Reconciliation: Part 1- Introduction
“Find out who I AM.”
That was what the Lord spoke to my heart many years ago, when I was crying in desperation for His love and affection. He broke through my carnal mind and set me on a path that would forever change my life… from the inside-out.
Now to those who were looking at me, I appeared to be a wandering nomad. I went from fellowship to fellowship and building to building seeking Him. In the end, I was always disappointed, because I could not find someone who I could connect with that wanted a relationship with God more than they wanted rules. When I was in my early twenties this angered me.
Now, twenty years later… it shreds my heart.
Do not misunderstand me. The churches were filled with people who loved God. They were even teeming with people seeking. They were just not filled with people who were seeking HIM. The more I pressed into the Word and the more I sought to know and comprehend His love for me and the great passion He has for His body to walk in unity with Him, the more isolated I began to feel.
But this writing is not about condemnation…that is satan’s job. And an overrated task at that. This is about understanding what true fellowship is, and how we can experience more of the things we have been given access to, namely His Kingdom.
This makes sense, since it resides within the child of God.
I spiritually grew up with the forerunners of those who would face tremendous ridicule for leaving “traditional church.” What is most grievous about what I witnessed and experienced firsthand was that the rejection and condemnation came not from the world, but from the church body herself.
Let me say this: the motives of the heart will always be revealed by the emotions and actions that proceed from it.
Since so many of the believers here in America are under the false belief that we must earn love, acceptance and worth from our Father and Lord, we feel it is our right and duty to condemn those who do not follow “the rules.”
This false belief is destroying true fellowship and prevents true unity from occurring.
Said another way, satan’s lies have prevented the body of Christ from entering into true unity. We are called to be not only one with Him, but one with each other. Some of the destructive thinking often goes like this:
“If I have to follow the rules for God to be pleased with me, then so do you.”
“The more I can expose the faults in others, the more holy I am. Which makes me more pleasing to God.”
“The more I stand up for righteousness, the more pleased God is with me.”
“Its too painful, frustrating and angering for me to see others not following the rules I think I must follow. I am driven by guilt. Its not fair that others can have a walk with God without guilt.”
Not accurate? Hmmm…
Actions always reveal what the heart is believing. Conveniently, (and thank God!) we were given a portion of what is called self-control, so even if we don’t outwardly express what is in our heart, ( so many times we bite our tongue and proclaim with an air of pride that we walked in love) the reality is we walked in self-control against what our heart wanted us to do. Self control is better than an unkind word or action, but if the heart is unchanged, we are still condemning each other in our hearts. This is the carnal mind. The carnal mind is any thinking that is contrary to what God’s word states. Anything that opposes the heart of God is carnality.
“But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” (Luke 7:35)
The Word of God says that rules produces death. (Rom 4:15, Rom 7:10, 2 Cor 3:7) All of the law is summed up in the law of love. If the laws we follow or have created for ourselves to adhere to are focused on “doing” in order to receive His love or acceptance, then that is not love. That is death.
We are already accepted.
“…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Eph 1:5-7)
So what is this all about? Abiding in love, unity, or finding a fellowship that seeks Him?
It’s all the same.
We cannot be abiding in His love and be looking at each other with side-wards glares. We are fractured, weary, wary, and burned out with our fighting and doctrines. If we transition to seeking Christ, all things fall into line.
There are those out there that have stopped attending “services” and sermons because they have been wearied with the rules and guidelines that choke out the Spirit of Life in an assembly. Please do not give up on the idea of having a relationship with the Lord that is as the Bible describes. He is longing to sit at the table with His children whom He has called friends, not servants, and just…. talk.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev 3:20)
Make no mistake, the law will kill, and the law will be found anywhere that the carnal mind is in operation. The carnal mind says we must earn value and worth and His love. Jesus said that is a lie. Which will we believe?
