It goes without saying that many of us have a difficult time grasping the things of YHVH, especially when we first transition into our Faith Community. It’s one thing to decide to give up pork and shell fish and to start worshiping on Sabbaths as opposed to Sundays. But once we fully make that transition into the Faith, we begin accumulating more questions about our newly found Faith than we are ever able to find answers to.
Thus, many of us struggle:
- In our understanding of how we are to properly walk out this Faith.
- In our understanding of how to properly apply Torah to our day-to-day lives.
- In our understanding of keeping Torah in accordance with the example and teachings given to us by Yeshua our Master (e.g., how does grace truly fit in with Torah-keeping? Why does Paul seem to teach in his writings that Torah was done away with? Do I circumcise my son(s)? How do I properly keep the Feasts and the weekly Sabbath? Am I doing this Hebrew Roots/Messianic thing right?
- We struggle in our understanding of Father’s will for our respective lives? Are we supposed to evangelize the world/Christians/Jews? Or are we to focus all our energies on a vertical relationship with the Almighty?
- We struggle in our understanding of scripture and spiritual matters in the midst of so many conflicting teachings, both within and without our Faith Community.
Indeed, there are a variety of reasons why so many of us struggle in our understanding of the things of YHVH. When we fail to accurately understand the things of Yehovah, which I truly believe are fully embodied in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Faith, we become easy prey for the enemy. The enemy, according to Yeshua our Master, comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). It is that catastrophic failure to understand the things of our Faith that the enemy uses to side-line us and cause us to doubt; to sin; to sully our witness; to give in to that old nature that is just waiting to spring back into action and rob us of the victory we are suppose to have as Disciples of Yeshua Messiah and Children of the Most High Elohim. And it is that lack of understanding that often gets in our way of making any substantive advancement in our walk with Messiah.
Many of us find ourselves in religious and spiritual traps at various points in our journey. As a result of our lack of understanding of the things of YHVH, we find ourselves in places we have absolutely no business being in. Those places include:
- Rabbinic Judaism.
- Fringe groups such as black Israelitism and other racial and culturally exclusive groups.
- Other fringe groups that perpetuate extra-biblical doctrines and teachings designed to deter our attentions away from the teachings of Yeshua and of Torah. Such groups include: the flat-earthers; the lunar sabbatarians; the Enochian calendar followers; and so many others.
- Dubious ministries highlighting the teachings of self-serving preachers and teachers.
- Isolationism, whereby we feel no one else has Truth out there (or has Truth that will satisfy us) and we choose to go it alone and keep the Faith in isolation.
- Back in Fundamental/Traditional/Charismatic Christianity.
For those of us who are experiencing an overall lack of understanding of the things of this Faith and who are going through a particularly tough period of confusion, isolation, uncertainty, regret, resentment, and the like, there is hope and there are indeed answers to our many questions. However, we must understand that there is no true course of study; there is no true outline; there is no sanctioned protocol out there that defines how we are to walk out this Faith. Unlike most every other man-made system in existence today, Hebrew Roots/the Messianic Faith has no true prescribed walk. And many of us who come into this Faith have an extremely difficult time adapting to this seeming lack of organized way of life.
Contrary to outward appearances, our Faith is not disorganized at all. Yes, we are divided in various areas of our Faith—in our understanding of the Creator’s and Master’s revealed names; in our understanding of the Feast Days and a few others. Nevertheless, most of us realize that the general tenets of the Faith are firmly established and we practice them to the best of our understanding and ability. Consequently, it would appear that Father is fine with this current situation. I believe Father is looking to see the state of our hearts and the level of our faith and commitment to Him. This life that we’ve chosen surpasses any faith and commitment to man-made systems and religions.
The absence of an established method for walking out this Faith serves as a natural shield against the blight of religion. Religion by its very nature seeks to control its members by establishing protocols, traditions and rules that every member of that body is required to follow. We saw this very thing played out in Yeshua’s day with Rabbinic Judaism. As a religion, Judaism was foisted upon the Jewish nation. Originally developed by the so-called sages, Judaism was developed to be a wall/fence around Torah. Thus, it served to control virtually every aspect of every Jew’s life. The focus is shifted from YHVH and His commandments and instructions, to that of the religion’s instructions, traditions and protocols. It goes without saying that Father would not be pleased with this set-up.
Yeshua railed against Judaism’s control over the minds, hearts and souls of the people. He proclaimed that part of His mission was to deliver us from such systems. So it stands to reason that Master did not deliver unto us this Faith so that we would be subject to another iteration of Judaism. He came to bring us into an abundant life (John 10:10), free from religion, authoritative traditions and burdensome rules. The basis of that Faith is love: love of Father and love for our sisters and brothers. And contrary to conventional thinking, Torah was Yehovah’s love gift to fallen mankind. We, Abba’s chosen, have the sobering responsibility of demonstrating that life and love to the world through our obedience to Torah the way Master Yahoshua taught and live it.
