Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Love and Sacrifice

I awoke this morning with a fragment of a dream in my head. I got up and went into our den. It was around 3:30 a.m. or so.

I knelt down in front of our sofa and started to pray about what I had seen and it began to unfold for me.

Whether it was a dream, or a vision, or just an idea that was playing itself out in my head visually, I'm not sure, but this is what I saw:

I walked into a convenience store. It was night time. There was a man standing in the middle of the store with a mask over his head. He was holding a gun and pointing it at the store clerk.

When the man with the gun saw me walk in, he turned and pointed the gun at my head. He pressed the barrel to my forehead. I heard him cock the hammer on the weapon with his thumb. It made a loud "click".

Then the man spoke to me these words: "Give me the password to your blog our I'll kill you."

My reaction was about the same as yours: Huh?

But the more I meditated on this the more I understood what it was all about.

I have seen it happen more than once in my lifetime. There are some who get a taste of fame and develop a large following on their blog, or through their podcast, and they start to neglect their family - their wife, their children - in favor of nurturing that "ministry."

It can be very difficult to realize that you're sacrificing your family for your own selfish ego, especially if you couple all of that with a "brand new revelation from God" that you - and you alone - seem to have a finger on.

Honestly, I have known many people who are willing to sacrifice their marriage for their fanbase.

Oh, trust me, they would never put it in those words. Never.

But they would say that their wife just doesn't see the vision, or that the Enemy is attacking them because they alone can see the Truth, or something along those lines.

Let me say, here and now: My wife is more important to me than my blog. I would never allow my podcast, or my pursuit of more "likes" and "shares" and "comments" to overshadow my family, or my marriage.

At least, I sincerely hope I wouldn't.

Honestly, I can understand how this happens. Last year I wrote a blog post about the "Blood Moon Hoax". On a normal blog post I may get a few hundred hits in a week or two. But in that case I got about 10,000 hits - in a single week.

So, what did I do? I wrote another post about the End Times. Why? Because, obviously, this was a topic that a LOT of people were interested in.

Then, I did a podcast about it. And then I did another blog post about the book of Revelation.

Why did I do all of that? Because I got addicted to all those crazy hits, and "likes" and "follows".

But then I realized that writing about those topics isn't what God had called me to do. It had become all about pleasing an audience rather than writing what was really at the core of my own personal calling and convictions.

So, I can understand how sometimes people can get blinded by all of that and lose perspective.

If people were sending me thousands of dollars to support my ministry, and flying me around the country to speak at their conferences or church events, and cheering me on via social media and singing my praises, that would be pretty intoxicating.

And then if Wendy didn't "get it" or wanted me to stay home and spend more time with the family, I could understand how it might be easy to write her reaction off as "the Enemy's tactics" or just dismiss her lack of enthusiasm as a lack of faith.

Of course, none of that is happening to me right now. And I pray that if it ever does I am wise enough, and humble enough, to lay it all down and walk away.

I have also seen Pastors, and Evangelists, and Prophets, and Teachers neglect their children, and their marriages, for the sake of the Ministry. They see it as some great sacrifice that God requires of them because of their special calling. They consider it to be some sort of Abraham and Isaac scenario where God is testing their love and commitment to Himself by requiring them to place their family and their marriage on the back burner.

It's a lie.

God does not require us to neglect our family in order to serve Him. He does not expect us to spend hours with total strangers while we starve our own children of love and our own wives of our affection.

Our families are not a distraction from our ministry. They are a huge part of our ministry. This is why Paul says that those who cannot take care of their own households should not be considered for ministry within the Body.

Our ministry starts at home. If I can't love my wife and my children as Jesus loves the Church (and gave Himself up for it), then how can I love anyone else?

So, for the record:

This blog is not more important to me than my wife.

My podcast is not more important to me than my family.

My internet fame (such as it is) is not worth more to me than my own sons.

I would lay it all down, give it all up, in a heartbeat, to save my marriage and salvage my family.

A wise man once told me, "If the ministry won't survive without you, then it's not God's ministry, it's yours."

God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. I chose grace over pride.

Anyone willing to sacrifice their wife, or their family, for their ministry is choosing pride.

Can their fall from grace be very far behind?



NoahM said...

Very honest and insightful of you, Keith. I remind myself that God most often speaks to me through my wife.

beccamacca said...

Luke 14:25 - I commend you for your honesty and intoxication of pride - but as I read what you were saying, I was wondering about the above verse - I remember that end times as Robert read it to me and he also shares some of your podcasts with me. I don't agree with lots of things you say and I don't worship you in any way, but I can say that what you share has touched me and made me think about things and find my truth with my Father. It is important work and I hope you will continue and perhaps consider the above and also that through what you say, you are reaching out to others who may be lost sheep and for that there is no greater calling and no greater reward. Without a doubt, He does work through you. Shalom.

Keith Giles said...

Beccamacca: We have to balance the hyperbole of Jesus in Luke 14:25 with his other clear commands like "They will know that you are my disciples if you love one another."

If we are not loving one another, and that includes loving our wives and our children, then we are not obeying Jesus, are we?

If we start with loving one another, and even loving our enemies, then we can compare the way we love Jesus and say that THAT love for Him should be so much greater that - in comparison - it would almost make our love for one another look like "hate".

Jesus' statement in Luke 14:25 is hyperbole. He is overstating our absolute commitment to Him as our Lord by saying that all other loves in our life should take a back seat to our love for - and our obedience to - Him.

He follow that statement by saying that we need to take up our cross and die to ourselves. That doesn't mean we literally take a wooden cross and nail ourselves to it...right?

These are spiritual realities and metaphors used to describe just how much Jesus wants us to prioritize our commitment to Him and His teachings.

He does mean that we need to actually go around and "hate" one another.

ALSO: Who is "Robert"? I don't know who you're referring to, but I'm thankful that you've been listening to some of my podcasts.

Glad you're also not automatically agreeing with everything I say. Test everything by the Word of God and the Spirit!

Thanks for the comments.

the alternative1 said...

Yea you would be crazy to abandon your wife for my sake so keep on expressing your thoughts on this blog and don't worry about who follows you just love your wife and let The Lord bless us with what you say and every thing will be just fine...I will be praying for you and your family

Brandon Chase said...

Such a good word, friend. Love you.

Vivek Jones said...

I highly appreciate this piece. It has spoken to my inner being. Thanks brother for the raw honesty.