Recently, I have been struggling with some issues that seem to be growing. Maybe I am the only one. As a body of believers many of us are relying on our perceived giftedness and not on the Lord or the Spirit. There is the prevailing wind that says “I have the gift of teaching, so I am the teacher of our group” or “I am the shepherd, so in all things shepherding, I am the expert”. You can insert any gift that you would like into the equation, but it is an idea that due to “my” giftedness, you need to tread softly when you come into “my” area.
When we gather as a body, I wish on some level we left our perceived giftedness at the door when we walked in. If you brought a teaching, GREAT! But don’t bring the flesh that states you are the only teacher into the room. If you think you have the gift of prophesy, OUTSTANDING, but don’t think that you have that market covered. If you feel that you are the shepherd of the group…WELCOME, but please listen to what others are saying before you decide the direction that the group as a whole needs to go and how they need to view the body.
We really need to have a drastic shift away from what “I” brought, am bringing or can bring to one that is focused on what the Lord is doing in the body as a whole. What does Our LORD desire to come out of the time that we are meeting. What can I do, to encourage others to listen and share what the Lord is doing. When we lock ourselves into our giftedness, we are excluding others from entering into that same area. A person might not be a teacher, but that does not exclude them from being given a teaching from the Lord on occasion. We must be ready and willing to listen to them.
If we rest in our giftedness then we are resting in nothing more than selfish pride. We are seeing ourselves through the eyes of “I am better suited to do this than you are. The Lord has blessed me more in this area than you.” Unfortunately that takes the focus off of where it needs to be. The focus should not be on my gifts or my talents or my way of life. It should not be on my way of doing things or my great teachings. They must be on what the Lord desires of His people. In an organic church, the focus must be on what does the Lord want to do in this time, with these people. What does He desire to be revealed in this moment.
That leads me into the second area of struggle this week and that is if you want a true expression of Christ, a true expression of His Church, then we must be willing to take down our self imposed walls. Once we leave our gifts at the door, we must be ready and willing to take down our protective barriers. I know that this takes time, but we must step out on faith to share what is really going on inside of us with our brothers, sisters and the Lord. Meeting together, sharing some Scripture and a teaching or two are great, but sadly they are not what makes a true expression of Christ’s church. In order to fulfill what the Lord desires of His church there must be a dependency within the body on Him and His body. If we are to build each other up daily, then we must really know what is going on in someone’s life. We must be willing to share our struggles and our fears with the Body.
If we come to our meeting and never share who we are, then our brothers and sisters can never know how or what we need encouragement in. For example, if I walk into a meeting and state “When I am struggling, I find that I need to read more Scriputre and theses are the passages that help me…” That is great, but it is not letting anyone in to what the struggle is. When you are struggling with what? Are you angry, sad, depressed, dealing with feelings of failure, financial struggles, financial guilt for being successful. What is the root of the problem? What can we (as the body) do to help you in those matters?
If we are always dancing on the surface and simply sharing the end result, then we are not an organic expression of Christ, but are merely a Bible Study. I desire to build my brothers and sisters up daily. I desire to enter into their struggles with them and walk that extra mile with them, but in order to do that, we all must start tearing down our protective walls from the inside out.
For the last several months, I have walked out of meetings with the Body wondering what was missing. After much prayer and looking at what walls I might have up, I have found the above things to be huge factors. I am putting my name out there on the guilty list as well. I hold back what is truly going on with me and yet expect the meeting to somehow fix the problem or to find encouragement in the meeting. How can I have that expectation when I am not putting any of who I am out there? How can I expect daily admonishment, when no one knows what to say to me more than “Jesus loves you”.
What we must strive for and desire is an environment where no matter what is shared, the body we are a part of will love us through it. We must have an environment in which we feel safe enough to tear down our self-imposed walls that protect us from hurt and open them up to trusting the Lord and the body of believers that He has brought to us. We must learn to truly listen to not only the Lord, but our brothers and sisters as well. If we cannot do this, then we might as well go back to the same old way of doing things. We might as well be content with an impersonal worship service, and impersonal message delivered from a podium. We might as well get comfortable in a me and Jesus lifestyle.
Because no matter how many people come to our meetings, if we are not letting them into our lives…we cannot call ourselves an organic expression of Christ.