“Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” (2 Corinthians 1:24)
Beware of those who would seek to “have dominion over your faith.” I don’t just mean preachers or teachers, who might readily come to mind, but fellow believers, as well, who sometimes go beyond discipling or mentoring into territory reserved for the Holy Spirit. I say this not to disparage the ministry of edification to which we’re all called (Rom. 14:19); but to wean us from those who would stunt our spiritual growth by spoon-feeding us long after we should be feeding ourselves.
The importance of this is seen in the last five words of the verse: “…for by faith we stand.” The underpinning of the Christian life is faith, and if someone else has dominion over your faith, you’ll never learn to stand on your own. Instead, your faith will not really be yours at all, but theirs. Your personal convictions may either extend all the way to, or else never go beyond, theirs. And when you read the Bible it will always be through their spectacles.
Thank God for those among us who can rightfully be called “helpers of your joy,” who may nudge us spiritually and intellectually from time to time; but who rejoice more when God reveals Himself and his Word to us personally, in a new, exciting way. These are the true helpers, the “joy helpers,” if you will. The ones who desire to boost your faith, not boss it!
Don’t get your convictions from someone else’s conscience. (Rom. 14:5)