Our chosen life is not one of man made rules, protocols and traditions, although at the core of our existence as humans, we desire to be ruled over by something or someone greater than ourselves; to be subject to something or someone greater than ourselves. It’s just that those things or persons that we look to be ruled by and subject to is not Yah.
The Apostle Paul taught that the mindset of the flesh is naturally hostile to God because it does not submit itself to Elohim’s Torah (Romans 8:7). We don’t mind being subject to the Christian Pastor or Bishop; subject to our bosses; subject to the organizations we pledge our allegiance to; subject to our spouses, our desires, our habits, our hopes and dreams, our friends and so many other things. But the things of Yah, we naturally tend to resist with every fiber of our being.
So the reason many of us struggle so in our understanding of the things of Yah—in our understanding of the Faith—has nothing to do, necessarily, with things or persons beyond our control. The reason we struggle so is because of us—our nature—our mindsets—our inability to let the former life go—and oh so many other reasons. I would have us consider just 5 of the innumerable impediments that cause us to struggle in our understanding of the Faith. In identifying those 5-reasons or impediments our understanding, if you will, I would have us consider potential solutions to overcoming those impediments.
The point in going over this rather obscure subject/topic is my desire that we as a community find freedom, restoration, peace, happiness and the greatest faith possible in our walk. If we can identify the reason for the difficulties that so many of us experience in our walk and understanding of the Faith, then just maybe we can search out and implement proper fixes to our uncertainties and confusions.
Now, this is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion on the topic. It is meant to get us on the right track to receive proper direction from Yah’s Spirit for our lives. For many of us right now, there is just too much noise that is preventing us from hearing Yah’s voice and from understanding His way of life and this Faith.
So what do you say we consider two common impediments that can get in the way of our understanding things of the Faith and of YHVH? (If you’ve not already done so, read or listen to the first installment of this two-part series: Impediments to our Understanding Things of the Faith–Part 1–Understanding the Bible.)
We Were Never Properly Discipled
Probably one of the greatest tragedies we see happen so often to new members coming into our Faith Community is that they are not discipled. Most of us transition into this Faith Community of ours—wide-eyed and bushy-tail—ready to live Torah the way Yeshua taught us—only to be left to figure this whole Torah versus Yeshua versus Christianity versus the world thing out for ourselves. Unlike Christianity, Hebrew Roots/Messianic ministries, for the most part, are not geared to disciple people coming to Faith. Most of them are in the business of delivering Truth (e.g., teaching on the Feast Days, the weekly Sabbath, and a whole host of other Messianic topics). But rarely, if at all, do we find Messianic ministries willing to devote their resources to discipling incoming members to our Faith.
Discipleship is not necessarily the same thing as delivering and receiving teachings, although part of the discipleship process must involve the giving and receiving of teachings.
Master instructed His disciples turned apostles:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19).
A disciple (in the Greek is matheteuo) is a pupil or student. A pupil or student is taught the ways of their master or teacher. There is a systematic and progressive course of training that is provided to the disciple by their master.
Yeshua systematically taught and modeled the Gospel of the Kingdom to His pupils who we’ve come to know simply as His disciples. Yahoshua systematically taught His disciples every aspect of living a life of Torah (i.e., the way Father originally meant for it to be understood and lived by His people) as well as living life in the Spirit. It was an intense time of training and preparation that culminated in the disciples being sent out and tested by Master (i.e.,. The 70). It was after Master ascended to Father that the process of discipling the nation peoples of the world became the ultimate responsibility and purpose of every disciple of Yeshua Messiah. That mandate has not changed in 2,000+-years.
Therefore, it goes without saying, that one of the top reasons so many in our Faith Community struggle in their understanding of the things of YHVH and of the Faith is that they’ve never been properly discipled. I was fortunate. When I first came in to this Faith walk, I was discipled for a short time by my brother-in-law. His guidance and instructions helped steer me in the proper direction and establish the basis upon which I was able to grow in my understanding of the Faith with minimal confusion and uncertainty. I’ve since come to realize that a great many converts to this Faith are not as fortunate as I was to have someone they trust disciple them. This is a serious problem that must somehow be remedied, more sooner than later.
Solutions to the Lack of Discipleship
It goes without saying that our Faith Community needs to assume the responsibility of discipling our newly transitioned members. When we are personally the conduit by which someone enters this Faith, it becomes our responsibility to get that individual discipled. It is irresponsible to leave that newly converted disciple to fend for themselves. The Messianic/Hebrew Roots landscape is filled with spiritual minefield and booby-traps, illusions, misinformation and false teachings and doctrines. If left alone, we stand to condemn our young to certain failure. It’s time that our community veterans step-up and provide the necessary discipleship.
