Hello friends, I pray you had a great day in God's house yesterday! At Ottawa First, we had a wonderful service. Today, I started reading a new book; it for an upcoming class that I will have when my new semester begins in January. Normally, my assigned books are very dull and are always from an academic point of view...but not this one. This book is called "Emotionally Healthy Discipleship" by Peter Scazzero. I had never heard of the guy before, so I was skeptical at first, but once I dug into the book, it had me captivated. The book is written to pastors and leaders and is about leading people from shallow Christianity to deep transformation. So today, I am going to write about some of my thoughts, regarding some things that I read.
Let's look at a well known verse, perhaps in a new way.
1 Cor. 13: 1-3
13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
The author of the book points out 4 main reasons that people under your leadership remain spiritually immature.
1. We tolerate emotional immaturity
2. We emphasize doing for God rather than being with God (ouch!)
3. We ignore the treasures of Church history
4. We define success wrongly
Each section of the book deals with one of these categories. The following are my own thoughts on the first issue he points out, and on the scripture I mention above. Some of my ideas are similar to his, or it's an idea that he started, but I am expanding on (I do not wish to take credit for something that is not mine).
In the western church today, we've divorced spiritual maturity and emotional maturity. We can read all day long about how Paul said that we should have "love," but because our definition of love is skewed, we do not actually understand what it means to "love" someone. We consider ourselves spiritually mature if we read the Bible, pray, tithe, volunteer at church, etc...yet with our family and friends (and people in general) we are quick to wrath, are often unapproachable, defensive, we consider ourselves better than most (especially sinners), and simply live our lives in such a way that we first look for what's wrong, rather than what is right. We consider ourselves spiritually mature. According to Paul, and a proper definition of love, we are the farthest thing from spiritually mature. The author says: "we no longer measure our love for God by how we love others."
As I was reading though this book, and reflecting on my own thoughts, the Lord was really opening my eyes to areas of my own life and ministry where I can fall into these traps and how my definition of love is often skewed.
It's not my goal to be negative here, simply real. As a pastor, I desire to lead people into spiritual and emotional maturity-but (as the author points out) I must be at that place myself. In my next entry I will point out some common contradictions (that the author points out) that we accept in our leaders today. God Bless.