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?

Into the Wilderness

Matthew 4:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.

In the spring of 2018, the Lord showed me the wilderness I was beginning to endure, alone. I would be led by the Spirit to an empty, man-made, concrete river bed. I would be tempted. I would suffer. I would scream. I would cry. And Jesus would be with me.

In the following weeks and months that led into a new year, I engaged in conversations with the Lord in that dry place. He stood with me as I grieved. He comforted me as I sobbed. He listened as I screamed. He heard me as I processed my anger. He cared for me. He fed me. He gave me living water to drink from His hands. He showed me the free-flowing river I was destined to enter. He showed me the way out of the dry river bed. He showed me the angels that would protect me from my enemies as they hurled accusations against me. He showed me the fear of man that so easily entangles me. He showed me the lies I’ve believed. He showed me how to repent and be forgiven, and forgive. He showed me how to trust in Him alone.

I must admit; there has been much protest from me in the wilderness.

But I’ve stayed in this place with Him. And I will remain here until He leads me out.

For I have come to know the One who will never leave me or forsake me. The One who calls me His own. The One who created me in my mothers womb. The One who called me by name before the foundations of the earth. The One who loved me unto death. The One who conquered the grave. The One who sits at the right hand of our Father. The One who intercedes for me. The One who knows the plans for me. The One who uses all things for my good. The One who receives all the glory for my life.

Into the Wilderness.jpgAnd because I know Him, I know that He is doing something new in me. Actually, its already begun. Do you see it? He has made a pathway through the wilderness. He has made a river in the dry wasteland. I WILL be refreshed! And He will be honored.

 

Isaiah 43:14-21 New Living Translation (NLT) 

14 This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

“For your sakes I will send an army against Babylon,
    forcing the Babylonians[a] to flee in those ships they are so proud of.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    Israel’s Creator and King.
16 I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
    making a dry path through the sea.
17 I called forth the mighty army of Egypt
    with all its chariots and horses.
I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned,
    their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.

18 “But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me,
    the jackals and owls, too,
    for giving them water in the desert.
Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland
    so my chosen people can be refreshed.
21 I have made Israel for myself,
    and they will someday honor me before the whole world.