* Be sure to read Part 1 to understand where this picks up.
Fear of the Unknown. This is why those who have tasted and seen must share what we have found! How will others know of this lifestyle of daily intimacy with the LORD if those who are living it do not inform others that it is real? Of course it is scary to venture out into unknown waters! When my wife and I stopped attending services each week, I didn't know what to do with myself. I felt guilty. I felt like I was doing something wrong. I thought that I would spiritually die. After all, this is what had been drilled into me my entire life! But, my response is what determined my result! I chose to cling closer to my Father than I ever had. I chose to study who I am in Christ. I chose to surround myself with a handful of others who I trusted and knew were seeking the LORD. What I found was that I grew more spiritually in one year of this environment than I did in thirty-plus years of "church attendance" (and yes, sadly, this even includes my few years of being a youth pastor). Without the support of others who were on this journey with me and most importantly, the LORD honoring my willingness to embark into the unknown, I would not have made it. Fear is a powerful tool of religion, but it is a lie. The LORD has not given us a spirit of fear! One cannot excuse away the shackles of bondage if the key to their freedom is in their very own hands.
Fear of Rejection. The fear of rejection is likely even more powerful than the fear of the unknown. Imagine paring venturing into the unknown with doing so alone! No one likes to go it alone all of the time. Even I, who doesn't mind independence whatsoever, greatly desire to fellowship with others who are hearing what the LORD is speaking. It is a necessary component for spiritual growth, without question. The Body is a unified Body made up of parts, functions and gifts. Oddly, weekly acquaintances have given masses of Christians the false feeling of acceptance and Body life. It is a poor impersonation of what the true Body is to be. In order to stand up and question what the majority embraces as truth, one must determine whether or not they're ready to be rejected. For me, one question sums it all up - is what I believe so valuable and true that I'm willing to be rejected and ostracized for it? If what one embraces as truth can be laid down in order to be accepted and approved by men, it has no real importance to them in the first place. While I don't desire to be labeled a heretic, I'm learning to stand tall despite opposition or ridicule. One must be determined to stand up and cling to what the LORD defines as acceptable, even if it labels you as an outcast.
The truth of the matter is this - most will continue to follow the masses. Most will stay within the walls of the positional church and just do whatever they are told. It is easy. It is simple. Following the cloud takes great faith. It takes a pioneering spirit. It takes a willingness to go where few others are going. The Word prophesies that many will be led astray and not even know it. Many will just follow the masses, assuming they know the way. I understand this, yet my cry will remain the same - will you dare to look and see? Will you follow the quiet call of the LORD over the loud cries of men? Will you at least walk outside of the gates and see what awaits you there?
What great treasure was ever found by a prospector who never unearthed any dirt? What lands were ever discovered by an explorer who remained in his own homeland? What invention was ever created by one who never dared to do what no one else had done before? Is it not the same in the spiritual? Venture out! Dare to believe that there is more! Leave the crowd and follow the cloud my friend! No words could ever express what beauty, purpose, joy, anticipation, and life awaits you there! You can do it, if you are willing to study and leave ignorance behind, abandoning the errant teachings of days gone by. You can do it, if you lay aside your personal objections to the idea and seek to understand what true Christianity looks like. You can do it, if you can leave the comfort zones of conformity and embark into new territories, relying on the LORD for strength. You can do it, if you can journey into the unknown, daring to believe that there is more out there than what you've known. You can do it, if you lay down your fear of rejection and your desire to please men above the LORD. You can do it! Ask the LORD what He would speak to you on this matter. Study His Word and know why you believe what you do. Unplug from the things of this world and envelope yourself in what strengthens your inner man! Now is the time. Tomorrow is almost here and will soon be gone itself. Seek the LORD while He may be found. Will you dare to venture out my friend? Will you leave the crowd and follow the cloud?