The words of Job are a blessing
5:17 “So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you!
Mind you, don’t despise the discipline of Almighty God!
So are the words of James in reference to Job
5:11 What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
For those of us, and for myself in particular, God deals with my heart in profound ways. The Lord has stepped in and corrected and changed the course of where I was and placed it clearly in front of me, in front of both Lori and I, and through His correction and discipline we have seen how hurtful it is to not deal with the issues of the heart. These issue keep us from where we truly want to be, in the centre of the will of God, and in the fullness of His abundance in every situation.
Here are some of the lessons we have learned, that SIMPLIFIES our lives, individually and corporately as the “church”, expressing the life and love of Jesus.
1. LIVING IN AN ATTITUDE OF THANKFULNESS AND BROKENNESS:
The Lord has taught us that we need to continually walk out a life of humility, in an attitude of thankfulness. We usually have the most difficult time in doing so, when we do not embrace the place of brokenness in our lives. Brokenness exposes our hearts and reveals the motives that guide us and lead us. Who we truly are is exposed in the place of brokenness.
In 2004 and into the beginning of 2005, my wife Lori and I were in a deep place of brokenness. It was the most broken place we had known, and for me, in may ways the pain I suffered through was worse than the pain of losing my eldest daughter Carragh to cancer in 1993. It was a different kind of pain but the pain in this past season was so great, and it was so great because it was the brokenness you experience in the relational dynamic of church and body life. It is the brokenness that result from the “wounds of a friend.”
My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
If someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your body ?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’
THE BATTLE WE WAGE REVEALS OUR HEARTS
There is always going to be challenges in human relationships, and it is no different in those that are within the Body of Christ. As we interact and express life together there is going to be misunderstanding, miscommunication, agenda, motives, self-centredness, language barriers, body language and verbal misunderstanding, and our own sin issues and motives of the heart will wrestle with it all.
In all this struggle to communicate and to grow together, there are multiple battles raging in the hearts of believers. The war is fought in the heart, in the mind and in the intellect. If we don’t deal with our own issues of the heart, soon enough the enemy ensnares us, and we begin along the path of rejection and self-justification. Eventually if the hurt is bad enough, we begin to withdraw and act out in passive agressive self-justification. Deep inside if we hear others are not faring well, we have a time of rejoicing at their injury, again revealing how far we have straighed from the path of life in community. Our understanding is blurred, and our consciences seared, and we simply accept it as being “normal”.
There is nothing normal about this for believers. This is an abberation of what normal should be for us. We are supernatural beings temporarily living in natural bodies. Our spirit man is affected by our carnal thinking. In this state we struggle within between the spirit of Christ and the spirit of man. It is not a pretty sight, but God is patient, and when we are tired enough and broken enough and desperate enough, and we realize the error of our ways, God invades us with His grace, and forgiveness and restores us as we repent of what we have done to Him, to others and to ourselves.
WE ARE TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER AND CONFRONT ISSUES IN LOVE INSTEAD OF AVOIDANCE AND REJECTION
One truth is that “friends” will injure “friends”. When we engage with people, people are going through issues day by day. People have passions, beliefs and desires that continue to influence who they are and their walk with God and with God’s people.
There are issues of the heart that need to be confront in love rather than avoided.
In the past, I feared the potential of conflict and learned the hard way that issues need to be dealt with.
In the recent past, it was the issue of reject that reared its ugly head. When you gather with small groups of people like in HC and simple relational communities, you have “no place to hide” and when there are conflicts, they can get pretty ugly. It affects how you gather, and it affects the sharing of meals together, and affects all aspects of fellowship and community. It affects all the other people in your gathering as well. This is why the NT is replete with examples that we ought to follow. We need to walk in humility and brokenness and think of the Lord and others who are affected instead of walking in self-justification, no matter who is right or wrong. It is the motives of the heart that are being exposed and need to be cleansed.
TAKING OFFENSE SEPARATES US FROM JESUS AND EACH OTHER
Nothing brings more rejoicing to the enemy than walking away from those who injure us or reject us.
Lori and I learned a great deal about the Lord, and about ourselves. We learned the need to forgive, and the need to confront in love and to seek to walk with others who have injured us, seeking the Lord to heal and restore our hearts and our relationships.
I am delighted to declare that the Lord has done such a work in us the last year. It has been wonderful to see relationships restored, and finding ourselves back in a place of relationships with HCs in the area and around the country. The Lord has mended hearts and healed and restored many relationships.
THE WAY TO RESTORATION IS THROUGH REPENTANCE AND BROKENNESS.
I believe we need as a body of believers to walk in a spirit of brokenness. If we truly want the Lord’s heart on issues, then when we pray to Him for His heart, He will give us this brokenness, and make us weep and intercede for those who are far from Him and far from other believers, with hearts waxed cold, and the embers dim. He will give us that brokenness, and as we intercede and pray and weep for these relationships, He will give us the GIFT OF REPENTANCE, and as we begin to repent for our own sin, and come broken before the throne of God, He will reach out and heal the hearts of those we so desire to be reconnected to.
This is simply the truth.
we want to see HC multiply, and if we want relational Christianity to mean somthing real, then we need to go to the broken places, and ask the Lord to heal us as we repent, and let the Lord use us as a BRIDGE to others who are separated from the brothers and sisters in the body, and separated from Him.
FROM THIS TIME FORTH…
From now on… it is a conscious walk of humility and brokenness… for in the broken places the Lord invades with His grace and power, and intervenes for us.
I have found that the more broken I am, and the more vulnerable to the Lord’s heart, I am quick not only to repent, but as I do, the grace and the favour of the Lord and His anointing increases in my life and the lives of those people I am interceding for and seeking to have deeper relationship with.
It is worth it to simply live a life of brokennes and humility in simple communities of faith, that gather from house to house, and to be honest in relationships and how we conduct ourselves, and that we expose agenda in love, and expose our hearts and our motives to one another. If we seek to love above all else… we will live a simple live of humility… and in humility, we see God, and we experience His anointing and power!
Be blessed as you seek the simple life!