In the footer of this blog, there are a series of quotes that have helped to shape our spiritual journey. One of them is from A.W. Tozer, and he says,
“Most Christians are satisfied living as common Christians, without an insatiable hunger for the deeper things of God.”
I remember, as a young man in my teens, sitting in a pew at church thinking, “There’s no way I’m gonna just sit out here. I’ve got to be behind the scenes and up there.” What in the world did I mean by that? For starters, “up there” referred to the chancel area where the choir and pastor sat. “Up there” was all I knew there was to be able to participate in church. “Up there” meant I got to do something besides just sitting in a pew letting others tell me about God. “Up there” meant I either got to sing for God, read scripture for God, or better yet, preach for God. “Up there” was my limited knowledge of the world of Christian service. “Up there” meant that I didn’t have to be a “common Christian”. For me, in my teenage mind, “up there” was where “the deeper things of God” were.
Now, before I go any further with my thoughts and experiences, let me clarify something. I am in NO WAY insinuating that those dear saints sitting in the pews are all merely “common Christians”. I know many saints who aren’t pastors, worship leaders, or any other form of church clergy and/or leadership who are hungry for the deeper things of God. I, myself, before stepping out of the religious institutional system, was not in any form of Christian leadership. I was a pew-dweller, and I was hungry for the deeper things of God. Please allow me to develop the evolution of my spiritual thinking. Then, you can be offended at the end. 😉
So, in my desire for “up there”, I “surrendered to the ministry”. You know, I gave my life over to God for His service. I wanted to be a pastor/minister. I started teaching Sunday School, I became a Youth Ministry Intern, I sought to be discipled by more mature Christian men. For me, the deeper things of God meant that I had to be in some form of Christian ministry or leadership. Boy was I wrong on so many levels.
The ony level I desire to address here is this: I didn’t understand the priesthood of believers.
“And y’all are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, y’all are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, y’all offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.” ~ 1 Peter 2:5 (New Living Texas Translation)
In God’s spiritual temple/house, all are His priests, not just those in “leadership”.
“But y’all are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that y’all may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called y’all out of darkness into His marvelous light…” ~ 1 Peter 2:9 (New Texas American Standard Bible)
When believers are built together into God’s spiritual house, they all function in equally important roles. And, in my experience, those roles will transfer from believer to believer at any given time. In other words, I may function pastorally for a season, then someone else will. I may function as an apostolic worker for a season, then someone else will. At the same time, I’m not the only one functioning in this capacity in this season. There may or may not be multiple saints functioning in the same capacity at the same time. And, a season, as I call it, may only last for one meeting, or one day, or one specific event. The trick is learning to abide in the vine that is Jesus Christ, and letting Him direct His body as the Head.
What I’ve seen, is that we try to take each role/capacity/function, and turn them into fulltime ministries where only a few get to act in such roles, and no one else does. In other words, we have only one or two pastors, one or two evangelists, one or two prophets, one or two blah, blah, blahs, and only those few function in that capacity. If you want to function in that role, then you need to start your own church. This only leads to thousands upon thousands of divisions in the Body of Christ, aka denominations (or several different churches of the same denomination in the same city).
The Body of Christ, the expression of God’s nature, isn’t this way. All are members of One Body. All function together. All are fully capable of functioning in any way, shape, or form that He desires. He is the Head. We are the Body.
Back to my original thought. My limited understanding told me that to hunger for the deeper things of God meant that I needed to be in Christian leadership. My expanded understanding tells me that isn’t so. All function in Christ. I wanted to function, and now I get to function as much as He would have me. Now I have to learn when not to over-function and when not to under-function. Again, that comes from abiding in the Vine.
I didn’t want to be a “common Christian.” I’ve learned that in Christ, to go on spiritually with and in Him, there is no such thing as a common Christian. We are all called to be priests unto Him.
Do you have an insatiable hunger for the deeper things of God? Or are you satisfied living as a common Christian? I encourage you to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” He is the true bread of life, the true manna from heaven, and He won’t disappoint.
To explore more of the deeper things of God, I invite you to check out the blog of my friend and brother in Christ, Frank Viola. He has written, spoken, and breathed more on this topic than I ever care to delve into here. The Lord has given this brother a beautiful revelation of these deeper things. Enjoy!