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    We are taught and strongly encouraged to obey all authority and specifically spiritual authority. We are called by scripture to honor those who have the rule over us. Those who have spiritual oversight are also called not to "lord" over God's people. However, this "lording over" does occur as men are tempted to impose their own will over those they have charge over.

    The difficulty is in deciding when we should or should not obey them. This is an issue rarely spoken of in the church and mostly for good reason. The bible teaches us that the heart is an unruly evil, desperately wicked and that no one can know the heart. We are taught to not trust our own heart because that heart has been trained from its youth to please itself first and not obey God. Only a heart completely submitted to God's authority can be trusted. It is on this premise that many spiritual leaders have abused their authority over the years.

    Such events in recent church history tend to reinforce this concern such as what has become known as the "Hyper-Eldership or Hyper Shepherding Movement". In this movement, what started by the Holy Spirit, quickly degenerated to man trying to accomplish God's will through his own strength. In doing so, many were forced to "obey" their leaders because these leaders were "infallible" in hearing God for them. I am not saying that God did not love these leaders. It was the lack of maturity found in their midst that gave rise to much pride and arrogance in their perspectives.

    Thinking they were exalting God, they were actually exalting themselves and their ministries above God. God has never given it to man to direct another man's path. This was given only to Holy Spirit. We are never called and directed by God's Spirit to control another person's life or destiny. Our job, as leaders, is to point the way to the truth with the ultimate decision of believing in and following that truth left up to those who have ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying. Each one is responsible for themselves in both HOW they hear and WHAT they choose to hear. The responsibility of chastisement belongs to the Father only.
    Hebrews 12:6 (NKJV)
    For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
    And scourges every son whom He receives.”
    Seeing as how this is the truth, then how are we to deal with a situation where an acknowledged leader imposes their own will upon those with whom he/she has oversight? If I am told by a leader to do something against my will or even against what the Spirit of the Lord has already instructed me to do, where this leader says they too heard the Spirit of God to tell me to do something contrary what Holy Spirit told me to do...what do I do? Do I obey the leader on the basis that he or she has spiritual oversight or authority or do I refuse to obey them because I received instructions from Holy Spirit to the contrary. Refusing the leader's directives may mean a choice of continuing in that church or perhaps, being forced out. This is not an easy decision. For something like this, we need divine guidance. We need help from the scriptures. There are examples with which we can draw from.

    A important one can be found in 1 Kings chapter 13...
    1 Kings 13:7-10 (NKJV)
    Then the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.”
    8 But the man of God said to the king, “If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. 9 For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came. ’” 10 So he went another way and did not return by the way he came to Bethel.

    1 Kings 13:11-24 (NKJV)

    Death of the Man of God
    11 Now an old prophet dwelt in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel; they also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king. 12 And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” For his sons had seen which way the man of God went who came from Judah. 13 Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it, 14 and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. Then he said to him, “ Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”
    And he said, “I am.”
    15 Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.”
    16 And he said, “I cannot return with you nor go in with you; neither can I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place. 17 For I have been told by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came. ’”
    18 He said to him, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water. ’” (He was lying to him.)
    19 So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water.
    20 Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back; 21 and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord:‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, 22 but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers. ’”
    23 So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse.
    In this story, God gave this young prophet very specific instructions. When the older prophet heard of how God used this young prophet, he lied to the younger prophet by telling him that an angel gave him other instructions, in direct opposition to what this young prophet received from God Himself. It was a grievous error that young prophet made in heeding the voice of this other prophet. This was due to a very critical factor, the younger prophet's lack of experience in that he failed to understand the chain of God's authority. If God had used the old prophet to give the younger prophet instructions, then it would have been right to receive the altered instructions by him as well. But God had spoken to the young prophet directly, which meant that the only changes should come from God Himself and not through an intermediary. This grave error cost the young prophet his life. A hard lesson indeed.

    The lesson for us today should be obvious. If God, through Holy Spirit, has given you directions, do not, under any circumstances, receive alterations to those instructions from anyone other than matter who that other person may be. Had God chosen to use that church leader to give you instructions, then any changes will also be given by that same authority. Should any leader insist that you obey them when it is clear that God had not instructed you by them but by Himself, directly, then you are NOT to obey this leader, no matter the consequences. You are not to be disrespectful or rude in any way when responding to them. Politely refuse and leave the consequences to God. We can see the examples given to us by those disciples in the book of Acts who refused to not preach in Jesus' name. They were imprisoned. They were beaten. They were stoned to death. They were all justified by God and have received their crowns of life. Understand, any suffering we receive for our obedience to God will be rewarded. We must count our lives here on earth, as nothing, if we are to follow Jesus wherever He leads us. It is a small price to pay when we consider what Jesus paid for us.

    Be careful and fear God. Do not claim God told you something if He had not. Understand, liars will not enter into heaven. Be certain that God has indeed instructed you before you stand against ANY authority, whether in the church or outside the church. To presume upon God for your own defense is to assure your own guilt and punishment, for He will not have patience on those who lightly esteem Him and His Holiness. So walk in the fear of the Lord. Know His voice and obey Him at all cost.

    Jerry Sundberg

    Soon after I received the Lord in 1976, I started receiving prophetic visions and warnings about the future of the church and the United States. I share my visions on my Hidden Manna websites and offer free of charge my two ebooks entitled “Hidden Manna” and “Hidden Manna 2”.

    Website: Hidden Manna

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    Item Reviewed: WHEN OBEDIENCE CAN BE DEADLY Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jerry Sundberg
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