The Single Reality (Part 9)

Is Our House Divided?

A house divided against itself cannot stand, Mark 3:25

Today, I wanted to talk about something that touches my heart- Division within the Body of Christ. We learn from childhood to separate things into categories and lump things that are similar together. It is engrained into our minds to put labels on people and to associate with people who are similar. Our eyes have been trained to separate what is different. It can be a detrimental thing, for a house divided against itself cannot stand. Division is a way to destroy something or minimize its strength. Unity is powerful. One of the reasons I started this series was due to numerous blogs for married couples, engaged couples, those dating, and I could find very few that focused on single life as a Christian. If I did find one, they were geared towards getting a person to the altar instead of living a fulfilled life as a single person.

We Are In This Together….

As part of one race, the human race, we are all connected and sharing a planet. As part of Christ’s body, we are all connected by God’s Spirit. We belong to one another. In relation to single people versus married people we have some obstacles to overcome.

1. Separate Fellowship. Single and married people are to fellowship together within the body. God never intended for singles to only interact with singles and married people to only interact with other married people. He has a view of unity and community where His entire church body comes together and works together to give the world a picture of what He is like. Both groups are equal in His eyes. He sees one body, not a divided one. One is not more important that the other. They are to work together to display His Glory.

2. Isolation. I’ve met many single people who feel more and more isolated as their friends get married. Some lose their friends. Some have no community or family of their own. God never intended for anyone to feel left out, isolated, or without community. Check out the verses below from the church in Acts.

The Fellowship of the Believers

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved, Acts 2:42-47.

The church was unified and they grew. They helped each other and supported one another. This is a true picture of a house undivided.

3. My Status Is Better Than Your Status. What a great way to keep us from loving one another than to create a world of, “My status is better than your status.” Our identity cannot be rooted in our status. Our  identity is to rooted in Christ. If our identity is rooted in Christ then we view others as a part of our spiritual family. In His eyes, we are all His children, all heirs; no status is more valuable or important. There is no “us” versus “them”. Neither status makes us greater in God’s eyes.

4. My Family Versus God’s Family. Having our own families, caring for them, and making them a priority is important. However, there is God’s family that we are called to invest in as well. Investing in His family can include serving, volunteering, making disciples, and/or developing friendships. In God’s eyes all who are in Christ are family.  We may not want to invest in anyone other than our own biological family, but we have another family as well, our spiritual family.

Prayer:

Abba, I pray that our identities are rooted in You. May we be unified and not divided. Help us to see each other through Your eyes. Help us to view single life or married life the way You do. May our eyes be fixed on You. In Jesus name, Amen.

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The Single Reality (Part 6)

Covenant Friendship

When you are not married there are questions that pop up such as, “Who will be my witness? Who will share my life with me? Who will be my family? Who will care for me when I am old?” Married people have someone who has promised to love them for better or for worse. They have someone who interacts with them regularly. They have a person who cares about the details of their lives. They have a witness. If you are single, who do you have? Of course for believers, we have Jesus. However, there is someone else that we can share our lives with as well. It’s a covenant friend.

What is a covenant friend?

A covenant friend is someone you are committed to love for life.

God has a covenant with His people. He will not break His covenant. A covenant is a promise.

Covenant friendship is a willingness to lay down one’s life for the other person, it involves sacrifice. It is sacrificial love. In a godly context it is a oneness in spirit, a linkage by the Holy Spirit.

Example of covenant friends: David and Jonathan, 1 Sam 20.

Think of David and Jonathan in the Bible. They had a covenant friendship, a promise to love, protect, and be there for each other for life. What were some of the characteristics of their friendship?

1. Loyalty. They refused to betray one another. Jonathan would not surrender his friend to his father Samuel. He chose to protect his friend even with the possibility of being harmed.

2. Trust. There was complete trust between David and Jonathan. They had each other’s best interest at heart.

3. Transparency, Vulnerability, and Accountability. These two men were willing to be vulnerable, transparent, and accountable to each other. They had no fear. They were able to expose their souls to one another and know that the other person would do what was best for them. Not only was there intimacy (transparency and knowing each other), they were willing to hold each other to God’s standards.

4. One in Spirit. They both loved God and were one in spirit. There was no division over who they were serving. They both believed and were committed to God.

5. Mutual Service. David and Jonathan had a relationship of give and take. They supported one another 100 percent. They took care of each other. Even after Jonathan’s death, David cared for his disabled son.

6. Protection. These two men sought to protect each other.

7. Genuine Love. David and Jonathan loved one another as God loved them. They demonstrated their love for one another with patience, kindness, godly affection, support, encouragement, protection, and friendship.

