Jody and I had a head on collision with God in January 1998, and truly we have never been the same since. It has been an explosive adventure to say the least. We have been through many great and joyous times, but also suffered many traumatic situations that shook us to our very core. Both the positive and painfully negative incidents have been an essential ingredient to bring us into all that God is teaching us, and preparing us for!
Only recently, have I come to understand a very vital concept to help me clearly discern whether I am truly in the epicentre of God’s perfect will. In the past, I would have been blinded by gifting and anointing on an individual. There have been times when I have been blown away by a minister or a ministry with a powerful demonstration of the ‘power of God’ operating through them. On these occasions I started to follow that ministry very closely. There have been other times when I have been so impressed with the songs of worship coming out of a ministry, and many times, I have followed that ministry closely, for a season.
There have been other times when I have been attracted to different ministries who have apparently discovered a special, deeper revelation on how to achieve complete healing of the body, soul and spirit, through them. Some of these roads have taken me to refreshing streams, and some of them led to a dead end, or worse.
I am truly grateful to God for all of these seasons in my walk with Jesus, and I have learned lots during the process. Only recently, God has begun to show me something. He created us to be able to function beautifully as a loving community. He created us as His ‘family’. The greater Christian Church has been through a time where we have seen many rising Christian stars gaining great notoriety in the media. I believe God is now moving us into a focus of family first. We are learning to function as His own family, in a healthy community setting. Our natural families are very important as well, but for the sake of this article, I am focussing on the spiritual family..
We have also seen many mighty and anointed ministers fall into sin over these last many years, and it is grievous and tragic! We must all be on guard, and on alert for the deceptions and alluring bait of the enemy. None of us is immune to Satan’s crafty tactics. I see much more clearly now that we need to learn to thrive surrounded by a healthy loving Christian community. To me it seems certain that herein lies the shalom of God. Otherwise, all of our anointing and gifts are somehow off line. The anointing is from God, and the gifts are from God. Living and loving in a community, as a giving and receiving member of that community, reveals the true health of our hearts. There was an old Billy Preston song with these lyrics “That’s the way, God planned it. That’s the way God wants it to be!”
If we have a hard time sharing and humbling ourselves in this type of family setting, there is a chance that we have hidden, unhealed pain from the past. This past pain may be adversely affecting our behaviour and viewpoints right now in the present. In all things there must be a balance. Some ministries believe every answer lies in ‘inner healing’. Even if some
people lean particularly heavily on just inner healing, this does not negate the positive effects and spiritual freedom I, and many others have experienced through these ministries.. I am very grateful for the love and compassion showered on me, and many others by these precious saints.
Community living as an active giving and receiving member is becoming very important to my heart lately. I am a ‘recovering judgemental person’ who daily repents for the past defensive decisions about and toward certain Christian people and ministries. Oh how my heart is grieved with the number of times I have judged harshly. Even now, as I write this, my heart
burns in pain for my past thoughts and actions against my family members.
God uses ‘ALL’ His body to work with ‘ALL’ His body. We are not to think of ourselves as ‘special’ or ‘elite’! In the depth of my heart, I now know that this is so wrong and grieves the Father’s heart! I am grieved when I grieve His heart! We grow beautifully when we can set aside our factions and peculiarities, and love each other as God intended. The barometer for
me is whether we can give and receive in this type of community. If we are always giving and never able to receive, or always receiving but not able to give, we are usually in need of help and healing. That help comes from the very community (or communities) that God has personally chosen for us. All the flaws and patience-testing frustrations of that living and breathing group of people tests us for sure. It is exactly as the Father arranged, for the maturity and growth of the community as a whole and for us personally.
The concept is not a commune, although it might be for some. The concept is not some other wild idea that may be coming to mind for you right now, although it might be. We are to be fiercely adherent to the infallible Word of God in all of our decisions. This is our determining measuring line. All else takes a back seat to His Word! The next time you wonder whether a ministry or a minister is trustworthy, look at the fruit, and investigate how he or she works with others. If this area of their lives is out of balance, be very careful. It is possible that as time goes on, there may be a hidden poison introduced to entice you away from the purity of the heart of God’s family.
We are called to ‘love’ not ‘condemn’! Healing is not a microwave solution. God strips layer after layer away, getting us closer and closer to the untainted heart that Jesus gave us.