts, speak to deaf ears and open eyes that have become blind to spiritual things
4. Help the congregation to engage in meaningful worship and connect with God.
5. Help others to deepen and grow in their relationship with God

The concept of submission is tied closely to going the extra mile. A Roman soldier had the right to compel a citizen to carry his pack for one mile. Jesus said

And if anyone compels you to go one mile, go with him two.

He was telling us to go above and beyond the call of duty. He was calling us into willing partnership and collaboration. He doesn't want us to give the minimum. He wants us to take a personal stake in the work and to make it our own. This is about spreading the Good News of the Kingdom of God. So the next time you think about putting a toe across the line, instead, find a way to be helpful and go the extra mile...

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