The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Frustrations & Obstacles

When God Sets You Up to Look Stupid: Help for Humiliated Christians

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We all start off serving God on a “give to get” basis.  When we obey Him at great costs to ourselves, we naturally expect Him to reward us within the same context.  If obeying Him causes us to look really stupid in the eyes of others, then we would really appreciate God rewarding us in that same context–by doing something that shuts everyone’s faces and proves that we were right.  Noah looked like a lunatic when he was building the ark–but then the flood did actually happen, thus he got his “Ha, I told you so,” moment.  When Daniel was chucked into the lion’s den, he got his “told you so” moment the next morning when he was still alive.  When Shadrach and his friends were thrown into the fiery furnace, they got the satisfaction of God publicly exalting them by keeping them alive.  Plenty of us would be willing to put it all on the line for God if we knew our earthly humiliation would end in earthly glory.

But what if it doesn’t? Read more of this post

Serving a God Who Lies

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God has a long history of lying to human beings.  This is one of those uncomfortable truths that none of us want to deal with, so we try to ignore it as long as possible.  But when God calls you to function as one of His prophets, you end up forced to deal with the lying business, because you’re the one He’s very likely to do some of His lying through.  Who wants to look like an idiot by prophesying something that doesn’t happen?  No one.  But prophets aren’t the only ones who get affected by God’s deceptiveness.  If you pursue God long enough, it’s only a matter of time until He lies to you about something you really care about.  Then what?  You’ll feel all bitter and disillusioned, of course.  There’s nothing fun about the first time God hits you with some bit of crushing disillusionment.  It’s rather like a first heartbreak—it’s really miserable and it permanently changes you.  Of course it’s a lot easier to get sympathy for a broken heart than it is for God lying to you.  Among Christians, it’s taboo to use the phrase “God lies,” and souls who are caught in this stage with Him often end up shunned, harshly criticized, and blamed for all sorts of things.  This is one of the reasons we discuss the topic of God lying in such depth on our site: because when you’re dealing with it for the first time, it’s a very lonely road.  Read more of this post

Renegade Ministries: Is it always wrong to defy the authority of the Church?

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Suppose the Holy Spirit starts calling you to serve Him in some very specific way. Of course there are other people on the planet who have already launched similar ministries, but none of them are doing things quite like you feel He wants them to be done. So you strike out on your own, and the next thing you know your pastor is coming down hard on you for trying to set up a ministry without the approval of the church.

Or suppose you do find some ministry organization that is doing what you feel strongly called to do. You eagerly sign up, but the problem is that you’re a renegade Christian who isn’t currently attending any church. So when they require that your pastor write them a letter of recommendation before they will consider allowing you to join their staff, it’s another stonewall.

Or suppose God leads you to some independent ministry that He is really speaking to you through. This group is cranking out material that is changing your life and the lives of your friends, and causing you all to feel super on fire for God. You’re dying to share what you’ve found with people at your church, but when your pastor finds out this ministry is not affiliated with any church organization, he condemns it as invalid and shuts you down anytime you try to talk about it.

Or suppose you are a pastor and one of your parishioners has become infatuated with some self-titled preacher or prophet on the internet. Now in every bible study and small group, this stranger’s opinions are being quoted like some Gospel authority and you feel like they are gaining too much influence over your flock. Read more of this post

Courageous Coward: Pleasing God When You’re Afraid

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Suppose God calls you to serve Him in a way that will involve some very upsetting extras. In your heart, you want to obey and you tell God you will follow Him anywhere because He is your King. But here is where you must remember that you are a spirit being who is traveling about in an earthsuit that has a mind of its own. Your earthsuit doesn’t care about pleasing God—it only cares about protecting and pleasing itself. Your earthsuit is going to adamantly oppose any assignment which puts it at risk of physical injury, emotional stress, or relational conflicts. So while you can be courageously dedicated to God inside, your earthsuit is going to be a sniveling coward and it will try to do anything it can to sabotage the mission. Rocks in your stomach, watery knees, taut nerves, sleepless nights—your earthsuit is going to throw the equivalent of a two-year-old’s tantrum to try and get you to change course. These are very smart bodies that God gave us. They are rather like those computerized machines we see in the movies that lock up the controls when they sense danger and ban the humans from overriding their safety systems. Your earthsuit has no use for pleasing God. Your earthsuit doesn’t care about God. It is an unregenerate, selfish mess that is only going to care about itself until the day that God ejects you from it. Read more of this post