And I Will Show You a Better Way
I will instruct you and teach you in the way
which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be
as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings
include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not
come near to you. (Psalm 32:8-9 NASB95)
It’s true that God can use anything or anyone to get a message
across. Even a completely useless person can always be used as a
bad example. One can usually learn from even the worst teacher or
the most ridiculous church elder, too. I have often wondered why
God tolerates so many of these types of self-proclaimed ministries.
How come He doesn’t just zap them like Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10?
I have come to the conclusion that God lets most of the church
governments and elders continue to exist, though virtually useless for
most things, because while braying at the top of their lungs God can
still cause some good words to come out here and there. Every once
in a while someone actually benefits from even the poorest teaching or
However, the best way to learn is not by the braying
of asses, but by the whole truth of God. A congregation that seeks
to find and live His truths is one that truly loves, and one that would
love me. We need to hear the whole truth on a regular basis and
see it for ourselves in our own studies, and learn by watching the
practice of others while practicing it daily on our own. We
shouldn’t be waiting hungrily for a few scraps of truth to accidentally
fall from the lips of donkeys. We should be getting filled with
the rich nutrients of God’s Bread, His Milk and His Meat, by purposeful
teaching and practice from the whole of God’s Word. Just because
truth can be found anywhere, and just because a donkey can be made to
speak the truth, does not mean that we should be populating our
congregational government with asses.
Nor does it mean that we
should turn ourselves into a multiplex. Truth, unfortunately, is
not popular. It requires too much self-sacrifice, too much long
distance cross carrying, too much love and caring. The road is too
narrow, the way too hard, for people to be lining up and paying big
bucks just to get a peek. As a matter of fact, if our message is
really, really popular, then we should probably reexamine what we are
teaching, because something must be wrong if it appeals to that many
people. Even if it is ‘purpose driven’ or direct from Jabez
As a result, we are no longer to be children,
tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of
doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into
Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted
and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper
working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the
building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:14-16 NASB95)
encourage you to look for a congregation that teaches and practices the
whole Word of God, instead of just parts of it. Ideally, elders
should be able to live and teach God’s Word on purpose, not by
accidentally blurting out the truth in spite of his (or her) best
intentions otherwise. If he is immersed in God’s Word, living it
himself as well as preaching it to others, then, instead of braying a
lot and sometimes truth coming out, it will be the other way around.
Look for, or start if you have to, a congregation where the leadership
leads by conscious effort, guided by the eye of God in all they do.
We all make mistakes, and elders aren’t immune. That’s why we are
supposed to function as a body. When one member hurts we all hurt.
But for an elder who stays committed to the Word of God, with no
additions or subtractions, even the mistakes are a beautiful learning
and teaching tool for you, demonstrating the real and whole love of God.
Oscar Wilde once said, “True friends stab you in the front.” He
echoes the biblical thought that “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). A
person who will not speak the whole truth of God to you, even if it
hurts sometimes, is not your friend but an enemy.
for the braying of donkeys, but insist on all of the sweet words of our
Messiah. The whole enchilada; all the marbles; the whole shootin’
match; the works; the whole kit and caboodle; the entire Word of our
God. Learn on purpose, not on accident. Don’t stop at an
ear-tickling multiplex; move on to a place or create one where you’ll be
challenged and grow in intimacy with your God. Where there is too
much braying, there is not enough caring or love. Life is way too
short to be sitting through a tirade of hee-hawing, gleaning a few
meager words of truth here and there, slowly wasting away through
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth
each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
(Ephesians 4:25 NASB95)
Even if you want to stay where you are,
fill yourself with all of the Words of God, diligently practicing them,
and don’t sit there meeting after meeting allowing the asses to have the
last word. Ask questions. Just because they are in
leadership doesn’t make them right. Require them to explain their
braying, and give you references. Look up the references they give
you, and be prepared to dig in and really work at understanding.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for
because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of
disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were
formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children
of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and
righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
(Ephesians 5:6-10 NASB95)
I don’t mean that you only have asses
for leaders, or that you should question or argue just for the sake of
arguing. Just don’t take what the elders say lying down, hoping
against hope that meaningful truth will pop out. And I also don’t
mean that a mega-church is necessarily bad just because it is big.
But if you are not hearing the whole Word of God where you are, even if
you are learning a little here and there anyway, then go somewhere else.
Shoot, go to the multiplex movie theater instead. It’s more fun,
the donkeys there speak occasional truth as well, and you get popcorn
and coke as a bonus.
Beloved, do not believe
every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1
I echo the sentiment above by saying, beloved, to test the spirits
where you are. If your elders are braying, for instance, that part
of God’s wonderful Word is ‘old’ and that it doesn’t apply anymore; or
if they say that part of His Word is for Jews only and other parts are
for everyone else; if they concentrate too much on cultural or genetic
differences or number of houses instead of the single-mindedness of the
Christ; if they say that Israel has been replaced by the ‘church,’ and
take the blessings for themselves while leaving the curses for Israel
(Balaam’s folly); then they are adding or subtracting which God tells us
is a no-no.
“Whatever I command you, you shall
be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it."
(Deuteronomy 12:32 NASB95, see also Deuteronomy 4:2)
If an elder says that His bread is ‘death;’ if he tells you that
being ‘anti-tradition’ is the same as being ‘anti-God’s Word;’ if you
ask questions and don’t get answers on a regular basis; if he says
‘touch not the Lord’s anointed’ because you tell him his message can’t
be found in the Word, for your own benefit you need to get away from
him. If they say “we minister in a certain way, and if you aren’t
being ministered to then you need to find a place where you are” then
believe them. If they can’t give Scriptural answers for the
questions you ask; if they spiritualize the Word into practical
oblivion; if they fail to give practical guidance from the Word for
daily living; if they don’t practice what they know is the truth;
then don’t listen to them, no matter how entertaining
the message or how many screens it is playing on. If you aren’t
getting the whole Word of God, which is how real caring and love is
given, then move on to another group, or start your own. Better to
experience the difficulties of pursuing righteousness for a season than
to slowly decay in the warmth of our comfort zones for a lifetime.
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not
speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (Isaiah
Unfortunately, Balaam did not listen to God and tried to curse the
Israelites anyway. Money turned his head and he took a different
path. And, just as God turned a donkey’s braying into words of
truth, so also He turned the braying of Balaam into words of blessing.
Many in our day have also turned their heads towards money, and attempt
to add or subtract to or from the whole of God’s Word. They will
not do specifically and only what God tells us to do. God changes
the message so truth still comes out, but it is better to seek truth
from the source than to learn from a donkey. May our Father bless
you and your family as you seek to do His Will, forsaking the pleasures
of the world or the ear-tickling sermons of the mega-plex, I mean the
multi-church, I mean, oh whatever, to follow Him no matter what the