Spiritually speaking .... every one of us is "out of shape" ... in some way.
We are ALL in process with God.
Each one of us is learning to love ... more and more like Him.
We learn this day by day and season by season .... as we align our lives and our hearts with the Truth of God's Word.
I think at times .... we forget that our faith is a journey ..... and it is a journey for others too!
A journey that requires an attitude of grace.
We lose sight of this reality at a times.
Why? Because the enemy would want nothing more than for us to disconnect from God's people and to become judgmental in our hearts towards others.
The temptation that comes from the enemy is .... he wants us to see ourselves as "good or right" in a certain area or Biblical truth ..... and that someone else is "bad or wrong" because they don't believe like we do .... or act like Christ in a certain area of their life.
We make way for spiritual pride to begin to take root in our hearts.
Seeing this spiritual reality is one thing (discernment) and we need to truly test with the Lord what we are sensing. Seeing certain things in people helps us to know how to pray, how to guard our hearts and it should lead us to asking God what aspect of Biblical life this person needs.
But no matter what we discern - we must become agents of mercy and grace to be apart of revealing God's love and truth to this person depending on how the Lord calls us to do it.
Although ... this is usually not our response as Christians unless we are truly spiritually mature and we know how to operate in the gift of discernment in a way that brings life to others.
Usually we might discern something but then we move into judging or condemning that other person.
God wants us to be alert and aware ... but he never wants us to judge and condemn.
God alone is the judge and we are called as Christians to judge/condemn no one. We must always be mindful that we are desperately in need of grace ourselves.
"You who is without sin, cast the first stone (judgment)."
When this voice of temptation comes to move us into judgment, we end up putting a white hat on us and a black hat on that other person.
And this ... my beloved friends is judgment or as some would say - spiritual pride. We have all fallen prey to this temptation from the enemy, myself included.
If we are doing this in our hearts - it is a good sign we are flowing in spiritual pride and not in humility.
If our hearts are condemning someone else as 'bad' (for an act or behavior or a belief about God) - most likely we've crossed the line from discernment to judgment.
Our hearts are no longer flowing in mercy and in grace towards them. We've fallen into the trap of the enemy. A trap that will boomerang the spirit of judgement back at us!
This quote today in the picture above really got me thinking.
Pondering and talking to the Lord about this very concept ... or Biblical precept.
I mean, think about it for a moment. (pause)
When we go to the gym - how many people do we see that are really fit, really in shape and thriving in their physical health?
When I go to the gym - not many at all.
Even in my spin class - it is just the instructor who is firm, trim and thriving. She has such strength and fortitude in the area of health.
Why? Because she has spent hours, weeks and YEARS training and developing that strength. And on top of her training - she leads classes 5 times a day - as she helps others to make baby steps to that place.
Her job is to encourage people to move into that place of health and well-being.
Everyone else in the class is on multiple levels of health. Some are simply overweight from eating unhealthy .... some have conditions that make it hard for them to lose weight .... and others are recovering from some major sort of trauma (like me, with brain surgery).
I can't move as quickly on a bike as some people. My head starts hurting and I have to take a breather when no one else does! My journey of getting physically healthy is a bit harder than the average joe.
Because of all the years of compression on my brain stem and on the nerves, there is permanent damage to the occipital nerves. This leads to chronic pain and it simply makes it impossible for me to exercise on some days.
My journey towards physical health needs a bit more mercy and grace than the average joe too.
The instructor doesn't condemn me for where I am at - she encourages me to take one baby step at a time.
She keeps inviting me back into the process of health. She doesn't say, "well, you are too messy and so .... don't come back to my class until you are good and healthy". She meets me where I am at.
The same is true for our spiritual life. Jesus meets us where we are at.
Our transformation into becoming ... more and more like Him ... is a LIFE long journey.
Where we learn to walk with God ... through the good times and the bad, through the sunshine and through the intense spiritual tsunamis.
Through sickness and in health. And in all those seasons, we learn more about God and we learn to trust His love for us more and more over time.
We come to really know that no matter what surrounds us - our faith in God will keep us stable. Our spiritual gaze becomes stronger in the midst of the storms - as Truth becomes our anchor.
