It is natural we will be attracted to those speakers and leaders whose way of looking at the world is symbiotic with our own. That is why it is wise to read from a wide variety of sources, even ones that grate our natural tendencies.
I watch and listen to a wide variety of preachers. A recent addition to my play list is John Gray. He is a passionate communicator, and brings emotion and vibrancy to a room. He is also overtly positive about our faith and loves using scriptural stories to speak into people’s lives. Recently he preached a message on David and Saul at Elevation Church conference. I really enjoyed the message. Then the critique started. One in particular got to me. It was a very well done mash up of Gray and Matt Chandler, a well known and great communicator. They perhaps unfairly (to both speakers) contrasted their views on David and Saul. In context Gray was absolutely saying that we can relate to David in that without the persecution of Saul, David would not have been the King he was. I could not speak to Chandlers context, apart from saying that in the video they used the line he did say, ‘you are not David, nor are you any of the characters in the Bible”.
Can we place ourselves into the scriptural narrative? Recently I did this with a message based around John 12. I asked the question, why type of worshipper are you? Contrasting different personality and gifting types. Lazarus the grateful worshipper, Martha the serving worshipper and Mary the extravagant worshipper. It is natural as we are human, to see and relate to the human characteristics we see in the characters in the Bible. Even Jesus. Of course I would say that is why story is so powerful, and why indeed there are so many stories of people in the Bible.
But lets take it a step further than just relating to the characters. How far can we take it? Can we be empowered like David? Can we relate to His life and apply it to ourselves? Can we in fact do the miracles of Jesus, or even pray the prayers of Elijah?
Should we put ourselves in the place of David, as John Gray suggests? Well Jesus said we should. In Matthew 12 Jesus is talking to the Pharisees about the Sabbath. He uses David and Davids interaction with the Sabbath as an illustration of how we should live our lives. Of course we relate to David, and his interaction with Saul and the lessons he learns speak to us know.
I want to go a step further even than that and highlight two scriptures. There are plenty more, but this post is getting long.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14.12 KJV)
Truly truly, I say to you. If you believe in Jesus, you will do greater works than He did. Thats hard to believe. I find that hard to believe. But then, I need the faith of a mustard seed.
This next one is a favourite and perhaps even more clear. Surely, some might say, we should not compare ourselves to an Old Testament prophet, and believe we are like them, and can see God’s power flow through us as it did through them? Because, are they not special, is it not egocentric to think this? Perhaps not.
“16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.” (James 5:16-18)
There have always been those who doubt God. There have always been those of audacious faith. Read your bible. Believe that the stories you read in your bible can be your story. Thats why you have been given it.