Connections: Rod Loy
Ask the Right Questions
Rod Loy, senior pastor of First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, Ark., serves as an executive presbyter for the Assemblies of God. Loy wrote 3 Questions (Springfield, Mo.: Influence Resources, 2011), an examination of life motivations and success built on the Book of Galatians. He spoke recently with Scott Harrup, Pentecostal Evangel managing editor.
evangel: Why Paul’s epistle to the Galatians?
LOY: I knew that my way of evaluating success and measuring my life wasn’t working. I felt like I was on a treadmill and could never get off. I really didn’t know what the answer was. I looked at people around me. I read books. I started reading through all of Paul’s letters. I highlighted different themes, and when I highlighted how Paul measured success, I found that his answers are all through Galatians.
evangel: The first question addresses our motive. Are we trying to please people or God? How do Christians get those two confused?
LOY: That’s the central issue, especially in the day of an instant referendum on everything you do. You can sing a solo in church, and while you’re in the middle of the song, people are tweeting or posting on Facebook their opinions of how you did. Add to that all the messages from advertising, and the thousands of images we see in a day, and it’s all designed to teach us that if we impress people we win.
When we make people our measuring stick, we can never succeed. I tried pleasing people, and failed. And when that was my objective, I couldn’t please God. We need to see ourselves through God’s eyes, rather than people’s eyes. God doesn’t see us based on our performance. He sees us as His children.
evangel: Your, and Paul’s, second question addresses our source of power. Why do believers lose sight of the Holy Spirit and His provision?
LOY: I think that’s particularly symptomatic of American believers. We have so many tools, methods and programs that we’ve come to believe the right conference or method or program will allow us to meet a need. We think all we need is the right information, that information is power. If you go to East Africa where a guy is trying to plant a church with five people in a solidly Muslim community, then you’ll see someone relying on God’s power. Because he has to. There’s an urgency created by his context.
evangel: Paul’s third question to the Galatian believers confronts our willingness to speak the truth. Why is truth-telling both costly and our only real option?
LOY: I always think of the prophet Nathan with King David. David was possibly the most powerful man in the world at that point. God told Nathan what was going on between David and Bathsheba. And Nathan faced some real risks in truth-telling.
It takes a different level of love for you and commitment to you to share a truth I know is painful. But if I really love you, I don’t want to see you fail or fall. I’ll be willing to say what no one else will say. And even as I prove my love, I may lose the relationship.
Of course, another part of the problem is in how people choose to tell the truth. The key is to tell the truth with love. You can tell the truth with a mean spirit, and it will never be heard.
evangel: How have you seen these three questions change lives?
LOY: The different questions resonate with different people depending on where they are in life. But it’s transforming to see that through God’s grace we really can measure up and have value to the One who matters most.
Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.