This is not a calling out. This is a calling to. The Lord is calling His betrothed to Himself. I am not saying to do, or not do anything. I am exhorting you to spend time with Him. Why? Because every single need, want, desire, hurt, fear, pain, shortcoming or anything else disappears when we are resting in Him. This is the Sabbath-rest spoken about in Hebrews.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His.” (Heb 4:9)
The law given to Moses to not work on Saturday (yes, Saturday, not Sunday) was a type and foreshadow of Christ. Everything before Messiah came was a shadow of what was to come. It is all fulfilled by the Spirit of God given when Jesus finished His great plan to redeem His children back to Him. (Col 2:15-17)
In order to posture ourselves to enjoy fellowship that is Spirit-breathed we must cast off judging each other. We must stop looking at the body and begin to look at Christ. As we do this, we will begin to love one another. We will begin to see each other as He sees us: unconditionally righteous and loved.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Rom 14:17)
Re-read this verse. Why is it we often miss the fact that the writer is saying the kingdom is not about verbs but about nouns and adjectives? How often we have actually used this verse to promote even more works i.e. “do’s and dont’s…”
The Kingdom is a place, and in that place is completeness. That place is within us and we have the Mind of Christ in us. All we need is to enjoy His company.
Forget the first century believers, look at the first 50 day believers. They were unified. They had fellowship. They had the love of Christ flowing freely throughout them. How is it that believers that were filled with the Spirit for days were able to do what we struggle with when the body has been around for 2 millennia?
This is not the place for a study of church history, but what can clearly be seen throughout her time on earth has never changed. When the body seeks Christ, love and unity are the result. Seek anything else and we compromise the reality of His kingdom being experienced in our lives. As a fellowship, we will compromise the power of His presence in our midst being made manifest…in any manner.
This writing is about the first aspect that we must accept and walk in to experience true fellowship.
-Unconditional acceptance of each other-
Does this mean we ignore sin? Well, lets consider another sacred religious verse we reformed pharisees (that’s me) used to quote:
“But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matt 18:16)
As a pharisee, I loved this verse. When all else failed me, and I found an opponent who was able to successfully dodge all other spears thrown at him, this verse was the mace I swung to crush many a soul. Many. What is worse is I enjoyed doing it. Why? Because I thought God was pleased with that, and therefore would love me more. I was a slave to the carnal mind and the lies the god of this world has woven over the mind of man since the garden of Eden.
I remember the first time I allowed the Lord to speak to me on this verse, through His heart, not the carnal mind I was living out of at the time. It is so simple it’s humbling. He said, “How did Jesus treat sinners? How did Jesus treat tax collectors? There is your answer.”
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom 2:4)
As we can impart to each other the goodness of God, sin desire continues to shed. It is a byproduct of unity, fellowship and communion life. Is there a particular sin you are struggling with? We all have them. For men it’s often lust. For women usually other things. It matters not. The answer to any struggle is the same. Spend time with Him.
Unity starts with love. His love flowing through us. We can only give it to the extent we know it ourselves. We cannot love others more than we love ourselves. We think we can. But it’s a worldly, corrupt love, not a kingdom born love. Ask the Lord to give you a revelation of His love for you. Ask for a revelation to see others the way He sees His children. This is the first step toward unity. Unconditional acceptance must flow. The mind of Christ must be released in us. We are already fully pleasing. We are complete. There is no lack or need. We are deeply loved by HIM. Accept this as truth and meditate on it day and night.
If this word draws your spirit, find at least one person who has a hunger for experiencing more of Christ. Just one person. Are you in a fellowship of any sort? Find one person who will join with you in some way. Life begets life. Fire creates more fire. Love begets unity. Unity starts with only two people. It’s an amazing journey, a wild ride and so much fun.
All the believers were together and had everything in common.” (Acts 2:44)
This country will either fulfill her destiny as a light for those who have lost their compass, or we will become like one of those nations. The body of Christ will determine this.
First things first. We need to become one. In order to do this we must love one another. This is not an act, this is a state of being. An immersion in Him. See what He sees and think what He thinks about each other. Under one Head, seeking His face, seeking His heart. In love with each other.