The picture to the left is one I took on the way to Oklahoma a couple of weeks ago. To provide the nearby homes with power, power lines had been erected through the terrain. I thought it was interesting that man had attempted to preserve the tree by only cutting the branches off the tree that interfered with the power lines. I supposed that is how humanity believes it is saving the environment. But then I looked at the picture closer later in the day and realized something I didn't notice when I took the picture. The tree has been trimmed and cut back many times so it will not interfere with or cause the power lines to fall. As a result, the tree is no longer growing properly. The tree has become very heavy on the left side of the tree and even leans or bows slightly to the left. The tree's growth will now be stunted and/or altered for the rest of the days the tree is alive. It will not be allowed to grow as nature intends for it to grow.
It occurred to me after some thought and reflection over the weekend we spent camping in nature and seeking God, that these power lines are not unlike many of the pastors, teachers, and televangelists I mentioned in the post Equipping the Saints. The tree is not unlike the Body of Christ. False teachings, heretical teachings, the distractions from the enemy within the Body and our churches have caused many people to be incomplete in their foundational beliefs, faith, and principles. The five fold ministry (see Equipping the Saints) is designed to help prepare the people of God for the work of the ministry. With so much false teaching and many distractions in the Body of Christ, how can new believers be expected to grow as God intended?
20 - Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
21 - make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
God intends to make us complete in every good work so we can do His will. He will work into us what is pleasing in His sight through His Son. How we can be complete if man's doctrine continues to interfere with the growth and development of Kingdom Citizens? Furthermore:
2 Timothy 3:16,17
16 - All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 - that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
There must be balance in teaching. Love teaching must be balanced with the character of God that is just and righteous and a jealous God. Discipleship teaching must be balanced with the teaching that Jesus is the Head of man and God is the Head of all. Faith teaching or "Name it and Claim it" must be balanced with "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God..." We must be "thoroughly equipped" to minister to others, to share the gospel of Christ. We must be "thoroughly equipped" to minister to other saints that are broken, disillusioned, and hurting due to heretical teachings.
We are called to share the gospel to all parts of the earth. We are called to pray without ceasing. We are called to:
18 - praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.