How do we mature?

Most of the time when time is opened up for people to step out in God people just do what they are used to doing, just sit. It’s not that they don’t want to have something to give, but they haven’t practiced or understood what God has prepared and equipped for them to do. Yes, you can’t do anything by yourself, but those who have Christ are never by their self, and God has prepared good works for us to do.

How do we change this response? How do we stop ourselves as leaders feeling like we need to be what always fills the space? How do we train and equip the body to be the body in and out of the church? Out is easier but how about in? How about in our homes as well and in our relationships. This is where some of the issues start, in the home. Who we are in the home will be who we are publicly. How can we support this cultural change?

Getting ready to grow

I have a promise I constantly calm my fears with to see iniquity breaking off the land for seed preparation. Part of the promise is divine sanctification, with Jesus being the seed. I had a picture of a scan revealing the early stages of pregnancy during worship today. For many, this is the condition of their lives with God, pregnant with the revaluation of Jesus and overcome with excitement like a couple who are anticipating their first child. For just as Mary responded to the word of the Lord that she would carry the savior, God is asking us to cry “let it be to me according to your word”. What is He speaking into the womb of your heart? What is your call? What is the call of the church, the global church, and what is your part in making it happen?

The soil of our hearts needs greater sanctification so His visitation is fruitful. Every item used in the temple had to be ceremonially washed, sanctified, and set apart for its role in worship.

But How does this happen?

Like the cell division in the development of a baby in a womb, the presence of the Lord brings the development of life to His word and gifts he gave the church.

There is a pillar of fire, His presence, at work and like an egg cell of praise where a transforming momentum of life begins to live. This life of Freedom to live in God and Him in us is being birthed by His sacrifice and resurrection power as a gift.

This reality is being contended for and a birthing of this to ignite a outpouring of God’s power. Heidi Backer, Bill Johnson and especially Mario Murillo in His book “Critical Mass” all speak of coming to the end of their self as they entered the point of birthing what God has been doing in their lives. It’s also like a picture of nuclear fission were you put pressure on a cell till it almost collapsed then blast it with a laser right at the core. All the power inside is then released and starts a train reaction. Birthing the revaluation of Jesus in power.

The change begins

This is really encouraging when at points we feel pressed in on every side. Waging war when all hope seems gone. Speaking life into the bones.

If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5

The reality is God calls us to surrender so He can do the impossible, through the gifts He gave to the church through Jesus.

Its wild seeing glimpses of what God is doing, like being stirred to pray for people. My daughter, Eva, and I prayed with a man in the hospital waiting room. Susie, my wife, and Eva later in the afternoon also were moved to pray and hug a homeless guy. Eva hugged him so much she even got beard rash on her cheek.

Now we might not have a clear idea of what is going on but we are trying to keep sensitive and follow His lead as we seek to be obedient. These are all symptoms of this birthing we are speaking of happening in our hearts and fruits of practicing what is in us as we listen and respond to God.

 

What Does it look like?

Like so many who God is stirring up to see His kingdom come, I’ve been asking what does it look like? Is there any adjustments needing to be made in our structure of living out church as the body of Christ to be ready for what we are pregnant with?

So what does the Word of God have to say about this situation? Obviously we are talking about those who are pregnant with the word of God on their lives. We are talking about being ready to do the good works God has prepared for us to do.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

There are so many elements to this we could focus on but let’s look at what these good works are doing.

in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. Eph 2:21

So they are fitting us together to be a holy temple in Jesus where God dwells. Now let’s look at what this looks like.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. Eph 4: 4-6

So we are all fitted together to be this place of dwelling, Christ’s body, with Jesus as the head.

This is how Jesus put’s it.

that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:21

This is defiantly what is being built, a living temple in whom He lives.

Is God changing things to answer Jesus’s prayer? What has God given us to live this prayer out?

But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. One Body with Many Members. For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 1Co 12: 7-12

 

What are the gifts for?

for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Eph 4:12-13

We are coming into unity, but what kind of unity? As we truly let the Lord, through the gifts he has given, lead there is coming a unity. Many try gaining unity in a church community under a leader and the leader suffers from exhaustion, anxiety and finds himself unable to build a body of believers as we read in the bible. Leadership structure ministries leave the responsibility of building and what is being built to the leader, but is this what we read in this passage? This passage talks about the building up of the body of Christ by the gifts. All of His body. Building up for what?

 

until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Eph 4:13

 

To be mature saints.

Growing up, mature

How do we become mature saints? In the knowledge of the Son of God, the unity of the faith, the fullness of Christ in us. This isn’t just understanding how we do things locally under a leader. It’s about what God is doing with the gifts He gave to the whole body of Christ to reveal His Son and a unified understanding of this as a whole, globally. Yes, there are local expressions of this and as He guides us into His unity we find ourselves echoing each other because we are all hearing the same voice, His. This is about the global reality of Jesus revealed. It’s big.

 

We need each other

We need each other and the gifts they have. Small groups need all the gifts (harder if a small group), churches need all the gifts found in the smaller groups. Communities need all the gifts found in the churches. Counties need all the gifts found in the communities. You get the picture. The problem is lack of trust brings isolation and control. We need all the gifts. Only when we recognize what God is saying and building through all the gifts will this maturity be manifest. If we don’t give time and space in our lives, habits and structures to listen, exercise, develop, be influenced by, walk out and value these gifts as a body we will not mature.  Globally – One faith, one baptism, one body. Jesus in the church by every gift He gave the church as He rose from the dead. Resurrection power.

When we isolate ourselves, individually or church bodies, we cut ourselves off from what these other gifts are bringing. When we look at the river coming from the throne it heals all the waters except those who are isolated swamps. So we need to ask our self’s some important questions.

How do we support direction without isolation?
How do we lead as a body locally and globally?
How do we overcome strongholds in others without supporting isolation?
How do we not get entangled in isolating leadership structures yet bring the people in them into the body?

We need all the words God is speaking to the church and the gifts He has given His body to be nurtured into mature saints. This will bring about the unity God is bringing to answer Jesus’s prayer of:

that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:21

This isn’t unity by working with every single churches doctrine, but working with what the gifts are doing in them as Christ is revealed. Not isolating ourselves because we see flaws.

So let’s let God make the necessary changes in how we live out being the body of Christ so the world may believe God sent Jesus.