We can set under a preacher's teachings for so long, through church attendance, tapes, DVD's, TV, Internet, and other forms of media that the preacher/teacher becomes formed in us. This is certainly not to downgrade the ministry of the Pastor Teacher's role in our lives and the importance of the Word of God that is brought forth. it is about who is our point of focus and who is being formed into us and who are we being formed into. It was not the Apostle Paul's goal to have everyone to become like him. Although he wanted them to embrace the doctrine God had imparted to him, it was Paul's desire to see believers walk like, talk like, think like and live like the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are called to be formed into Christ and to have His life formed in us. This is part of the process of learning to abide in Christ. This will not happen overnight, or in a month, or year. It is a lifelong process that starts with us hearing the Words of our Lord. This means that sometimes we must filter the words that are spoken that are not Biblical, not spiritual, and does not align with the character of our Father. Until then we need to hear. If we wait until the one who is speaking, teaching, or preaching is fully formed in us before we listen, we will never hear anything. In other words we keep the words of our Lord until He is completely formed in us.
Galatians 4:18-19 ESV It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, (19) my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!
Romans 8:29 ESV For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
In the process of having Christ formed in us we will gain a truth of the Word of God. In our minds we may think it is the total truth concerning a passage of Scripture or a Bible figure or a topic or doctrine within the Scriptures. It may take years for us to realize that what we heard and read we were only able to understand and embrace a portion. The truth should continue to grow in us as we continue the process of abiding. The danger comes when we plant a fence around our small particle of truth and declare that we shall not be moved. The hearing of truth stops and the growing stops.
Every time I keep thinking I’m about “there” in my life I find that I go through a set of new doctrine changes, and a maturing process. I look back to who I was 15, 20, 30, or 40 years ago in Christ and today I have a hard time listening to some of the preaching and teaching I listened to back then. I have a hard time listening to myself in the teachings I gave 30 years ago, because I’ve changed so much. Yet, if asked 20 or 30 years ago I would have stated that I believed that I had it all together.
The issue in remaining in a state of abiding in Christ is to test the Spirit. Is Christ residing there on the inside and is Christ speaking or are the words I'm hearing are a small truth wrapped with the doctrines of man and religion? Is Christ moving in the my spirit or is my flesh being tickled and appeased?
If you have been with me any length of time or have heard me teach or have read anything I have written, you will occasionally hear my “old man” come through. Don’t judge the Word of God or the Holy Spirit in me on the basis of my “old man.” If we tune into the Person of the Holy Spirit, He will guide us and continually teach us and move us from faith to faith, grace to grace and glory to glory. We have no need of any man to teach us because we are sons and daughters. But God uses teachers and evangelists and prophets and apostles and pastors in the body as an avenue where by the Holy Spirit might teach us. That’s why we need to listen to the Spirit first.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSI Ministry, RSI School of Ministry, and RSI Publishing L.L.C..