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Devotionals

The Discouragement of Superficial Relationships

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828ministries.com H3'ed 8/20/12

The result of all of this spiritual gamesmanship is two fold. First of all we wear church masks. Someone asks how we are doing and we reflexively answer -- "blessed and highly favored!" We need to realize today that we are blessed but we still can be hurting. We are highly favored and we also can be suffering. What do the church masks do? They weaken the depth of our relationships with each other. Think about it! The people we are "closest" to and maybe even serve in ministry with are the very people we are essentially being the most dishonest with! We are supposed to be on the same team! We are supposed to be part of the same body!

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you." In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. -- 1Corinthians 12: 18-26 (NLT)

Think about when you ask someone in church if they want you to pray for them. What answer do you usually get? Maybe you will get something superficial like "direction" or "strength." More often than not though you get a prayer request for someone else -- don't you? Pray for my unsaved family members. Pray for my co-worker --oh she really needs Jesus!

 

The second result of the spiritual gamesmanship is that we fancy ourselves as being more spiritual than we really are. Everything becomes an act beloved. We start to pray the loudest or get the latest prayer shawl that everyone else has. We go to conferences and enter leadership trainings. We are bleeding of course but the more spiritual we sound the less we notice the blood. We worship to be seen. We pray to be seen. We go to church and serve in ministry to be seen. The more we are seen the more we are validated. The more we are validated the less we have to think about the underlying problems we have never let go of. Think about it. What is the first thing we usually think about when someone suddenly falls in their walk, leaves the church, or walks away from ministry -- "I didn't see that coming they were so spiritual." The reality is that we cannot fake the fruit of the Spirit over the long haul. Beloved please understand the human condition. People need each other. People desperately need to be real with each other. If as a Christian, all I develop are superficial relationships where we all wear our church masks and sing kumbya -- eventually I will leave. Why? Because I still need somewhere I can bleed. I still need somewhere that I can be me. Not feeling so blessed; not feeling so highly favored. More importantly, not judged for feeling that way. That is what superficial Christian relationships will do beloved. They will force us to find our solace somewhere else. The human condition will not be denied. We might become very adept at playing church but we cannot just "play" life.

 

The last reason contributing to the superficiality of Christian relationships is quite simply a disrespect of God. It stems from a lack of reverent fear of the Lord, which is permeating too many churches in these the last days. How else can we explain this blatant disregard for the direct instructions from God? Realize that these are actions against the bride of Christ! Let us look at the key verses and hear with our spiritual ears what the Lord is saying to us all today. First of all -- God has given us the model for what our love is supposed to be like. Jesus is the model! The key verses state that since Jesus gave up His life for us we ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. Not necessarily taking a bullet for each other but figuratively understanding that as a Christian my life now needs to be about Jesus and His bride, our church. Our lives need to be about each other and not ourselves.

 

Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. -- John 12: 25 (NLT)

 

Let's face it, we love our lives in this world far too much even though the Bible says we are to be like pilgrims passing through, not residents. We need each other desperately beloved. Giving up our lives for each other requires depth. It requires moving past superficiality.

 

Next in the key verses it states that our guiding force should be compassion. Specifically, John uses physical needs as an example but it applies to all needs. If we have enough money how do we allow another brother to starve? If we have enough love from others, how do we not share that with people who desperately need it? If someone is hurting, how do we not stop our lives for five measly minutes to minister to them and pray with them? I know we are really good about saying that we will pray for them, but I mean actually stopping our lives to pray with them! Think about what we say to God when we refuse to stop our lives for someone else. We are talking about the God who regarded our helpless estate while we were still living in complete rebellion to Him and sacrificed His only Son anyway for us. Knowing that -- how can the love of God truly be inside of us if we will not stop and give back just a sliver of what we have received? Remember the Bible says it is like doing it unto the Lord Himself:

"Then these righteous ones will reply, "Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' "And the King will say, "I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' -- Matthew 25: 37-40 (NLT)

This is not some minor point of doctrine beloved. These are the words of Jesus Christ Himself. The embodiment of compassion requires that we respect His sacrifice enough to at least be compassionate towards each other.

 

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828ministries.com

Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
 

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