Tag Archives: Body of Christ

Results and Relationship: It’s Time to Abide

Recently I have embarked on another level of spiritual growth on the issue of being versus doing. God has shown me how often I was grading my relationship with Him based on how I feel or what I accomplish. Likewise, I have realized the Body of Christ as a whole tends to struggle with this issue.

As Christians we often declare that life with God is about relationship not religion. But we have often replaced relationship with another form of activity, one of seeking for results. Religion’s traditions, rituals and rules have been replaced with a striving to produce and see results.

In our quiet times with God, we often grade ourselves. Did we feel His presence tangibly, did we accomplish a lot in prayer or studying the Word? Often we do not even recognize we are viewing our time based on what we feel or accomplish ourselves.

We may even try Christian self-help strategies hoping for more answers to prayer. Yet life with God is primarily about friendship with Him, not getting our prayers answered. Prayers come as the fruit of that loving relationship.

In our congregations, we tend to base a successful outreach on how many people were saved or healed. Sometimes we even go after marketing strategies in attempts to get more results. But human methods will eventually fade.

At times we even view small churches as less than, or having something wrong. Nonetheless,  numbers and results we see are not necessarily an indicator of God’s approval or lack thereof.

God loves us before we accomplish anything. He is a God of relationship and love, not performance. Before Jesus had done any ministry, the Father’s declaration over Him was that He was well-pleased (Mark 1:11).

Numbers and results are not necessarily an indicator of God’s approval or the lack thereof. God loves us before we accomplish anything. He is a God of relationship and love, not performance.

It’s time for a 180. In John 15, Jesus said we would bear fruit (results) if we abide in Him (relationship). Only if we abide.

The Lord wants good fruit in our lives, but it cannot come unless we cultivate an ever deepening companionship with Him. And the fruit that comes through this friendship will alone be lasting.

This is the relationship Jesus opened up to us through His sacrifice on the Cross. This is the relationship we want others to enter into through our outreach. How can we tell them of their own need for relationship with the Creator if we ourselves are not truly pursuing it?

Abide in Christ, then fruit will come. Without abiding in Christ, we cannot truly know the heart of the King whose Kingdom we represent. Without abiding, we cannot rightly display the great love which He has for others.

May we set our hearts on knowing Jesus. We do not want to be hindered by our desire for results or to prove we are doing enough. May it be that we come to the place of knowing we are loved by God and rest in this truth.

As we love and obey the Father’s leadership, we can trust Him with the results. Let us choose to take Jesus at His Word, which He still proclaims to us today:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 (NKJV)

A Time to Pray: Season of Intercession

The Word of God speaks of a time and season for everything under Heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Prayer is to be a constant in our lives as believers, but in this season, a specific call to prayer and fasting for revival and awakening has been released across the Body of Christ.

The Lord is calling us to a season of fasting and prayer for His redemptive purposes: That whosoever would come, be saved, revived, and set free.

Beloved reader, I also want to invite you to actively take part in this season of prayer.

God longs to do above all we could ask or imagine as we pray His purposes, seek His face, and follow His ways. Our nation is in great need of God. Likewise, the Church is in need of reawakening to intimate relationship with Jesus unto doing the greater works of the Kingdom.

The latter is especially crucial to the coming of the promised Harvest.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 AMP, emphasis added)

We have not because we ask not; at times, we also have not because the answers only come when we pray God’s desires instead of our own (James 4:2-3). As we seek to hear His still small voice, we will know more readily what to pray. Let’s join our hearts together with God’s, praying His redemptive plans and asking Him to do what He longs to do.

Our intercession is treasured by Heaven as we pray in agreement with the Father’s heart: On earth as it is in Heaven.

Call to Action: Make Time to Pray

In order to be productive in prayer, we must first set aside regular times to do so.

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Spiritual Discernment for Those Seeking Wisdom, Counsel, Accountability & Prayer

It is important for us to be cautious regarding those we allow to speak into our lives and who we seek out for counsel, mentoring, ministry, or spiritual direction. We must truly know those we speak to about our lives and the deepest parts of our hearts when we are hurting, venting, or needing counsel.

Do these individuals pursue God’s heart? How well do we know them and they us? Do they truly know our heart in God, even when we are struggling or have a bad day? Allowing others to speak into our lives is not a matter to take lightly.

People who do not truly have God’s heart or who are still maturing in Christ can gossip, misjudge, or even slander us after we have shared from the deepest places of our hearts or a time of trial to them, especially if they are not who they present themselves to be.

Usually this is not the case with a leader, mentor, or counselor who God has called into ministry, but at times we also confide in our peers and fellow siblings in Christ. They may be gifted prophetically or with wisdom, but they may not yet have the wisdom to respond rightly to hurts or tough situations we are facing (and of course we all respond wrongly at times). These unfortunate occurrences can bring more harm than the situation we’re facing has already brought forth.

When we give someone authority to speak into our lives or keep us accountable, we are entrusting our hearts to them, giving them a place in our lives. This is a place that should only be reserved for those God has appointed to such an opening in our journey.

This does not mean we need to experience an extensive show from God to communicate to us that a person is to be connected to us in such a way. It means we need to have peace from God that they are the ones we look to for wisdom and accountability.

We must be able to see the fruit of His Spirit in their lives and that they are abiding in Christ and His Word. We must see from the way they treat us and speak to us that they are truly for us as Jesus is, desiring to see us grow and flourish in Him. Moreover, they must be people who truly have and pursue His heart, consecrated apart from the world’s seemingly wise ways.