8. Honesty. David and Jonathan were honest with one another.

So where do you find a covenant friend? I would say pray for one or a community of them. You would think that any person who believes in Jesus is a good match. I have found that is not true. Though you may find a covenant friend in your church, God may send you a covenant friend from across the  world. I have a friend who lives in Brazil. We met on a mission trip. As soon as I met her, I knew we’d be friends for life. We pray for each other. We protect each other. We correct each other in love. We support each other. We seek God for each other. She is interested in the details of my life. It’s a give- give relationship. It’s a win, win. God will put us on each other’s minds and we pray. Distance isn’t an issue. I can say I would lay down my life for her. I love her with my life, and I trust her.

I have another friend who has a community of covenant friends. They live like family. They don’t simply hang out and have fun. They point each other to Jesus. They are there for one another. They share resources. If one person is lacking, they as a community will help out. No person is alone or without support. The community has married couples, families, and singles. Together, they are one big family under the parenting of God. I believe the model they follow, is what Jesus intended for church community.

Prayer for you:

Abba I pray for everyone who reads this blog to have a covenant friend or covenant friends. People they can share life with, find support, encouragement, love, protection, accountability, family, and so much more. Knit them tightly with people who will love them the way you love them. If they already have covenant relationships, bless those relationships. Keep them from division, strife, pain, hurt, or offense. Build a wall of protection around them. In Jesus name, Amen.

Relationship or Fellowship

The church I have been attending has been doing a series on 1 John called Walking in the Light.  It’s been a great series. Here are some thoughts from the teachings and teaching points.
 
What is the ultimate cause of the church?

God’s greatest cause is His Glory (His reputation) which is revealed through Christ.  We exist to bring God Glory. We also glorify God when we fellowship with His Body (other believers).

Fellowship or Relationship?

Relationship is different from fellowship. A person can have a child and be related to them, but have no fellowship with that child. We can be related to one another in the body of Christ by His Spirit and have no fellowship with each other.

What is Fellowship: Fellowship involves trust, intimacy, transparency (no masks or pretense), vulnerability, investment, common purpose, communion, submission, looking out for another person’s best interests, speaking the truth, correction and rebuking, edification, encouragement, and affirmation, and helping another person become more like Christ, mourning with those who mourn, and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Fellowship often involves covenant commitment. Fellowship involves mutual serving. Fellowship is a heart to heart connection, not just a face to face connection.

Fellowship has a purpose and is not a aimless activity. 

Many will claim relationship or being related to God who have no fellowship with Him.  We claim fellowship with one another in Christ, but are we simply relating and having aimless relationships and not fellowship?

Christian love is the act of serving each other and helping each other to become more like Christ. The purpose of Christian discipleship is intentional time spent to point each other back to the gospel. What does God’s word say? What is God speaking? Are we pointing people to Jesus, helping them become all that they can for Him, or are we simply spending time? Are we watching a person self destruct to for fear of man, or are we willing to tell a person that God’s plan is so much better? The pastor told the story of having spinach in his teeth. He said a person who loves you will tell you that your teeth are filled with spinach. They won’t let you walk around with gunk in your teeth. The same goes for us. If we can watch each other suffer, hurt, sin, and not help, we are guilty of not walking in love.

Summary:

I believe there is tremendous fruit when the purpose for being with someone is known, when the vision is shared, when there is a heart to heart connection, when the common purpose is glorifying God. I believe that fellowship was and is God’s design, not relationships as we have them. I believe God meant for us to do life together and point each other to Him. I believe He intended for us to serve one another continually, not just be served.  I believe that a church built on mutual love, service, accountability, unity, common purpose, and Jesus centered relationships will change the world. I believe we can change the world if we continue to ask the questions, “

How can I help this person be more like Jesus? How can I encourage this person to be more like Jesus? How can I pray for this person to be more like Jesus? Who does God want my heart connected to? Who does God want me to invest in for the Kingdom? Where and with whom should I spend my time serving? Is God being glorified by my relationships and how I spend time?”

 

Abba I pray that You would bring believers into our lives that we can grow with. Partner us up with others to have heart to heart connections and not just face to face encounters. Send people our way who will continually point to You and encourage us to be more like You. Send us people who will love as You love, speak as You speak, and those who help fulfill Your purposes for our lives. Help us to have God centered fellowship. Help us to use our time to be the most impactful for the Kingdom. Use us and spend us like Your spare change. Keep the focus on what You want to do in and though us. Help us to serve. Help us to love. Help us to disciple each other and the nations. Thanks for all You’ve done. Amen.

 

Have a wonderful week. You are deeply loved.