We learn over time to push off the ungodly lies that assail us and to anchor into the Truth of God's Word - that will keep us grounded in LIFE.
And we learn them how to help others find Truth in the midst of their spiritual tsunami.
And we realize we never want to be an agent of the enemy to dump more lies onto people by our actions or words (we have all done this). We realize what it means to truly thrive spiritually and to get spiritually into shape.
We learn that when we do fail, sin or blow it - we must become apart of the process to untangle our sin off of people's lives (Hebrews 12:1-2). To remove the blood of the sheep from our shepherds staff.
We must learn what it really means to humble ourselves for the sake of team God.
As God's leaders and people - we must truly become a voice of encouragement and a voice of love and truth in people's lives.
We must exist to help people to know the truth, believe the truth and then overcome the final hurdle to help them live the truth.
We must help people, through grace, to become spiritually strong and to help them get into shape.
This is when the world will see Christ in His people. When all three of those are flowing powerfully in people's lives (know the truth, believe the truth, live the truth).
And, we must be aware of how the enemy would desire to work in us and through us to destroy the lives of others. The Bible tells us to be alert and on guard, for the enemy seeks someone to devour.
We must know, that if Satan could get a hold of Peter's mouth, he can get a hold of ours! We must not walk in fear of this - we just need to be aware and to guard our tongues and realize the damage it can do (James 3).
And when the enemy does use our tongue to start a forest fire in the hearts of someone in order to destroy their life - we must humble ourselves and put the fire out!
If we fail to understand these truths even about our enemy and how he works - we will be open to the work of spiritual abuse and death in us and through us.
We must stop being a voice of death in the lives of people. We must learn to bridle our tongues and what we think, write and say about others. And I am talking about the deep inner attitudes!
If we want to see people become more and more spiritually healthy, thriving and alive from the inside out - it will start with how we view others and how we view ourselves.
We have to take off the white hats and the black hats and see each other as spiritual siblings. We must see the beauty that is in them and call forth their Kingdom calling.
We must rid ourselves of petty jealousies and murderous thoughts. We must want the team "Kingdom of God" to win and be willing to die to self and selfish ambitions to see it happen.
If we live life by keeping a white hat on us and we keep putting black hats on others - we will never truly see God's calling and His Kingdom purposes for people.
These hats will keep us blinded from seeing and being apart of releasing God's Spirit in others.
We will never be able to call forth the plans of God in people and team God will not win this battle with darkness if we can't see heaven's purposes for people.
It seems to me, that our battle in Christianity is not with those who are involved in Satanism and are attacking the church. This is a huge battle but I see a much bigger one.
The battle to me seems to lie in Christians devouring Christians. Leaders devouring other leaders. A true lack of kindness, humility and genuine love for one another.
And it is not in the outward actions - it is in the deep inner attitudes of the heart.
It happens in the meetings behind closed doors where people are mocked. In the emails written that are filled with death and condemnation! In the prayer times where people use prayer to gossip and slander one another. Prayers covered with judgment and not mercy. Prayers that are fueled with selfish ambition rather than a desire for God's will to prevail.
This is the place God seeks to transform. He wants the hidden places to be made pure! He wants the deep waters of our hearts to be clear and flowing with life.
He wants team "Kingdom of God" to be working together to fight this battle with darkness.
He wants us to truly see people as He does ... and to see how the Spirit wants to work through every person - so that the anointing of God can go forward in the earth.
But instead, our battle has been consumed with judgment and the shutting down of God in others.
This is why Paul was exhorting the church all the time - to put aside jealousy, slander, covertness fornication, adultery, etc... because all of these tore apart God's church and the calling on people's lives!
Oh Lord Jesus have mercy on us and help us to THRIVE as your team!
God, help us to not force with our flesh unity ... but may it come from the work of your spirit alone in the deep places of our hearts! Unity is a work of your spirit not a work of man and what we preach. It is a work of the attitudes in our heart of love towards one another and towards those who are not like us! It is the attitude that makes us FOR others! And FOR God's best for them. The attitude that wants to see God flowing powerfully through all people. And forgive us Lord ... for where we have been apart of forcing things by the works of our flesh and our own selfish ambitions. May your Spirit be the one leading us by the deep transformation in the inside of us. Amen.
