Innocently enough, he was the first moving object these cute little critters first saw. At first, as they followed him around his yard in Spokane, Wash., it was fun, but by the end of the day, he picked up on the pattern. These little guys thought he was their “Mama” for real. Where he walked, they walked. When he drank from the hose, they, too, wanted to drink from the hose. At the end of each night, he would go into the house, and they would sleep on the steps, just waiting for him to emerge the next morning for another day of following him around the yard.
Within a week, the story came to a screeching halt.
It takes significant “unteaching” for us to shake off imbalanced influences we received early on as new believers.
It’s much like a first kiss. That kiss, as awkward as it may have been, will stand out in our minds as the one by which all other kisses will be compared to in our minds.
No wonder Paul wrote to Pastor Timothy, “Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted!” (1 Tim. 4:16 The Message) There is enormous power in the influence that comes through teachers who stand before a crowd on a weekend who have communication gifts. They/you sound believable! God’s Spirit is resting upon you, even if you may not be presenting everything in perfect balance (who is?) The issue isn’t whether we are teaching something false, of course; it’s a question of “Are we adequately challenging our people?”
Watchman Nee penned a powerful book from behind bars in China 50 years ago. I love the title – The Normal Christian Life. It is vital that we all define as clear as a bell, “What is normal here?”
May I suggest a couple of things that are universal for all Christ-followers?
You teach this consistently, and you will change the atmosphere of your church. Growth will follow – I’ve seen it in the 600 churches I have coached in the past few years. 85% of them began to move from being either plateaued or shrinking to growing within 90 days by changing their teaching/definition.
1. Love-based lives – growing that way each week more and more. Not fear-based living.