In addition, advice that comes cloaked in what appears wise may not always originate from God. To spot the difference, we must be growing in our own intimate relationship with Jesus and in the knowledge of His Word by the help of His Spirit. We must take it to Him, asking Him to show us if this is what He is saying and whether it lines up with His Word, unless what was spoken was a confirmation of His Word and instruction to us already.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the elementary principles of this world, rather than following [the truth—the teachings of] Christ.” – Colossians 2:8 (AMP 2015)

From another perspective, we must ask ourselves:

Are we confiding in people we should not, for instance, making a phone call to someone to vent or using our social media accounts to ask for prayer when we are feeling desperate for a resolution or for comfort only Holy Spirit can provide? In all things, especially in trying situations, we must first go to Jesus.

This lack of discretion can also open us up to misunderstandings and wrong perceptions from those who we might think we know well but do not, especially relating to Facebook and other online outlets. We don’t know them enough to truly trust them unless we have a deep relationship with them, most likely offline, and even then we must see God’s character shown in their lives.

Furthermore, our emotions may be taking the front seat, speaking what the enemy of our souls is saying instead of asking God what He has to say and speaking only what edifies. When emotions run high, God is teaching me that it is not only best, but crucial to speak and meditate on His words of life and truth, praying in the Holy Spirit rather than partnering with the enemy.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” – Proverbs 18:21 (AMP 2015)

Through personal experiences and fellow leaders’ godly wisdom, I have been taught that it is best to have five or fewer individuals that you seek for counsel, and even prayer in emotional times. God will give you clarity regarding those who are trustworthy, honoring, and follow the leading of His Spirit. In trials and challenges none of us need the additional burden of someone throwing stones of condemnation.

Here are several questions to consider before designating someone as a counselor, mentor, spiritual director, or accountability partner in our lives.

• Has God truly connected you to them as one you can seek for counsel, mentoring, or accountability, or are you just talking to them because you are desperate for someone to listen or tell you what you want to hear?
• Is the person stable, and grounded in Christ and His Word? Is this obvious in their lives and by the way they are living?
• Do they profess Jesus and pursue His heart before other things, even when it is inconvenient or His will differs from their own?
• Are they themselves submitted and accountable to godly counselors, pastors, or other apostolic leaders in an authentic way?
• Is their identity in Christ and who He says we are (sons/daughters/His Bride) instead of in what they do, their calling, title or lack thereof?
• Is the person invested in God’s interests or their own? Are they motivated by God’s love or their own gain or a need to be needed?
• Do they vent about their own situations (past or present) when you are trying to seek their counsel or ask for prayer?
• When they deliver correction, is it led by God and His love, humility and patience, or is it laced with the poison of self-seeking, condemnation, control or irritation?

May these questions bring help and healing to those needing godly mentors, prayer partners, and counselors in their lives. I am immensely grateful for the pastors, leaders, and other mentors God has brought into my life, and I pray that you also have God-given counselors and accountability partners in your life. If you have no one like this in your life, ask Father God. He will come through!

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” – James 3:13-18 (NASB)

Uniquely Made for Your Calling in the Lord

Each of us has been uniquely made by God, intricately woven by Him. Each of us have a unique personality, and a calling that has unique facets unlike another’s.

I can’t live out your calling and you can’t live out mine. Even though we may even have the same calling in name, we are all unique in how God made us in so many ways and in how we will walk out the furthering of His Kingdom on the earth. Even where the Lord calls us geographically or our place in life is unique.

We are all passionate about different facets of His ways and none of these are higher or better than another, except LOVE, which is what we are ALL called to. Don’t let anyone tell you that the way you live out your calling for God must look just like someone else’s. Go to God, ask Him to show you who He is, who you are in Him, and your destiny in Him as He designed it to be. Then go live that out in partnership with Him.

He has “co-missioned” the unique you to do greater works co-laboring with Him.

My Testimony

I personally have had to struggle when hearing about certain callings and used to feel such guilt and condemnation because the way I was walking in God did not look like how they were walking. One day during this season of my life, God told me personally and unexpectedly, “I have given you all My gifts through the SONG.”

I have never forgotten that. He continued to speak to me that He was going use me in this way to bring healing, salvation, and deliverance to people as I heard the song of the Lord and sang it to the people. Until He brought restoration to me, the prophetic flow in my life was completely shut down through this struggle.

Sometimes I still get triggered in this when I hear preaching about evangelism, healing and related things in the form of going to the streets or stores. I still have to pick myself back up at times and remind myself that God uses me as His vessel to release His heart through song to heal people’s hearts and bring deliverance. He even once told me that the part of His Body that represented me was His heart. More and more He is solidifying my calling in Him and bringing greater layers of revelation and understanding in this.

Know that you’re not alone in your struggle as you walk out your salvation and calling. Keep pursuing God, asking Him the questions, expecting the answers, and seeing how He teaches you to walk in the unique calling He has placed on your life so that you can co-labor with Him in making the earth and its people look more like Heaven every day.

Remember to Give of Yourself: Encourage and Edify

No, I’m not speaking of tithes and offerings here, but of encouraging and serving.

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38 NLT)

We have such need for more “givers” in the Body of Christ. Givers who are intimately connected with the Father’s desire to pour out His life and words into others.

There are so many seeking a word, so many desiring encouragement and so many needy. Yet aren’t we ALL? Remember that as you trust God with your need by putting others first, through encouraging them or asking Him to give you a word of edification for them, what you pour out will be given back to you shaken, pressed together and with more added on top unto overflowing! And remember giving a prophetic word is simply asking God for a word to edify, or build up, one of your brothers or sisters in Christ.

So as you have need of encouragement, encourage another in need (without even mentioning your own). As you desire the Lord to speak a word to you through someone else, ask Him to give you an edifying word for someone else.

Actively seek to do this, and you too will be encouraged, edified and loved on by our gracious God! And remember, all who are His can prophesy! So try it, and trust God’s Spirit to lead and teach you as you do!