“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?” Paul used very strong language to remind us to keep our eyes on our own papers! There’s a difference between sharing your own testimony and experience with someone and demanding they follow your example or a specified set of actions in order to be seen as a “good Christian.” People and institutions that demand total adherence to one set of beliefs while judging folks who don’t adhere to them are exactly the people Paul was writing against in Romans 14.
I highly appreciate mentoring and general principles for folks to follow as they learn how to have a relationship with God. But the goal is for each person to develop an individual relationship with God where they receive direct guidance. Imagine what the folks in Ur thought when Abraham declared God had called him to start walking to an unknown place?
Abram: “God’s called me to take all my family and leave dad, mom, my home and my country to go to a new place.”
Neighbor: “Where are you going?”
Abram: “I don’t know.”
Neighbor: “How long will it take?”
Abram: “I don’t know.”
Neighbor: “How will you take care of everyone?”
Abram: “I don’t know. I guess God will provide.”
Neighbor: “Doesn’t sound like God to me. I think you’re hearing things! Seems really crazy to me to set out on a journey without knowing anything. Stay here, talk to the elders first, take some spiritual discipline classes, and pray about it as you’re teaching Torah classes. Give it a year or two so you can mature and listen to wise counsel. That’s the way we do things here.”
What about crazy old Noah who built an ark when there had been no rain for who knows how long? John the Baptist lived a very odd lifestyle compared to the religious establishment and regular people. Joseph had dreams, Deborah was a judge, Peter left his family fishing business to follow Jesus around the country. Every one of these folks knew they were God’s servants and they heard directly from him for their lives.
God speaks through his Word and other people, but our goal is to separate the wheat from the chaff and focus on what God has directly spoken to our own soul. I may be called to live my life in a very different manner than you. Please ask me what I’m hearing from God rather than condemning me for the differences. Follow God’s voice in your life—even if those around you don’t hear the same word for themselves.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
Henry David Thoreau