Why call Him Lord and not do the things He says?
March 21, 2006
All pastors at some point find themselves in their office wearing the counselor hat. I found myself in that role all too often as well. Over half of our church’s membership is composed of people we had baptized into our church family. New believers are cleansed from their sin, but they still have a LOT of baggage that tries to follow them from a life lived in the flesh of the old man. They desperately need help. I found myself dealing with real crises in real people with real hurts and deep needs. One day I suddenly awoke to the fact that nearly 80% of my office time was ending up in counseling sessions. This was a personal wake up call in several areas.
First, I really love these people! But, wanting to do everything I possibly can to help them, I was sacrificing other areas of necessary pastoral ministries.
Secondly, not only was I spending too much time in counseling sessions, I was getting disappointed when I did not see application of the Biblical truths in some of their lives.
The mistake I was making was giving biblically based advice and step-by-step counsel. Some of the material was from godly Christian authors from whom I had gleaned personal help. What I was NOT doing, was FIRST dealing with the basic heart issue of obedience to God’s Word.
God used one particular couple to open my eyes. After the usual pleasant greetings, I asked, “Why are we here today?” The instant reply from the husband was, “Pastor, you gotta fix her.” In the twinkling of an eye, I became the referee of a fight. After things settled down, the wife’s attitude was just like his. She said, “Pastor, do you see the problem now? You have to fix him!”
I didn’t want to “fix” anybody. My desire for this couple and all our church family was that they would want to walk in obedience, forsaking the flesh and sin. Obedience to God’s Word brings His blessing with it. But it didn’t always happen. The biblical principles and even the Scripture had no effect on their walk. Why?
Simply stated, I forgot the starting point. I believe the first issue to establish is a commitment to God’s authority in their life through His Word. This is where I was failing them.
The lesson I learned was that I needed to start the sessions by asking these questions: “This is the Bible. Do you believe it to be God’s Word? Do you believe it has authority over you? As we progress in our time together to find answers to the questions and difficulties that you are going through, will you submit your life to obeying the principles that God reveals to you in His Word?” If the answer was “No” to any of these questions, I told them that I could not help them and that further meetings would be a useless exercise. Many counseling marathons ended right there, before they ever began. Occasionally, potentially multiple hours of counseling time ended in as little as 20 minutes.
Oh, the blessings of God we forfeit when we do not walk in obedience. How are you doing? Do you make every decision of life with regard to the revealed will of Jesus Christ in your life? Jesus said, “ Why do You call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and not DO the things that I say?” Luke 6:46
God takes sin in our lives seriously. We must as well.