Yesterday was the beginning of my 7 weeks of fasting and prayer. This week’s prayer focus is the Church worldwide. It was a powerful time and the Lord whispered a few things to my heart as my husband and I prayed. My heart is broken for the Bride, and the Lord revealed some things to me I have been given the burden to share.
As I have mentioned in the past, I am no bible scholar, nor am I a great theologian. However, what I am is a disciple of Christ. Ever since I can remember, I have loved to learn new things and have never been afraid to search out the answers for myself, even teaching myself things over the years. I question everything and everyone, including motives. Some may see me as rebellious or cynical, and maybe they are right to a degree, but what I do know is God has rewarded my steadfastness and studiousness every time, while blessing me with great depths of discernment and wisdom when asked for. There are still many things I don’t understand, but I go to the source for understanding – God. I do not say all this to toot my own horn, but to lay the foundation for why I believe the things I do and why I am passionate about this thing called LOVE. He has anointed me as an Agent of Change which means I am a feather-ruffler and a boat-rocker; if you do not want to have your belief system challenged, then get out now while you can.
Love. It all comes down to love. Love is such a simple concept, yet many in the Church have twisted its meaning, using “love” as a form of vicious control of others, a way of spreading prejudice and ridicule, as a battering ram and bludgeon over other believers. The Lord asked me a question last night. He asked “Do you love My WORD, or do you love My word?” A simple, yet powerful question. And I ask you the same one…but before you answer, take time to contemplate what He is really asking- “Do you love My WORD, or do you love My word?” As I considered this question, many things were running through my head.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:1-4 NKJV).
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT).
The Bible is our instruction manual for living in this world, our GPS as we travel on this journey of Christianity, it points us heavenward when our flesh desires to pull us downward and corrects our focus when our vision gets tired and blurry. Jesus is the WORD and it is Him the Bible draws us towards. He is the reconciler between God and man, and He is the only path to heaven. He is TRUTH and He is LIFE, as well as LIGHT. It is because of Him that you and I are here today and why we are guaranteed to have life eternal.
Back to the question at hand: “Do you love My WORD, or do you love My word?” What I sensed My Father asking me last night was do I love, and have a relationship with, Jesus the true Word, or is my relationship with the Bible only? Pretty complex if you think about it. And, as I already told you, I am a feather-ruffler and boat-rocker. Chew on this for a bit while I continue on.
After asking me that question, the Lord brought to my mind a conversation I was paying attention to on a Facebook friend’s wall. He posed a question that drew vitriolic and condemning answers from, of all people – Christians towards Christians! Church, it is this precise behavior that breaks the heart of God, which in turn breaks my heart. Where is the love towards each other? Where is the encouragement? Almost every answer was someone using a small portion of Scripture to bludgeon another believer to death, and then celebrating with those who rallied agreement in condemning those who answered differently. The subject is not important, as I have seen this same behavior in many forums and always Believers against Believers. What He revealed to me is that as a whole, we have become quite cannibalistic towards each other, we have forgotten His commandment to love and instead we beat each other over the head with Scripture. After seeing this discussion I knew I had heard correctly the Lord’s command to pray for the Church. It’s no surprise that the world calls Christians “Bible-thumpers.”
You see, we are His Bride, and one of my prayers is for the Bride to fall deeply and passionately in love with her Bridegroom, for her to stop trying to pick herself apart because of doctrine, denomination, interpretation, and tolerance, and kick that demon to the curb. May the Bride focus on her True LOVE- the actual LIVING, BREATHING and REIGNING WORD!
Loving Christ does not give us the right to stab a Brother or Sister in the gut with our interpretation of Scripture. We all filter Scripture through the lens of what we, ourselves, have been taught and what our teachers have been taught. If we have flawed, but well-meaning teachers, we will to be flawed in our thinking unless we begin to read Scripture to know Christ for ourselves and not simply know the word. Satan knows the word and he knows how to wield it to provoke Believers to stab each other and eat their own. The Lord showed me there are many Believers who rely on others to interpret and teach them, instead of going to the source themselves and gaining understanding. We must, each of us, accept responsibility to get to know the WORD, to learn from the Holy Spirit and to share and discuss what we have learned peaceably with others. We must be willing to challenge our thinking and be willing to change our thinking. God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours, we must never position ourselves to believe we know it all already and there’s nothing more to learn.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all (Ephesians 4:2-6 NLT).
You see, Satan loves when we turn on each other. He’s been successfully doing this for centuries and we have allowed it. It’s called division and it’s a weapon he wields haphazardly because he knows that once he strikes a blow, we run with it. Church, we need to stand up and stand together. We need to link arms and become a fence with Christ as the foundation and refuse to accept any more division within our body. Christ said it best when He said “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25b NKJV). As the church has become more divided, we have also opened the door to prejudice, apathy and complacency making us even less desirable to those who need us most. After all, why should someone who is lost come to Christ and call themselves a Christian when every question they ask and every thought they think will be fodder for a potential flogging with the Bible?
Beloved, it all comes down to love. God is love, His love for us is everlasting, His love bestowed grace upon us and His love enables us to love others. We cannot profess to love God if we refuse to love those who believe Scripture differently than we do. We cannot see into the heart of others, much less our own – God is the one who truly knows our hearts. We must not let ourselves get drawn into bickering and condemning others because they believe Scripture says something a little different than we do. And don’t get it twisted, this is not about itching ears, this is not about false doctrine, this is not about being apostate – this is about love – love within the Church for the Church. Fruit is what dictates whether or not a doctrine is false and if someone has itching ears, and today I’m not talking about fruit – I’m talking about love. When we ask the Holy Spirit for understanding for ourselves as we read Scripture, He is faithful to open our eyes and ears and hearts for us to gain insight and know the WORD on a deeper level.
Jesus gave us a new commandment before He took His heavenly seat, and we find it in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
“Do you love My WORD, or do you love My word?”
Food for thought as you pray for the Bride of Christ this week.