[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″]Many years ago, when I was a young pastor I gave an altar call where a man who was visiting our church responded and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I did not know the man personally prior to this service, but after he prayed to receive the Lord his face was beaming, and he had the broadest smile on his face. It was awesome to see.[/x_custom_headline]
In the weeks that followed he faithfully attended every church service with his family. He brought his Bible, took notes, paid his tithes and gave offerings, and overall began to get involved in the church. His spiritual growth was evident. He loved the Lord and had a zeal for His House and His Word.
Then about six months after his salvation experience, his wife called me at the church office. She was very worked up and extremely disrespectful. She began in a very loud voice to accuse me of being a false minister and lying about her husband’s salvation. She said, “When he went forward to get saved, he never even shed a single tear.”
I tried to explain to her that everyone responds differently, but there were certainly no Scriptures that required a person to shed tears when they prayed the prayer of salvation. Well that heated her up even more. She said, “When I got saved, I cried and cried and cried.” “In fact,” she said, “I cried and begged God to save me for three days before I got saved.” Then she went on to say, “My husband did not get saved by simply praying that prayer with you. He did not get saved and he is not saved now.”
I began to ask her about her husband’s lifestyle. I asked, “Does he read his Bible at home now?” She said yes. I then asked her, “Did he do that before he prayed the prayer with me?” She answered no. I then asked any number of other questions related to his lifestyle changes that were more than obvious since he had prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord. But she would have none of it.
She let me know in no uncertain terms that all the changes that were occurring in his life were nothing but superficial because he really wasn’t saved. And he really wasn’t saved because he didn’t cry and beg God to save him. And I was a false minister because I didn’t lead him (or anyone else for that matter), in crying and begging for hours and days on end to get him saved.
The point is, her personal experience, which was unscriptural to begin with, was all the mattered to her. She didn’t care what the Bible said. She knew what she experienced and that if anyone else didn’t experience the same things they weren’t really saved either.
How sad. This woman browbeat her husband until he quit the church and quit service God altogether. The last I heard about this man he was smoking and drinking again and back into the world. All because his foolish wife determined to put her personal experiences above the written Word of God.
[x_blockquote cite=”Hebrews 13:7-9 KJV” type=”left”]“7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.”[/x_blockquote]
One of the easiest ways to get back into being religious is to follow after experiences, instead of the Word of God. Those who do this begin to set the standards for Christianity based upon their own individual experiences. And this always leads Christians into error, sin and compromise.
Since you cannot separate Jesus and the Word of God, (see John 1:14), His Word must be the most important thing in every local church and in every Christian’s life. It must be exalted above anyone’s vision, dream or spiritual experience.
[highlight]Kenneth Hagin used to say that many ministries fail because they build their ministry on the personal experiences, or on the Gifts of the Spirit alone. He said ministry must be built on the Word of God.[/highlight]
Obviously, this is also true with the individual Christian life. You cannot build it on experiences alone. Focus on the Word of God and make it a part of your daily life, because your experiences, good or bad, do not trump the Word of God.