Sunday, October 27, 2013

Becoming More One-ly

Have you ever met one of those couples who were able to complete each other’s thoughts, and who weren’t just replacing what the other might say with their own thoughts or desires. They know each other so well that they are in step with each other in their journey together. Sure, they still have their uniqueness, but they also have a oneness that is obvious to all who know them. This type of oneness relationship is something I think we all hope for, a relationship where you are so close that you “just know.”

In Genesis 2:24 we read God’s intention for marriage, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” As man and woman were created and united in marriage, the first couple were naked before each other and before God and were not ashamed. They had nothing to hide. They were truly one. Then came sin, blame, division, and all of the other stuff that came from spiritual death. Man and woman recognized that something had changed and they covered themselves. Yet even with this massive change, God’s plan for man, woman, and marriage did not change. But with the curse He also told them there would be struggles.

As we observe these mature couples and their oneness, we see couples who have found victory over these struggles; couples who with all of the challenges of life have grown in their oneness relationship with each other.

When we trust Christ for our salvation, we are united with Him for eternity.  Scripture says that He abides in us and that we are to abide in Him. It says that absolutely nothing can separate us from His presence. It says that we, collectively as the church, are His bride and His body. We read that as we mature in Him that we are being conformed to His image. There are countless images of this unique oneness that we have with Him, and as we grow and mature in Him we will resemble Him more and more in our lives. Like those mature couples, when people see us the see our Lord and they begin to know us as inseparable.

While everything changes positionally at the time of our salvation when our relationship for Him is set firmly in eternity, practically we are just getting to know Him. We have the remainder of our lives to get to know our God as Father, Son, and Spirit better and better. And the best way to do this is to continually hide His Word in our hearts, meditating on it day and night, bringing it before Him in prayer, waiting on Him as we listen even to His Spirit opening our eyes as His Word lights our way.

Then as we step out in responsive service, we see His power working through us to touch others. And as we do this over time people have a more and more difficult time seeing us apart from Him. Today was a second memorial service in as many days for incredible women of God whose friends and family knew them in exactly this way.

At the service today, it was a great privilege to hear four grown children stand and give powerful testimonies about their mom, her love for her Lord, her husband, each of them, and for others. As one of her daughters told me later, she was impressed to hear just how differently each of them chose to remember their mom; each painting a slightly different picture of her as a whole. And knowing her impact on her children, it was then impressive to see her grandchildren come down and place a single rose in a vase in honor of her.

When it came time for the message, our pastor had to regain his voice from the emotion. While he did this he invited us to stand and give an ovation before God in honor of this dearly loved friend. It was an incredible moment, knowing that our Lord had already greeted her with us being assured that these words had awaited her, “Well done, good and faithful servant. … Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21, ESV)

Knowing this we also await that day when with these two women, the others before them, and the rest of us to follow we are together with our Lord to celebrate.

“Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.””

“It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”” (Revelation 19:6–9, NASB95)

Until that time, both as individuals and as a body of believers Scripture says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” … “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. … for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:4-6, 15–16, 25b, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (10/27)

As you become increasingly aware of My Presence, you find it easier to discern the way you should go. This is one of the practical benefits of living close to Me. Instead of wondering about what is on the road ahead or worrying about what you should do if … or when …, you can concentrate on staying in communication with Me. When you actually arrive at a choice-point, I will show you which direction to go.

Many people are so preoccupied with future plans and decisions that they fail to see choices they need to make today. Without any conscious awareness, they make their habitual responses. People who live this way find a dullness creeping into their lives. They sleepwalk through their days, following well-worn paths of routine.

I, the Creator of the universe, am the most creative Being imaginable. I will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths. Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know. Stay in communication with me. Follow My guiding Presence.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8, NASB95)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, NASB95)

Today’s blog is written in honor of Janette Hosley, a woman of God through whom people knew our Lord to be the True and Compassionate God.

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