Christ, Our Fellowship, Part 7

December 21, 2015 at 2:18 PM 1 comment

lazarus_resurrectionIn essence, fellowship is enjoyed with God when we are partnered with Him to accomplish His plans and purposes…whatever they happen to be. We cannot fellowship with God unless we are first and foremost, recipients of salvation. That is the very first step and a must for anyone who wants to draw close to God in fellowship.

It is after we have received salvation, we are then in the position of being able to enter into fellowship with Him. Even then, we cannot fellowship from afar, by doing our own thing. It is only when we partner or join with Him to accomplish His purposes for our lives and this world that true fellowship occurs. Too often, it would seem, we Christians are trying to do it the other way around. I’ve certainly been guilty of that. Have you?

We spend time trying to figure out what God “wants” for us when in reality, what He wants is for us to “see” Him doing the things He is doing and join Him in it. I think this is the very clear reason why James explains it like this:

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.…(James 4:14-16).

What James says is true. While we might plan things to do tomorrow, there is no way we can know for certain that the plans we make will come to fruition. James is not saying we should avoid making plans. He is saying that we should make our plans and commit them to God, understanding that our plans can be sidetracked by other things He brings into our lives.

It’s interesting how many times I can look back over my life and see where I have asked – even begged – God to bring something about, never bothering to learn if it was actually His will in the matter or not. Eventually, I found out whether it was by nothing whether it came to pass or not. Still, even praying for something to happen should make us be a bit leery unless we know for certain that God wants to bring that request to fruition. This is the very reason why James says we should pray “if the Lord wills” whenever we bring a request to Him. We are fallen human beings and naturally given to seeking self and selfish desires. Beyond this, we only see our requests, but not how one thing might connect to another, nor can we even see how tomorrow will work out.

God doesn’t want to “bless” what we are doing. He wants us to partner with Him in what He is already doing! As we do, He will bless us because we are partnered with Him. Too often, we Christians have it completely backwards. I know I have in the past. God isn’t in heaven somewhere drawing up a His daily “to do” list containing His will for our lives that He wants us to learn about through prayer, trial, and error. God is working and He calls us to partner with Him on a daily basis. Spiritual insight brings us knowledge of what God is doing. Often, things will simply come our way that highlight what God is doing. When we see these things as opportunities to join in with Him, thereby serving Him, we will go deeper into fellowship with Him.

He doesn’t lead us out into the pasture and say, “Great, here you go. Enjoy! I’ll be over here if you need me.” He doesn’t bring us to the field, then leave us. He guides us out into the field because that is where He is going, then He remains with us.

God says, “Hey follow me! Partner with me! Let’s do this together.

Once again, God is working and we should be working as well, not on our plans and purposes, but on His plans and purposes.

But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” (John 5:17)

Jesus essentially told the religious leaders that since the beginning of time, God the Father had been working. Yes, He “rested” on the seventh day of Creation, not because He had to but as a pattern that we should follow. Generally speaking, God has been working to bring His plans and purposes to fruition (on earth as it is in heaven), since He first began to work in Creation. This is what Jesus was saying to the religious leaders. God the Father has always been working and I am working with Him to accomplish His purposes too! Jesus proclaimed that He constantly partnered with the Father to bring His will to the fore. He did this as a pattern that we should also follow. If so, then it stands to reason that the Father will help us understand this more, won’t He?

But how often do we Christians pray that God will reveal “His” will for our lives? How often do we pray that God will “bless” our endeavors as though knowing and doing His will (in our lives) is so completely distinct from what God is doing now anyway?

I am coming to the conclusion that much of what comes our way each day is God’s will for our lives. I base this on the experiences of Jesus Himself as well as the writings of Paul.

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus, (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:20).

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication, (Philippians 4:6).

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth, (Psalm 34:1).

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, (Hebrews 13:15).

