Vol.XI No.V Pg.3
July 1974

Bigger Than God

Dan S. Shipley

Nothing in this world is more important to our well-being in the next than having a right relationship with God. Getting right with God is the supreme and urgent need of every sinner and staying right with God is the most pressing need of every saint. Accordingly, whatever is allowed to come between one and his right relationship with God is extremely serious and needs to be recognized and treated accordingly. In terms of influence, that which hinders a man in serving God becomes —bigger than God Himself. When that hindrance is attributable to people it can only mean that certain individuals exert even a greater influence than God. Whether out of regard for man or a reaction against man, none is bigger than he who is allowed to come between one and his being right with .God.

Take, for instance, the kind of allegiance to parents that hinders some in obeying the -~gospel. When honoring them becomes more important than honoring God and when loyalty to them means disloyalty to the Lord, then they are made bigger and more important than God Himself. It is not often that a choice has to be made between following God or parents, but when it does God says, he that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me (Matt. 10:37). No living and loving parent would ever think of coming between his child and God. Those who would allow a deceased parent to do so dishonor both God and parent. Any person, parent or otherwise, whose favor is more coveted than Gods and who is able to influence more than God has to be the worlds biggest man.

But such bigness may be accorded to enemies as well as kinsmen and friends. Such is the case when sinner or saint allows his personal feelings toward certain Christians to hinder his serving the Lord. I-low many non-Christians have blamed their plight on the hypocrite in the church? Without realizing it, they actually compliment the hypocrite by allowing him to have more influence on what they do and become than God. They even allow the hypocrite to determine where they will spend eternity! No hypocrite deserves such influence!

Neither does the preacher or other Christian who is allowed to become a hindrance to ones following Christ. Not a few have quit the church over misunderstandings and conflicts with the brethren. Others have compromised their convictions and gone into liberalism over similar personal differences and feelings of being mistreated. Are our ties with God and truth so fragile and unimportant? Getting away from men must never be at the price of leaving God and truth, yet spite and pride have become the seed of apostasy for many a disgruntled brother. Its as though Jesus had not said, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you (Lk. 6:27,28) or had not instructed us concerning sins between brethren (Matt. 18:15-17). Allowing any man, whether friend or foe, to come between me and God is to make him bigger than he should be and is to acknowledge him as being more influential than God. May God save us from such big men and from the attitudes that make them big.