My friend Kelsey once introduced me to her dad as her pastor, a title I both love and hate. It’s a biblical term and one that I am called to. I love pastoring and shepherding people, helping them to get disentangled from the evil that seeks to entrap them. Much to my surprise, Kelsey told me after the fact that I had a funny facial expression when she introduced me. I had no idea at the time but I do know that I have a hard time hiding the way I’m feeling so it made sense.
My knee jerk reaction when that title was publicly awarded me has some association with what our culture interprets when they hear the word “pastor”. Nine times out of ten it isn’t good. The other ten percent seems to be a title that people give one another when they have ducked out of their responsibility to walk with God as individuals and rely upon others to represent God for them.
As a whole I find it much easier to avoid titles all together and let the nature of the Spirit’s influence through our lives indicate what way we are to strengthen one another. Titles always seem to hinder that.
Today as I reflected upon this topic, I’ve found a flood of thoughts reinforcing that my awkward mug upon Kelsey’s introduction might be more Kingdom and biblical that I once knew.
We designate and know who’s who in this world’s structures and systems with titles, designations, seniority, height, weight, good looks, etc. but in the Kingdom, God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He desires that no one be called rabbi, father, or teacher (Matthew 23:8-10). We are to hate our spouses in comparison to God (Luke 14:26). Fathers deliver sons to death and sons deliver fathers (Matthew 10:21). We are not to worry when we are delivered to the highest moral court, for the Spirit of God will give us what to say (Luke 12:11). When the disciples where challenged by Christ to tell Jesus who they thought He was, several titles where thrown around, but only when Peter said that He was “The Christ, the son of the living God” did someone get it right.
We have been called to a similar position. We have been given the right to become children of God. Son or Daughter of God is the highest title anyone could call us. Only one Person can reveal that.
For this reason we are not to fall victim to leaders of this culture and its systems. We are not to let them lord over us their “authority”. We are to serve one another in utter humility, just as Christ washed the feet of the disciples, revealing the nature of our Dad in heaven and our allegiance.
Jesus did not take the worst punishment imaginable to impart to us a new system. He died so that we would be first-hand representatives of God Himself. That we would take our robes of righteousness and allow the whole world to observe what real beauty is and kill us if they like or follow us in our simple devotion to the One God. He died so that we would smell, look, and sound like God, display miraculous acts like God, speak for God, love like God. Be like Him in His Spirit, and with His empowering endorsement.
There are no secondary children of God. There is no willful implementation of Biblical teaching that looks anything like being children of God. Being a child of God will cost you your life but you get the never-ending life of God in exchange.
I see it in most every circumstance I’m in. I feel the pull to alter the powerful spirit of sonship that abides in me to become subject to some other god. Be it a business man who sees me as a commodity, a teacher who sees me as a potential follower, or a friend who wants me to be their pastor, I reject them all because I know Jesus wants each of us to know His unending relation that surpasses ANYTHING this world could give us.
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God.” – 1 John 3
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5