Connected to the Body

I’m a private person.  In the past, I’ve been guilty of dealing with tough issues (work, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins) by MYSELF.

Occasionally, when issues get REALLY bad, I make strides in going to God and submitting to others for a while….But, I’ve struggled with having consistent, deep relationships with other believers in the body, especially other men. I can count on one hand the people I’ve let in.  The fact is, I’ve been hurt, betrayed rejected and abandoned by those I trusted.  But because of my pride I haven’t forgiven them completely.  Currently my wife is the main person I’ve trusted to let in.

Maybe you too have remained isolated when issues arise in your job, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins. Maybe you too haven’t completely forgiven those in the body of Christ that have hurt or disappointed you.

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with God

AND

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with the body.

connected

Romans 12:5(NLT) “So it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts, of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Acts 2:42(NLT)“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper) and to prayer…47 And each day the Lord added to their Fellowshipthose who were being saved.”

I see that the church has become really good at getting together with others, sharing meals, maybe listening to a teaching, maybe taking communion, and perhaps praying.  The church as a whole has become a card carrying membership and not a fellowship.  Ship: old English “scipe”; as to shape, form, adjust, adopt, evolve, develop.

Why?

Independence. Independence from God and one another. Instead of being a part of the body of Christ, we have amputated ourselves…..trying to process the issues of life alone- without God, and without each other

How do we solve the problem?

Three (3) things that we can do to stay connected and become a healthy body

  1. SEEK parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, proactively search for someone you can intimately connect with, confide in, count on, and call out on a deeper level;

Hebrews 10:25(TPT) “This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing,  In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”

  1. SUBMIT to parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, willingly surrender to someone by opening up and being vulnerable. Allow them to ask the difficult questions and provide the difficult answers surrounding your marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins.

1Peter 5:5 (NKJV) “Likewise you young people, submit yourselves to your elders.  Yes, all of you, be submissiveto one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble””.

  1. SHARE with parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, deliberately and lovingly speak life to someone, including words of praise, encouragement, and correction.

Proverbs 10:11 (NLT) “The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain…”

Ephesians 4:2“Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love”. Making every effort to keep yourselves unitedin the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Misapplied:      Matthew 7:1“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”

1Cor 5:12 (TPT)“What right do I have to pronounce judgment on unbelievers? That’s’ God’s responsibility.  But those who are inside the church family are our responsibility to discern and judge..”

Proverbs 17:10 (TPT)“One word of correction breaks open a teachable heart, but a fool can be corrected a hundred times and still not know what hit him.”

You and I were created to be connected to the body both physically and spiritually

When we seek out, submit to, and share with other parts of the body of Christ, we are built up and equipped to .be a unified and powerful body- able to fulfill the commandments and commission that Christ demands of the church.

I’m no authority on relationships in fact I’ve failed time and time again… but time and time again, the Lord has proven that He has never left me or forsaken me and neither has the church – there ARE others in the body that are also seeking, submitting to and willing to share their lives with me, so that we can edify and encourage one another.

What about you? Are you connected to the body daily or just weekly?

Are you seeking, submitting and sharing with others or are you isolated and independent of God and others? Do you have someone that you open up to and are vulnerable with or are you avoiding issues?

Is someone encouraging, challenging and correcting so that you can be the healthiest you?

Clothed

Mark 10:46-52 The Message (MSG)

46-48 They spent some time in Jericho. As Jesus was leaving town, trailed by his disciples and a parade of people, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, was sitting alongside the road. When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!”Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

49-50 Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”

They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.

51 Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

52 “On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”

In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road.

3 things you can SEE in the presence of Jesus

  1. SEE your DEFICIENCY
  1. Bartimaeus was physically blind (46…a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus);
    1. As stated in Deuteronomy 28, widely believed sickness was a result of either your own sins or your parents’ sins.
  2. Bartimaeuswas spiritually blind from His unbelief (52 “On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has savedand healed you)

 

  • He was deficient physically (blind, begging for mercy, and wearing a coat)
  • He was deficient spiritually (blind, begging for mercy, wearing a coat of sin)

 

I’ve been spiritually blind too.

Driving to FL at Christmas, Jodie challenged me to follow the speed limit.  And I did faithfully and immediately felt the relief of not having to constantly check my speed and rear view mirror, but felt the frustration of getting there later.

 God since has showed me that in the past:

    • I knowingly broke the law and rationalized that everyone was speeding.
    • And I continued increasing my speed to the point that the speed limit became a minimum.

 

Sin can become so rooted in our lifestyle or belief system that we become blinded to it. clothed

1 John 2:15MSG

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear importanthas nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

  1. SEE your DELIVERER

 

46When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

49-50Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.” They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.  51Jesus said, “What can I do for you?” The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.

 

  1. Bartimaeus believed that because Jesus was from the ancestry of King David (Son of David) he was bringing God’s kingdom to the poor, maimed, lame and blind and could heal him physically

Beginning of Jesus’ ministry:

Luke 4:18-21 The Message (MSG)

18-21 He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and  recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free,  to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”

  1. Bartimaeus believed that Jesus was the messiah and could heal him spiritually

52 “On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”

  • He was desperate both physically and spiritually
  • Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus louder and louder
  • Bartimaeus humbled himself
  • Bartimaeus threw off his coat
  • Bartimaeus went to Jesus
  • Bartimaeus said, “Rabbi, I want to see

 

  1. SEE your DEVOTION
  1. Bartimaeus believed that Jesus healed and saved him
  2. Bartimaeus believed following Jesus was his only option

52…In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road.

  • His new life was devoted to following Jesus. His world was turned upside down. 
  • From being blind to being both saved and healed
  • From being desperate for money to being desperate for more of Jesus
  • From sitting down to getting up
  • From being clothed with sin to being clothed with Joy

  

Psalm 30:8-12 NLT (David)

cried out to you, O Lord.   I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, “What will you gain if I die,
if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you?  Can it tell of your faithfulness? 10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord.” 11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.   You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

 

Are you willing to let him reveal areas of spiritual blindness?

Are you willing to throw off any coat of sin, cry out and come to him?

Are you willing to put on the coat of Joy he has for you and follow him?