Well I heard a message today about putting on the full armor of God and the vulnerable spots we still had though fully dressed. The point he was making was that with other members surrounding Him then he was safe. That was the springboard for my thoughts.
How many times I have heard of the value of the body of Christ. Scripture supports the idea and I believe I tied it into a message that I gave before. Today I stopped to really consider it. Unity in the body of believers is not a reality in the churches I have attended or visited. A few good small churches perhaps have some pockets but that’s it. So if it is a good idea then why is it not like that any and everywhere? Here is some good instruction regarding this.
“18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
How many people are willing to submit to one another? What is it that holds us back? Here is the prayer Jesus offered up just before His sacrifice began. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
So it appears that the key to the world at large receiving the gospel is based on our being unified with God and our brothers and sisters. What could possibly stop us from just doing this??
I propose to you that most people in the body of Christ are not willing to trust one another and very likely do not trust God either. How many people grew up in a home where they felt loved, valued, and experienced a great sense of belonging? There are a few such people but very few. What about relational breakdowns and betrayals? How many of us have dated someone who ended up breaking our hearts? Perhaps it happened when you were married or both. You lost your husband/ wife to someone else? Perhaps a best friend? In life we are facing things that are not honoring or above board all the time. The workplace may have been a place of betrayal for you. You worked hard to receive you reward but the reward went to someone else. The boss was won over by seduction rather then work performance. We all have faced something at one time or another in life that has made us wary of our fellow man.
So we show up at church as a new believer and what do we learn? Do we see the scriptures being played out here? Sadly we will receive messages about what we should be like “ Someday “ but they are chalked up as loft thoughts that might happen with enough attendance and enough bible studies. One day it might just fall into place……. But it doesn’t.
Let me share a true story with you. My wife and I were returning home from a nice visit to South Carolina. The airport there was beautiful. It was springtime and everything was green and full of life. The people working there were friendly and polite that it was sad thing to have to leave. We landed in Newark Airport that just endured a storm that had flights delayed and the airport was filled with frustrated angry people. My wife and I searched for a place to sit and finally found two seats. They were far from our gate and not together. Across from me sat a lady and a man who were engaged in surface conversation. I picked up on the fact that the lady was very nervous and quite upset. After a while the man’s flight was called and he escaped the mayhem.
So now I engage her in conversation but not to talk about the weather. There is something strangely familiar about her pain and I want to know what it is. As we chat she shares with me that she is flying somewhere to pick up her son from the rat fink dad. Ahh there it is. She is freshly wounded from tearing apart the two made one. This pain I was all too familiar with and I wanted to encourage her. As I shared a little of my story I told her how God had picked up the pieces of me and put me back together and that I had even been remarried and was very happy once again. Well that triggered an angry response as she tells me that if she was to ever remarry that there would be so many prenuptial agreements to be signed that he would never get anything in the event of divorce. You see she was very hurt from her last relationship and her short term husband was trying to get all of her assets which spilled over into her dads assets who shared his things with her. I suspect that she felt terrible that her dad’s things were being jeopardized by her choice to marry this guy.
Now throughout our conversation she has been struggling to hold back a flood of tears. She would share something real and then have to cut herself all and say something silly as a method to save herself from coming apart. Her facade has almost completely failed. What if I knew she was not okay but was really broken. Surely then I would strike while she was weak. It may sound silly but when you are hurt and vulnerable this is a real fear. If people see you for what you really are then what? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves.
So let me finish the story. After some time passes and she seems to have quieted back down I engage her again. My heart was really going out to her because I identified with her pain and suffering and I wanted her out of it. So I go back to the marriage discussion with her and say “ You know you really can’t do that don’t you? ( I am referring to her prenuptial agreement plan ) She responds much like I expected. “ What do you mean that I can’t do that!” I believe it was God who spoke to her through me at that moment. “ If you do that then you will never know love again.” To really know love then we must make ourselves vulnerable to another. Love allows us to view a person with a different lens and to see the person more like God sees them, more like the truth about them. I know that she left with a bit of truth and encouragement that day but ultimately it is up to her what she would choose for herself. Every wall of protection we build potentially cut us off from a source of life.
So who’s to blame? I would say you and I are to blame. Rather then walk according to the Spirit of God we walk by our many excuses as to why we are not following Jesus in the ways He laid down for us and prayed for. “But Jesus, The church I went to had nobody doing as you did so I couldn’t break rank could I?” Jesus, “I had been hurt so many times by people that there was just no way I could trust them enough to be in unity.”
As I type these words to page I feel a little sick about how I have settled for the luke warm Christian life. It seems that we are resisting the very thing that Jesus prayed for. I would so love to see revival in my land but I may be the reason in my church that I don’t see it or at the very least, one of the reasons.
We are called to follow Jesus not man. We have figured out by now that man is lost. We are also called to submit one to another….. why?? Out of reverence for Jesus. That is that person who thought you and I were worth losing his life to save ours. He’s that one person who has never lied to me, cheated me, abandoned me and never rejected me. So when He tells me to love my neighbour and to be humble and to submit myself to others for His sake is He doing it to break my heart? My trust? Is He hurting me in some way or can I just trust that if He loves me more then any other person then I know that what He asks of me is good.
Most of us are still carrying baggage from the past that needs to be released. The walls that we built to imprison us that we thought would protect us need to come down. Wounds that we have need to be dealt with and not just covered up. We need healing and I only know one doctor who is able to help, but the good news is that he will. We just need to show up and surrender our wounds to Him and let Him do the rest. Proverbs 3 : 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Rather then have Jesus ask us “ Why were you not willing to…… let us follow Him and then hear “ Well done my good and faithful……. Or at least that is what I find myself…….. Just Thinking.