by Barry Newton
We might be justified in bristling at the thought of our ministry for God being labeled as lethally dangerous.
And yet, as distasteful a subject as this is, Paul reveals that God evaluates ministry with various levels of quality including the ominous category of destructive. How can we protect ourselves against participating in a poisoned apple?
Just as people normally reject food which is obviously dangerous, we should not expect people who are striving to serve Christ to intentionally wander down a path obviously plagued by disobedience.
So what makes poisonous fruit attractive? What can fool those desiring to serve God to enthusiastically disobey him? Here’s a couple of possibilities:
If we only obey those aspects of God’s word which do not grate upon our sensibilities, or we only follow what makes sense to us, danger looms. While people can proclaim God’s superiority all day long, if they only obey what makes sense to them, or to their religious group, then in reality they deny his greatness.
Obedience is reduced to simply being in agreement with God when the transforming message of scripture becomes controlled or dulled by such language as: “I don’t see why we must do it that way.”
Second, disobedience is ripe where like-minded disciples further their teachings and practices by succumbing to inbred, blind, self-reinforcement.
The voice that the group hears is merely their own. God’s word becomes so filtered and humanly processed, that it will not bear God’s intended fruit.
The question is: will God judge our discipleship and teaching as being like valuable gold, combustible wood or dangerous poison?
Jesus’ followers need to ensure their eyes are wide open to whether God would describe their service as dutiful or dangerous.
by Barry Newton