The Importance of Relationships- Choose to be the Gatekeeper of your Relationships.
I know it's been a long time, but I have a senior who is about to graduate and the word busy has given my life a new meaning. So, I decided to take a break last week and go to lunch with a friend, while we were enjoying our time together I began telling her how God has been showing me the importance of relationship in regards to the body of Christ as well as our personal relationships. While I was sharing she gave me a scripture, Ephesians 6: 15-16 (Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.) She went on to tell me that she has read this scripture so many times and kept asking God- "what were the ligaments?" And finally He showed her that the ligaments are the relationships within the body of Christ and they are essential. It's not enough to have a body but the body must be healthy and functioning properly in order to be effective in what it is called to do.
Immediately I was able to see it very clearly and understood why God has always had me stand in the gap to fight for relationships. God didn't just need a body, but He desires a strengthened body; not a fractured bride but a strong and radiant bride. When a ligament is torn it limits mobility in the body. The ligaments connects the bones and cartilages in our natural body; serving to support and strengthen the joints, which are the axes of movement. Now read Ephesians 6:16 again and just sit on this for a minute, until you are able to see why relationship is so important. Sit on it until you see why the enemy always attacks our relationships especially within the body of Christ. He keeps us divided and weakens our ability to move towards and in the things of God effectively; keeping us from being the extension of His Love in the earth realm.
The enemy never plays fair. He is not ethical; his plan is to kill, steal, and destroy what God has established as a core foundation for His body. One of the enemy's strategies is to disable the body! The sad part is we keep falling prey to his tactics; becoming the very vessels used to weaken the body. We have to become the gatekeepers of our relationships. Be on guard and protect what God himself is using to strengthen His body; He uses relationships because strong relationships = unity. Yet we are too busy fighting each other to win the title of "being right." Like my friend Kelsi stated, "Instead of trying to be right, let's be righteous." My friend Gina once told me that she heard the Lord ask her "how many times do you need to be right before you are wrong?" How long will we allow self-righteousness to be our voice of reason? How long will we allow our emotions to dictate our response? Our emotions are suppose to be a way to funnel & release what we are feeling, not to be our guide because they can often lead us into the wrong direction of thinking.
We have to stop spending our energy trying to prove who is wrong or right. How long will we continue to argue our theologies instead of allowing the theology of our lives to speak and defend itself.
I'm not saying we need to be foolish in building relationship with people, especially if a relationship has been previously fractured, but what I am saying is to love people in spite of their inadequacies, it cost us nothing but it cost Jesus everything. He went to the cross and paid the price for our punishment, yet we still want others to pay for theirs. It baffles me, we are suppose to forgive not because the people who hurt us made everything right, not because they publicly admitted they were wrong, or what our expectations of them are in order to forgive, but simply because our father in heaven forgave us. I wonder what would have happened if Jesus would have stood at the cross and said, "I'm going to get up there after mankind has learned their lesson, after I receive an apology for all they've done, and let's not forget they must be punished first." I am so grateful I serve a merciful God.
Now, one of the reasons the body continues to be weakened is because of the spirit of offense, which is so rampant in our churches and in our personal lives. I have to tell you that if you have the spirit of offense, more than likely, you are walking in unforgiveness. That's why every time someone does something that reminds you of that familiar place of pain and/or betrayal, etc., you respond out of the spirit of offense. It's time to be free people! We have to stop holding on to nonsense. Let Go and Let God! People don't define or control us. We are responsible for our actions even if another person had a role in the situation. For years I blamed everyone for the many disappointments and pain in my life, but I had to stop and look at the man in the mirror. I was accountable for the decisions I made in spite of the actions of others. In like manner we also need to free people- how long are we going to hold people in bondage to their past mistakes? Their mistakes do not define them, just like yours don't define you. If we don't learn to love one another, understanding we all are a work in progress and try to see the God in people then our relationships will remain is a desperate state and we will continue to be an open target for the enemy. If our ligaments (relationships) are not strengthened they can cause the body to fall. Remember it cost you nothing to forgive and love a person but it cost Jesus everything- He was humiliated, spit on, hit, flogged, His head pierced by thorns, it cost Him to be a man who knew no sin to bare our sins; to be separated from His heavenly father. I know it's easier said than done but we have the Holy Spirit, who is love and pours the love into us so that it can flow out of us. So all our excuses died on the cross! Remember apart from Him we can do nothing but with and in Him we can do all things. The enemy is very cunning and He knows in order to stop a move of God, he has to cripple the body. Don't allow the enemy to use inconsequential things or circumstances to tear, rip apart, twist, or over stretch the ligaments (relationships) within your body. Choose to be the gatekeeper of your relationships in and out of church. Protect them at all cost because the enemy is a coward and he using those who are close to us to hurt us. Be the one to stand at the gate and say you will not destroy my body! I will leave you with this; we don't fight against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Now that you know your real target, aim and fire! Be Ye encouraged and don't fall prey to being the vehicle in which the enemy uses to wreck the body!