Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Five Percent

The 5%.
In your church there is a 5%. It might even be you. It might even be me. This 5% are especially gifted by God to be able to see the shortcomings and flaws in other people, programs, music, structures etc. They are almost always ‘concerned’. They don’t gossip but they do share their ‘concerns’ amongst themselves. They continually see the slippery slope which the their local church is about to descend into relaxed attitudes, fun, humour, social engagement or (dare i say it) generosity.
Their gifting often includes the ability to find the seat at the back at the room, to not be accountable to anyone in the life of the church, to not be in submission to any form of leadership, and to get someone else to shoot their bullets for them. Because after all, sniping at Christians is what makes the 5% feel in control (or safe or secure or stable or lots of other words which can substituted on occasion for control).

Wait… did I say this gifting was from God? Oops. That’s not right.

Although that’s how things look when you’re on the inside of the 5%, when you feel righteous indignation to stand up and defend everyone else who’s not actually perturbed, this gifting is not to be found in scripture.

There is certainly a warning the Holy Ghost gives when His people are leaving Him for other gods or are mixing other gods together with Him. But this cutting prophetic edge almost always addresses the misrepresentation of God by His people through exploitation of the needy instead of social injustice or blatant outright apostasy.

We do not find in scripture the gift of song-lyric-analysis, fashion police, church politics player, or financial hoarding.
The truth is, I think, quite simple: the devil has to use someone.

The opposite of faith in God is pride/control. It is the original sin: that we might become as gods ourselves rather than to be in our right relationship beneath God. Control is at its apex an expression of non-faith or anti-faith. I believe that this manifests in the church as the 5%. And any one of us is at risk of being part of that 5%. When we are fear driven we stop expressing faith and living faith and worshipping in faith and fellowshipping in faith and we reach out hand out to steady the Ark of God’s glory because ‘if I don’t take control everything will fall apart’. 

We let fear in so easily. Fear for our comfort. Fear for our regular nice meetings together. Fear for our financial security (which is really just fear for comfort). Fear that God won't provide. Fear that God won't ‘turn up’ in our worship. Fear that we will not be seen as respectable. Fear that we will ultimately end up like our Master, Jesus Himself.

Faith does not mind if we live like Jesus and are treated like Jesus and end up like Jesus. But if we are driven by the goal of being gods ourselves then we mind a lot. Fear expresses itself through our false divinity. We are not prepared to become as nothing, like He did. We are not prepared to be humiliated and disrespected. We are not prepared to be uncomfortable. We are, quite simply, fractured broken finite vessels playing at being the Goldsmith Himself. This is the spirit of the 5%.

The original lie, that God is not good, still burns inside of us and if we let it flare up, if we let the enemy’s lie start to resound in us we ourselves become the voice of the accuser: ‘I’ll take control, just in case God doesn’t come through’ or ‘This is making me feel uncomfortable, I shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable’ or ‘This person is not the kind I want, I’ll make them into my image’. These are all facets of our broken drive toward self-exaltation.

If someone (even you, even me) wants to live in fear, you can’t stop them. If someone wants to continually express non-faith in Jesus’ goodness, then that’s actually up to them to decide. If someone wants to sit in church and nitpick at everything which does not appeal to their own tastes or opinions, then you cannot stop them and if you try then you can easily burn yourself out. The blessing is that it’s not 50% it’s only 5% (though they will tell you that they represent 75%+). 

Expect a fight though. If you decide to walk more closely with Jesus in faith, not fear, the 5% (even you, even me) will always always feel left behind or spiritually inferior and the enemy will use that to fuel their antagonism and negativity. If the enemy wants to attack the church he has to use someone. Don’t be part of the 5%. If you’re a pastor, don’t allow the non-faith of the 5% to become your focus. Actually be prepared to leave them behind without pandering to their pride. Seek Jesus. He is worthy of all Honour. He is worthy of all praise and glory and adoration. He is more beautiful and more wonderful and more magnificent than any and all of creation. He is bigger than the 5%.