Those of us who have never been properly discipled and who are still struggling in our understanding of the things of YHVH and of the Faith, must seek out competent discipleship training. We can approach responsible, doctrinally sound Messianic/Hebrew Roots ministries and ask if they have members who would help in our discipling and getting us up to where we need to be in the Faith. Or simply petition the Father to send the individual He has chosen to disciple us.
Now, it is certainly not unheard of to be discipled, I guess, by the Holy Spirit. Depending on the path that our respective journeys are taking, it is quite possible that Father will not have individuals in place to disciple us, at least not at the time we would prefer to have them at our disposal. In this case, it behooves us to give ourselves fully to the leading of the Holy Spirit, who will direct our path of discipleship.
We Don’t Have the Holy Spirit Operating in our Lives
This is the big one. I dare say that the Holy Spirit is not operating as it should or could in our Faith Community today. And part of the reason for this Holy Spirit drought, if you will, is that we tend to focus all our energies on accumulating knowledge. The other side to this is that many of us outright reject the things of the Spirit (e.g., some reject miraculous healings and other powerful manifestations of the Spirit in our lives). As a result of that rejection (or denial), we effectively cut ourselves off from revealed Truth and intervention by the Holy Spirit. We then lean to our own understanding of Scripture and the things of the Faith. We become no different than religious leaders and followers of first-century Judaism, dependent upon the traditions and rulings of the sages. We become cold and dismissive of those who we feel don’t measure up to our level of understanding. Some of us become odd-balls and outcasts in the Body of Messiah because we don’t possess the Spirit of Truth nor are we operating in the Spirit. In these cases, we are operating on our own and are distant from the Spirit of Truth.
Master promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit that is also known as the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26). The Spirit of Truth, according to Master, would guide us into all truth; unto all understanding (John 16:13).
We should realize that Master Yeshua operated 24/7 in the Spirit as it was prophesied that “the Spirit of YHVH would be upon Him;” and indeed it was (Luke 4:18; cf. Isaiah 61:1). And it was because Yeshua exclusively operated in the Spirit that He knew the Truth and was able to rightly divide and deliver that Truth like no other before or after Him (Mark 1:27; Luke 4:36).
If Yeshua operated in the Spirit 24/7, and we are supposed to conform to His image (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2), why would we even consider NOT living in the Spirit? Refusing or denying the things of the Spirit is committing spiritual suicide (Luke 12:10).
When we do not have the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Truth–operating in us, it becomes virtually impossible at times to understand the things of YHVH and of the Faith. The things of YHVH are beyond the carnal man’s ability to properly process and appreciate. The things of YHVH and of our Faith are Spirit-driven (John 4:23, 24).
Father revealed of Himself through the Prophet Isaiah:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares YHVH. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8,9; NASB).
The things of YHVH are foreign to our carnal sensibilities. Therefore, it only stands to reason that we must figure out the means by which to make sense of the things of YHVH and of the Faith.
Solutions to not Having the Holy Spirit Operating in our Lives
It goes without saying that each of us must seek the infilling and revelatory power of the Holy Spirit so that we may understand the things of YHVH and of our Faith. Otherwise, we will continue to struggle in our understanding of a great many things of the Faith.
We must get on our knees and seek the infilling of the Ruach HaKodesh. We must also resolve to walk in the power and might of the Holy Spirit. Somehow we must get over the lie that the things of the Spirit are not for Messianics/Hebrew Rooters. It’s simply not true. If our Master operated exclusively in the Spirit, and His hand-picked disciples turned apostles operated in the Spirit; and we’re told to imitate Messiah, it then becomes a “no-brainer” that we have to somehow get the Holy Spirit working full-force and perpetually in our lives. Yeah, we are going to have to, once again, die to ourselves in order to make that happen I’m afraid.
If we have not already done so, we need to be baptized and receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit sooner than later. If this has not been done or if we have no idea how we would be baptized (e.g., logistically or circumstantially) and receive the Holy Spirit, even with the laying on of hands by true disciples of Yeshua Messiah, we simply must ask and trust YHVH to make provisions for that to happen. It may not happen in our time, but it will happen, if we trust and are obedient to Him. Let us allow Father to guide us where He would have us go or to whom He would have us contact, so that we may receive the Holy Spirit. Then let us walk and operate in the power and authority of Father’s precious Holy Spirit, His Ruach HaKodesh, at all times and not grieve the workings thereof in our lives (Ephesians 4:30).