Words of discouragement, words of judgment, words of rejection, words of hate, words filled with death - truly tear apart "team God".
They destroy the very ones God is calling forward to make a Kingdom impact. To glorify God in the way they were created by God to do it.
Those the inner attitudes are the one God wants us to deal with. This is where He is exhorting us. This is where He is exhorting me.
Hurtful words, thoughts of judgment towards people .... those attitudes in our heart destroy the team "Kingdom of God" and they give way to the works to the team "Kingdom of Darkness".
None of us are exempt from those dark thoughts, those nagging negative perceptions of God's children.
But we must be diligent to rid ourselves of them. We must sit before the Lord in deep repentance and Godly sorrow.
Why? Because the world needs HOPE. They need LOVE. The need to know that God is alive and real and that He cares. People need to know that God's heart, His mind, His whole being is FOR people. We've got to partner with this part of God's heart.
As God's leaders - we MUST become people of grace - and I mean in the deepest places with us. Not on the surface. Because we all can do grace on the surface. We can all wear that Christian mask that speaks grace from the pulpit (or me from my blog).
We must truly come to see God's people like those people who are out of shape people at the gym ... who need to know that God's Word will help them to come alive, to be spiritually fit and thrive!
Be must help the body of Christ thrive!
We need to help people in whatever baby step they need. And we need to offer those baby steps of love even with our enemies.
This is all God's message and exhortation to me too! This has been the resounding shout in my heart from Him.
It is God's Word - over time being deposited in their hearts that will transform us, lead us, guide us, revive us and then - ultimately reviving others.
It is hearing the Word of God that will make faith come alive!
It is BY FAITH, the world will be transformed just as it was with the disciples in the book of Acts!
We must NEVER lose sight that a one time trip to the gym or a one time spiritual high that we get through a powerful event or conference - can never substitute for the day in and day out training that comes when we spend time with God alone - in solitude with Him and His Word.
We must learn that it is all about relationship. Relationship with God, with His Word over time that brings lasting transformation.
We must never let go of discipleship and the process of it.
We must communicate with others that God will love them, accept them AND want them - flaws and all.
We must see others through the lens of God's heart and we must become a part of helping people to become mature sons and daughters!
We don't do that through a spirit of condemnation but through a spirit of Grace and seeing the fullness of who God is calling them to BE in Him!
No matter what they have done or are doing - we must communicate that they are wanted by God and that His mercies are new each day.
We must become intentional into getting every team player onto team God and helping them to thrive in their God-given calling and anointing.
Think of the impact the Kingdom of God will have upon the kingdom of darkness if more people are walking in the light? The more light, the less darkness.
God wants every person - equipped and ready to do the work of the ministry!
Every person sharing Christ in the unique way He has created them to do it. When we focus on this - it will bring a mighty reformation in the church.
We must not just say everyone is important to God. We must live it in the secret places of our thoughts and in our private actions.
And over time - we must trust that as people spend time in prayer with God - the Holy Spirit will be the one to change them and make them spiritually fit. He will lead them to the place of thriving and abundant life - as they learn to align themselves more and more with Truth; obedience.
Our job - is to be that voice of encouragement; of love and truth - that constantly leads people to God.
The deep motto of our hearts must be - to let nothing unwholesome come out of our mouths - ever! Eph. 4:29.
And we must go deeper to the attitudes of our hearts because Scripture says, "for out of the heart - the mouth speaks".
"And life and death is in the power of the tongue".
The deep waters of our heart must become pure.
We need God's love, truth and presence to do the transformation - there in our hearts!
This is hard to do. Apart from God - it is impossible. But with Him - it is possible.
It must become our goal and we must rely on God's grace to get us there.
"Team God" has never needed more LIFE than it does now.
People have never needed to hear more words of LIFE than they do now.
God, help us to be agents of your LIFE - to speak life and to encourage people to find their place on the global - "team God". God, be glorified in us - in the deep and secret most places. Amen.
"Know THE Truth. Believe THE Truth. Live THE Truth" - Lori Dethlefs