Really, I hoped to not be so “serious” and “spiritual” all the time on this blog . . . I’m just taken with this topic right now… someday soon (hopefully) I’ll have a “just for fun” blog…
Part 4: We go farther together.
This is one of the biggest hurdles for us in the Western world. We live individualistic lives in pretty much every area; we really don’t even have much of a grid for having any kind of “corporate” identity, wether it be in a family, a church, a community, whatever. We value our independance and personal journey. There is a reality to a personal journey and our relationship with God. However, it can’t just be “me and Jesus”.
See, there is ONE Body. And, the Father is preparing a Wedding (see Matthew 22) where there will be ONE BRIDE. Our identity will be so intertwined and connected with one another, that we can truly be called “one”. There’s no reference to the “harem” of Christ (heard that once and it stuck with me ;).
So, one person may speak of amazing personal revelations and experiences they have in the Lord. However, if that cannot find an expression that impacts others and draws all of us into more of the “fullness of Christ”, there’s a problem. As they say, “no man is an island”, I think the same concept is reflected in our life in the Spirit. Don’t get me wrong, we should ALL have a personal, private history with God. We cannot live off of another person’s pursuit of the Holy, some how siphoning spiritual reality when we haven’t pressed in ourselves. On the other hand, people who find no need for the corporate expressions of worship, and feel hindered because they just want to “go” in God, and others “just don’t understand” are missing out on the greatest blessing of all.
We ARE called to love God in the most extravagant personal, all-consuming way possible (first commandment: love God with everything). We are ALSO called to love others (second greatest command!). Our relationship to the Lord is intricately connected to the life and love we share with others.
God has a desire to cause us to attain to the “fullness of Christ” — to somehow grab hold of ALL that Christ is– but, it only happens in relationship to one another!! (see Ephesians 4:12-13, “. . . that the Body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the.. fullness of Christ). This is amazing, stunning, and challenging all at the same time!
Let me throw out a few of the most startling Scriptures related to this:
Paul prayed…”that you may be able to comprehend together with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19
Paul prays that we would comprehend the great love of God — and be filled with the fullness of God — but only in the context of “wiith ALL the saints”. We get it TOGETHER.
the commanded blessing: “See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard ……. for THERE the Lord commands the blessing — life forevermore.” Psalm 133:1-3
Not only is it GOOD and PLEASANT (that means God really likes it!), it says that He COMMANDS a blessing…. there’s a blessing that cannot be stopped, because it is commanded by God Himself!! It is an ETERNAL blessing, and powerful blessing: “life forevermore” — could that mean the RESURRECTION LIFE and POWER of Jesus????? We are supposed to have His POWER in us! So what could this commanded blessing and “life forevermore” contain??…….
This promise seems to be partly fulfilled in the book of Acts: “They were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house …. then there appeared to them tongues of fire, and one sat upon each of them, and everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:1-3) “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There wasn’t anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” (Acts 4:31-35)
Wow! Obviously as the people came together in Unity, great power was released! It’s awesome!
“And through the hands of the apostles, many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord at the Temple area known as Solomon’s Colonnade.” Acts 5:12… and more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord — crowds of both men and women…… Crowds came in from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.” Acts 5:14-16
I could happy to love Jesus in my little corner of life. But, He has SO much more for us! How could we not come together, and find out what the reality of knowing the FULLNESS of God is??