Notice that on many occasions in Jesus’ life, He would try to separate Himself from people for the purpose of prayer or He would already be involved in prayer with the Father and a need would come His way. He would then leave His prayer time and attend to the need that presented itself. In reality, people who called out to Jesus were doing so as a form of prayer whether they realized it or not.

We see an example of this type of “prayer” in Mark 10:46-52 where the blind man calls out to Jesus, begging Him to have mercy on him and his blindness. Here is Mark 10:46-47.

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

This is literally a prayer from the man’s heart. It was this prayer that stopped Jesus from continuing on in spite of the fact that people around the blind man urged him to literally shut up.

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 48)

Ultimately, Jesus called the man to Him and because of this man’s faith in continued prayer, he was healed. The truth is that I wonder if sometimes, we don’t make discerning God’s will too difficult? Is it possible God puts things directly in front of us that He wants us to partner with Him in completing? I believe so.

If we are not mindful of the possibilities and potential that we face daily, we will likely miss what God is doing. He will still accomplish what He chooses to accomplish, but He will use someone else to do it.

If we take the life of Jesus to heart and understand the words of James and Paul quoted above seriously, we will be forced to conclude that God is in charge of the affairs of our life. He brings things to us that He wants us to partner with Him in accomplishing (in His strength, with His attitude, and for our growth and His glory). If we are too preoccupied with self – even trying to figure out what God wants us to do – there is a great chance that we will miss the boat completely.

Jesus was certainly a man of prayer and praise. Often, as He tried to find time to be alone with the Father, the crowds pressed in on Him. Crowds were just people filled with needs and they understood that Jesus was the Man who could help them with those needs. It appears that many things came into Jesus’ life were so ordered by God the Father even when He would try to be alone for just a few minutes, the crowds of people continued to seek Him out.

Because Jesus saw His life as a vehicle through which God the Father would and could bless others, this made Him an open channel of blessing, not giving any thought about His own resources or energy in the process. Jesus was concerned about partnering with the Father. He believed that the Father would provide the resources needed (even down to the requisite energy needed) to help with those needs.

Yet, there were also times when Jesus seemed not to care (though we know that is not true). Lazarus had just died and it took Jesus four days to arrive to his graveside. Was this an accident? Did Jesus not care about Lazarus or those who loved him? The narrative is found in John 11:1-44.

While Jesus could have arrived to the scene much earlier, He chose to take His time arriving. Why? What was the point? The point was to offer proof of His deity in the ability to raise Lazarus from the dead!

“This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)

Clearly, Jesus knew why Lazarus had died. Jesus understood the purpose. Had Jesus rushed to the scene, He might have raised Lazarus from the dead much sooner giving people the opportunity to say that Lazarus hadn’t really been dead but was likely just in a coma. As it was, “Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days,” (John 11:39).

There could be no debate. Jesus would actually raise someone from the dead! Jesus constantly saw the Father at work and partnered with Him in order to help complete the Father’s will. This is our calling as well. We’ll probably never be used by God to raise someone from the dead. We will probably be used for more of the seemingly mundane things, albeit extremely important things of God. We will do so by “looking” to see what the Father is doing. This is done by keeping our spiritual eyes open through prayer and also by simply keeping our physical eyes open to see what the Lord brings into our lives each day. Going through life in an attitude of prayer brings us and keeps us close to God. It also makes us sensitive to the Spirit’s movement in our lives so that we see needs and realize that we are in a position to meet them.

In this way, as we partner with God to perform His will, we will enjoy fellowship with Him at the same time. I believe we will see an increase in wisdom and more of the character of Jesus recreated with us. We will learn to love as He loves, and the other important aspects of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) will be evidenced in our life through love (1 Corinthians 13) to those around us. These are not things we can create. They come from God’s Spirit within us and only to those who seek to partner with God to bring His will, plans, and purposes to fruition in the here and now.

We may be wrapping this series up with our next installment. We’ll let you know for sure then!

Entry filed under: christianity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , , , , , .

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