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The Gospel in a Word
If you had to explain the Gospel in just one word, it could be the word “relationship.”
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, His response spoke about relationship, with God, with self, and with others.
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all of Law and the Prophets. Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)
Not only did Jesus say these were the first and foremost commandments, but they are the foundation of everything: all the law and the prophets are based on this concept. Relationship is at the core of everything we are and everything we do!
Think about this:
- Salvation is about relationship with God
- Sanctification is about relationship with God and others
- Baptism in the Holy Spirit is about relationship with the Holy Spirit
- Prayer/Intercession is about relationship with God and others
These are just a few of the foundations of our faith that are intrinsically linked to relationship.
The Area of Enemy Attacks
Relationship is the area where the enemy works the hardest to cause us to fail, because if we fail in this area, we have no testimony!
God’s purpose is to reveal Himself and to make Himself known through His people. He has chosen us to live in His Presence and to behold His glory so we will reveal His glory in the earth.
21 that they all may be one…that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; John 17:21-23 (NKJV)
So, the demonstration of the way we live and love will display to the world that the Kingdom of God has come in their midst.
Recently, I was reading through I Corinthians with its wonderful teachings about growing in Godliness, pursuing Holiness, the Walk of Faith and Keys to Renewing Church Life. I was particularly struck with the portion which speaks about divisions in the church.
For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? I Cor 3:3 (NKJV)
Divisions come because of sin. Rather than living out of righteousness and the new man, we sometimes find ourselves reacting, thinking and speaking out our past sinful ways. Things like defensiveness, blame, negativity, self-protection, attitudes, hurt, anger, fear of intimacy, and an unhealthy view of yourself can be the hidden issues of the heart which causes us to respond in sinful, hurtful ways. If we are to look honestly within ourselves we could say there are times we feel annoyed, closed of heart, times we pre-judge or label people. These things counter that which God has purposed - to reveal Himself and His glory. We can become like smudged lanterns that have difficulty letting the light through.
Relationship is lived out in our daily lives with those God has placed closest to us. Those we live with, work with, and interact with on a regular basis. It is in these life developing situations where our attitudes, impatience, negativity, hurt, anger, irritations, unkindness, unloving and ungrateful ways seem to emerge. Thankfully, we are with people we love and who love us, so the opportunity to humble ourselves, admit our shortcomings and acknowledge our sin becomes easier to do.
A primary strategy of the enemy, specifically against the Body of Believers, is to cause division on every level of relationship: Between people in congregations, between husbands and wives, children and parents, friend between friend, co-worker and co-worker. His goal is to distort the image of God in the earth and to pre-empt a coming move of God.
In Christ Jesus-Our Defense
I believe this is one of the reasons we have taken the truths of God’s Word into our hearts in deeper ways. We are seeing what it means to re-frame everything! Our perceptions, our mindsets and our language must change as the Holy Spirit continually conforms us to the image of Christ.
We are a people learning to live in our new identity.
We are a people who live on the other side of the cross.
We are a people who embrace the process of a new way of life in Christ Jesus.
Process is to be enjoyed, embraced, and it will be enduring. We will always be in process.
However, if we set ourselves to enjoy the journey, we will be delighted at the very real changes we see taking place.
Intentionally pursue unity.
Do not give place to divisiveness or competition.
Recognize that division is sin. It is a place in your heart where God is pointing you to your next upgrade of freedom.
Aglow is in the practice of building people.
God is in the practice of building a people for His glory.
We can’t lose! We are on the winning team.