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One of the most obvious evidences of spiritual growth, especially in the area of smashing one's pride, is when we see people instantly and cheerfully responding to instructions, advice, and (in some cases) direct orders. Such unity is, arguably, our most powerful testimony to the rest of the world.

But instant obedience is something that people must consciously and aggressively work at achieving. It relates heavily to the concept of "smashing your pride". In other words, you don't pussy-foot around with a rebellious spirit, waiting for it to die a natural death (which never happens). Instead, you must stamp on it; you must drive a dagger through its demonic heart, or it will be out there plaguing you forever.

Whenever anyone mentions the word "obedience" it seems to produce a kind of knee-jerk reaction. We know from experience that the churchies do everything they can (usually through the perverted grace doctrine) to even skirt around obedience to God. They go so far as to turn all that we and others teach about obedience to God into a heresy.

But when it comes to obedience to God speaking through Christian brothers and sisters, even our own members begin to baulk.

One of Satan's best tricks for controlling people is to make them fearful of being controlled by anyone else. When we recognise this trick of the devil, then we begin to realise that, if you react against an order, against instructions, or against advice without very good, Spirit-led reasons, then you are probably being controlled by Satan. So the real question is not whether or not you are going to be controlled, but rather who is going to do the controlling... God, or Satan?

Obviously, if leaders are telling you to do something that is wrong, then you don't do it, and you take that stand in obedience to your conscience. But that is not what I am talking about here. In fact, if you are honest, you will have to admit that there really are very few "orders" as such given in this army. Whenever possible we try to give advice, and you show whether it is God or the devil who is controlling you by how you respond.

There are, however, many disciplines which we have agreed, by consensus, to abide by. If any of these disciplines should happen to go against your conscience, then that can be discussed at an appropriate time.

In the meantime, you can expect that the devil will try to invent excuses for you to baulk at every little discipline and to argue in favour of doing things your own way even when there is nothing wrong with the disciplines at all. The fruit of such wilfulness will not be good. And the more people there are in the community who start acting like that, the more confusion (which is the meaning of the word "Babylon") there will be in the community.

The kingdom of heaven, like any good kingdom or organisation, operates on discipline, unity, and obedience. The difference between the kingdom of heaven and other kingdoms or organisations, however, is that the motivation must come from within. If you need threats and a lot of shouting before you will conform, then you belong to some other kingdom. And it seems that quite a few of our members are at least at times more a part of some other kingdom than they are of the kingdom of heaven.

But we can learn a lot from secular kingdoms.

For starters, they usually have armies. And the armies have orders. Have you ever wondered why soldiers spend so much time marching, standing at attention, doing right faces and left faces, when such disciplines are rarely, if ever, used in the heat of battle? The reason is because all of that marching and shouting of orders teaches them to stop baulking at every little command and just do what they are told. It's an attempt in the secular world, to break through the habitual resistance to obedience. "Yes sir!" said with a salute and a click of the heels is the system equivalent of "cheerful" obedience.

Yet we have had people respond with salutes and clicked heels to orders given within our community as a way of showing contempt for the order... as a way of rebelling, and saying that they feel they are being treated like soldiers in an army. Well, the truth is that we are soldiers in an army. We just have to decide whether we are going to respond to orders as the result of an inward motivation (as happens in a spiritual army) or wait for an outward one (as happens in a system army).

I have suggested to one base that they should practise doing some little marching drills, to get some of that wilful rebelliousness out of people. That's right, line up, stand at attention, do left faces and right faces, and about faces until you are able, out there on the street, in the heat of the battle, to spin right around and walk away from a particularly nasty viper just at the touch of a finger on your shoulder by your spiritual leader.

It's a form of law, I know. But only because some of you have not yet developed enough spiritually to do so without such exercises.

When a leader comes into a room and says, "Everyone on your feet... right NOW!" you will see some interesting responses. Some will leap to their feet with smiles on their faces, a bit bemused at the strange command, but none the worse for it. Some may frown and show by their body language that they object. They are not going to be anyone's puppet. Others (probably the bulk) will look at one another sheepishly and slowly rise to their feet. In other words, they are neither particularly instant nor particularly cheerful with their obedience. In fact, what they are really doing is responding to a vote. By looking at each other they are saying, "Okay, do we play along with this or not?"

I am afraid that this is the approach that many of you take to the wisdom of godly leaders. You are systemites, trapped in the "majority rules" approach to our community, rather than tuned in to the Holy Spirit and asking God whether or not you should obey your leaders as though they were speaking on God's behalf. That is really strange when we find the Bible teaching slaves and wives to even submit to ungodly masters and husbands as though they were God. If they can do that, why can't we be equally submissive to godly leaders?

Maybe some of you need to read Divine Authority again. Or Total Control. Or any of a number of other similar articles. Or maybe you just need to get broken before God and ask him to smash your damned pride.

When that happens, I think we will see some beautiful spiritual fruit that some of you are missing out on now.

(See also The Law is for the Lawless, 'Conscience' Issues, and Pride Smashing.)

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