I HAVE HEARD people say this my whole Christian walk, “The Holy Spirit is far better at changing people than you are.” And I would most definitely tend to agree! You cannot change anyone, only the Spirit can change others. The Holy Spirit is a much better Teacher than any man that’s ever walked the face of this earth.
However, (you know there’s always a BUT), the majority of those who say this do not want to confront sin, talk about wrongdoing, or preach righteousness. They fear man more than God or say stupid things like, “it’s not loving to confront sin”. As far as I have seen, it’s a big cop out. The verse a lot of people quote is the following, “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” 1 John 2:27 Read the whole thing in context.
John was TEACHING that they needed not, nor were they to regard any human revelation and doctrine, for the whole Gospel was come by Jesus Christ, and no other doctrine but Jesus Christ and Him crucified is to be expected or received by men, nor any doctrine but what is according to that revelation of Christ. Therefore saints under the Gospel dispensation are taught of God by his Spirit, according to the Word of truth, and by the ministry of it, and have no need of learning every man from his neighbour, or from his brother, any separate REVELATION. This passage does not militate against the external ministry of the Gospel, or human teachings according to that perfect rule and declaration of the whole mind and will of God by Christ under the Gospel dispensation.
I agree that the Spirit, if one submits to His authority, will convict you of sin and lead you in the way of righteousness. He changed me, but I submitted to His instruction. However, Scripture reveals time and time again that sheep are dumb and continually revert back to old ways and follow the strays out of the boundaries set for them. Therefore, God gave the Body gifts: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,” Ephesians 4:11-14
If we don’t need to be taught and instructed, then why did God give us these beautiful gifts? If we are not to aid our brothers and sisters in changing, then why did Paul write epistles full of rebuke to the churches he planted, churches full of the Spirit and grace? The Galatians were reverting back to Judaism. The Hebrews under severe affliction and persecution were in danger of departing from the living God. The Corinthian church was a mess all around with sexual immorality and carnality. Others received rebukes for being idle and lazy. Five of the seven churches the Lord addressed in the book of Revelation were severely rebuked.
Paul placed Timothy as an overseer (pastor, shepherd) over the church in Ephesus and said to him, “Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.”2 Timothy 4:2 AMPCDoes not wisdom tell us, “Iron sharpens iron”? And “he who does not receive instruction is stupid”? David proclaimed, “Let the righteous smite me! It is a kindness”.
I would not be the person I am today had not a lady named Grace take me under her wings and shown me how to live for Christ. She directed me in prayer and fasting. She reminded me daily to read the Word of God and obey His commands. She held me accountable to being in church every time the doors were open to worship and fellowship with the saints. She instructed me in righteousness and told me when I was in sin. “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20 NKJV“Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” Proverbs 24:11-12 NKJV
Guess what? You ARE your brother’s keeper. You will answer to God for these sins of omission. No, you cannot change anyone. Only the Spirit can change a leopard’s spots, but you can aid the Spirit by helping your brother out. You are not the sin police, but you are to speak grace and truth and to be direct in our dealings with men.
Do you even care that they are heading toward destruction? Why would you be silent if the bridge is out up ahead and their brakes don’t work, “hold back those stumbling to slaughter”! Help a brother out! Yes, have patience with those who WANT to change but are just a little slow in their walk. Walk with them, guiding in love and long suffering. Also yes, wash your hands of those who do not want to change and are unwilling to receive Biblical instruction. Stop banging your head against the wall, shake the dust off your feet and move on. #runyourrace
To Learn More About Pastor Crystal please visit the Leadership Page