November 1, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines XXVII: All For The One & The One For All

We Love Because He First Loved Us (1 John 4:19)

We have spiritual friendships whether we realize it or not. God took the initiative to befriend me when I was a reprobate because I certainly was not looking for Him. When I came into the faith it was sudden and profound. I believe this is because I was dragged by God into the spiritual friending. I now obey Him to the best of my ability. Why? Jesus told me to and told me why I should.

“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:14-17

I know now it was God taking the initiative because I in my sinful state would’ve never done so.

A Friend of God, A Friend To Others

I try very hard to stay friends with the Lord but the world pulls me away and I should stand more steadfast in my position. Unfortunately, I am still human and I am swayed and limited by my flesh. I wish I could manifest Christ who is within me more but many times I only manifest the existing sinful man. It would be tragic in its irony except that in the end I am saved. It is nothing I have done it obviously is only through unmerited grace that I am able. I know deep down that it is the will of God that I be redeemed from my sin and I am grateful.

As for people I generally get along with most but I realize there is more to it than that. I must love and be friends with the worst of sinners and even those I find hard to be around. Admit it, we all know a few people that we find repulsive. We are called to see Jesus in them because, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” If I am friends with Christ/God as much as I just said in the previous paragraph then I will at least realize that I need to see Jesus even in my enemies. If not I have commit the sin Jesus speaks of above and it is a sin of callousness, lack of compassion and an inability to see people struggling and drowning in their sins. A real friend would not do this…let someone be destroyed by their sin without introducing them to their other friends…fellow Christians and their best friend…Jesus Christ.

Friendly Conversation

I speak about my spiritual life to some extent with everyone. Some keep it to themselves but I do not. I believe personal testimony of what God is doing in someone’s life is the strongest attractant for people outside the faith. It may not work with all people but I have seen some pretty hardened people come to faith when they see the changes or things happening in people’s lives that they cannot attribute to anyone other than God. It is a case of learn vicariously or learning by example. I believe this is exactly why God chose to spread the very Gospel that we know have through flawed vessels. When people see that God can indwell and work through messed up people others are given hope that they too are able to do the same. We are not Christian because we were special when God saved us in our sin, we are special because God saved us from our sin. He befriended us when no one else in their right mind would or could.

Discerning & Challenging Is Not A Failure To Love

Discerning I believe is one of the gifts I have been given. Because I often dwell extremely long and intently in the Word I essentially marinade in it and it becomes me. In many aspects of life I fall way short and most would consider I am quite dense about them but when it comes to being able to discern whether something is truly Biblical I sense it both intellectually and spiritually. It is why I often speak so vehemently against things and often get accused of being too hard on people. Often I am trying to warn people of something I see as being as painful as a car wreck because spiritually it is and I am told I am being too harsh. My question is this. If you see someone inches from being hit by a car do you yell out to them or tackle them to knock them out of the way. Some would say the former and some the latter. The former probably allows them to get hurt…what do you do? This goes for encouragement and challenging too. Most Christians need encouragement for the journey because the path is long, hard and sin is painful. I always tell people they can do more than they think so they will at least try and therein lie the challenge. Always try to do more than you think you can. If you do you will be thrill, if you don’t achieve the goal at least you know you’ve tried your hardest

Handling Crises

I turn to people in times of crisis when I recognize that people need support. Some people turn inward away from people during stressful situations and crisis. I have learned that some respond poorly to help under duress if they were not seeking it. In these cases I stand my distance and wait until they call on help (if they call on help). Those that need help and cry out I assist. You cannot help people unless they want help and people need to recognize the difference between the two aforementioned groups. It is a matter of being cognizant and recognizing people’s needs. To be able to recognize people’s needs means you need to get to know those people…just as a shepherd know his sheep.

Appreciation & Knowing Others

I believe to some extent everyone needs to know that they are needed. People like to know that they have completed and done a job well. Human interaction doesn’t just need to be small talk verbally and sexual when dealing with touch. There needs to be an intimacy between humans as there is and intimacy between the persons of the Trinity. They is a mutual respecting love that needs to be extended to other humans if for no other reason than because we love God and want to obey His commandments. Of course it is more than that. It is about allowing the Kingdom of God to breech more fully into this fallen realm through the One that dwells in us and through our behavior to others. We must exhibit these/this behavior that is a manifestation of the One that dwells in us who is the Kingdom…or perhaps we do not have that indwelling and perhaps we are not truly of the Kingdom? We would be friends or love everyone fully if it is Christ that is in us. Since most of us to not love everyone else fully (even our enemies) it therefore shows us that not enough of Christ dwells in all of us…does it?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...