Friday, July 17, 2009

"Believing all the lies to keep the dream alive"

I spend so much time
Believing all the lies
To keep the dream alive
Those are lyrics from a song from the 80's by Billy Idol, Eyes Without A Face. I'm intentionally ripping those lyrics out of the context of the song because they speak to me in another context that others will probably relate to in one way or another.

In this case the lies I'm thinking about are those of legalism and religion and the 'dream' I'm referring to, whether consciously realized or not, is the delusional and fruitless fantasy of self-preservation. I'm thinking of the lies that are preached and taught - and believed - to keep the dream alive of having people remain allegiant to any given church or ministry. Those who preach these lies end up believing them themselves, and it's all rooted in the protection and preservation of "their" ministry, "their" church, "their" institution, "their" cause. Manipulative lies are taught about "tithing, "hierarchy," "covering," "church membership," "behavior modification" (performance-based acceptance), etc, in order to keep the masses loyal to a certain leader or ministry.

Two thousand years ago, the Pharisees were a prime example of this, being hard nosed about keeping people strictly under God's law, and even adding myriads of additional rules, laws, interpretations and traditions on top of it all. And of course during the past 20 centuries, this has moved into the church setting. I fully understand that sometimes these legalistic lies are taught because the teachers and preachers honestly don't know any better, and are simply teaching what they themselves have been taught. But I'm talking about those who are caught in the very tangled web of self-interest and self-preservation, who purposely teach manipulative lies in order to "keep the dream alive," with the dream being the success and growth of whatever system or institution they've created and built.

This is also true in many other areas of life, such as in household situations and other family matters and relationships, finances, jobs and vocations, social activities and so on. Whatever the case, the pursuit of self-preservation is very often the root of the legalistic and religious lies that keep people in bondage and keep them from experiencing the freedom for which Christ has set them free.

Not one to remain stuck only on criticism of the system, I offer up a solution or two to all of this, and I look for input from others as well! My main focus would be to keep on remembering that we were bought with a price, and that we are not "our own." Our "ministries" are not our ministries. They are the work that God Himself is doing in and through us for the good of everyone, not for our own individual self-preservation and self-centered success and prosperity. God didn't "purchase" us so that He could keep us in chains but so that we'd be free! This is also our "ministry" to one another. It's not about building "a ministry." It's not about coming up with ways (lies and manipulation) to keep people faithful to US so that OUR dreams stay alive. It's about building one another up (edifying) and ministering to (serving) one another!

Any thoughts? (including additional criticisms, solutions)?



  1. Joel,

    Very perceptive.

    Far better to let a dream die than to keep it going by perpetuating lies.

    Such dreams are like the storefronts on an old Western movie set. You walk through the door and see that it's just an open field with support lumber holding up an illusion.

    If you let in the truth that sets free, the "dream" may die, but the resulting seed that falls to the ground may sprout a real dream, supported by truth.

  2. Terry,

    I like your image of the movie set. Many dreams, such as the ones I was referring to here, are only illusions. Whether it be controlling others or using them for our own ministry aspirations, or in relationships or job settings, etc, letting go of the lies and manipulations that we're using to prop ourselves up truly can be the beginning of planting the true seeds of true God-given dreams and desires.

  3. Has Tracy broken you yet of leaving the ice cube trays on the tv set ???

  4. Yes but she hasn't broken me of my love for hair metal. :)

  5. Thanks for the giggles bro.

  6. Joel - Man! I wish all the ministers in the world can think like you do. :)

    However, I think many people start out in ministry with a genuine heart - to see people coming to know Christ etc. But soon the system will take them over. Then their whole energy is spent on maintaining the system rather than being a vessel for God to love others.

    I agree, there is nothing called "my" ministry or "your" ministry. It has to be "His" ministry, him working through us...

  7. Thanks for the compliment, Bino. I think you're right... Many ministers and ministries begin with a pure 'vision' or desire to truly build up and edify people, but eventually the focus becomes the system instead of the people. My hope and prayer always for myself and my brother and sisters in Christ is that we are always truly people-oriented (serving and loving and building up people) and not system-oriented (serving and loving and building up our 'ministries'), and that we always see ourselves as branches on the vine, submitting ourselves to the life of the vine to flow through us day by day as He sees fit.

  8. Joel, In my short experience I have noticed that God gives the dream, but then He will cause it to come to pass. Oh man, I just think of all the time that He has given me dream and then I have rushed ahead and really screwed up!

    Yes, same with the ministries. God puts a person at the head of His ministry, but all He wants is for that person to COORDINATE what He, God is doing. Certainly a different perspective.

  9. Lennart,

    Indeed, I've come to see that God initiates and we simply respond, by His grace. He gives the dreams and desires, and like you I've noticed that I have rushed ahead at times and tried to bring them to pass, making a mess of things! And so I aim to walk in the truth and not the lies, so I'll rest in the Vine and not make it about "me" but to realize that I died, and the life I live is Him-in-me.