SHILOH MESSENGER - February 2018

















Relationships: How We Treat Others (pt 5)

In the process of growth in community, we continually come face-to-face with the fact that we have not yet arrived. God works through our circumstances and relationships to expose where He wants us to bring us to maturity next. The way we view the process will either cause us to work with or against the maturing process that Father God has ordained for our lives.

There are two chief obstacles towards participating with the growth process. The first is pride. The extent to which we harbor pride within our heart is the extent to which we will feel hurt when God exposes something immature within us. As we let go of our pride, we drop any need to keep a pretense that we’ve got everything worked out. We can embrace the joy of living in reality: we are all on a journey and each person needs to grow in different places.

The second obstacle is that a skewed view of God can cause us to approach the process of growth from the wrong starting point. In the process of pointing us towards our next phase of growth, we can begin to feel that God is unsatisfied with our current place of maturity. We can believe that God is upset because of issues that we feel we should have overcome by now.
The reality is that this kind of thinking projects an inaccurate picture of Father God. God is love, and love is always patient and kind, full of goodness and mercy and bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things (1Cor. 13). When the work of The Holy Spirit in our lives brings not-yet-redeemed sinful habits or other immaturities to the surface in our lives, this does not mean God is upset with us. It does not mean that God is on the verge of coming against us. It does not mean that God is removing favor from our lives; it means the Holy Spirit is allowing you to participate in the process of your growth.

As believers, we carry a wonderful amount of permission on our lives; when the Spirit of God starts to work in a specific area, permission to upgrade is implicit. The very nature of God’s activity points to the next area of freedom. When God works to expose immaturity in our lives, we are always faced with a choice: we can come down on ourselves for having another area in our lives that needs attention, or we can view it as a prophetic word of the freedom that God wants to bring us into.

I want to choose to believe that any character flaw that God exposes is a prophecy of freedom to me. God never starts a work that he has not planned to bring to completion:

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

None of us have arrived, and we don’t need to pretend that we have. God is at work in all of us; when God begins a process by exposing things in our lives, we can rejoice because we know the process of freedom has already begun. We can choose to agree with the upgrade and cooperate with our freedom, or we can choose to get upset and prolong the process.

When we learn to let go of our pride and really believe in the goodness of God, there is an incredible freedom. The process of growth is always in God’s hands, whether we believe it is or not:

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:5-6

I don’t even want to spend too much time watching my own process of growth. Why would I want to focus on that when I can focus on The Lord instead? God is the One able to keep us from falling, not ourselves: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy.” Jude 1:24

So, lets give our Heavenly Father every stronghold and let our strength come from The Holy Spirit who gives Light and strengthens our inner man. “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21. (*Some of the content in this newsletter is taken from Putty Putman’s teaching on “The Kingdom of God and ministry.”)


 

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