Thursday, April 29, 2010

Out or IN?

I’m not much of a blogger, but I wanted to share this with you. It’s something that God has placed on my heart. And if you feel led or feel it would help, please pass it on! My hope is that it will spur our relationship with God a step further!

Are you Out or In?

While I think that it is extremely important to grow in our relationship with God more each day, we do not want to use God as an excuse. Praying to walk and focus on God daily is essential, but at the same time we must be open and available to receive His blessings along the way! It seems very easy to say “I can’t do this right now because I need to focus on God.” But what if God is trying to bless your walk with Him by giving you help in a fellow believer or a relationship? I know I have stumbled in to this many times…used God as an out rather than an in.

A couple of summers ago I had made up my mind that relationships, whether romantic or friends, was not going to help me in my walk with God. I had been hurt so many times over the years that I lost count and became numb to them. I used my hopeful relationship with God as an excuse to check out of humanity completely. If people were going to be hurtful and not care…then why would I subject myself to them? WOW! Writing this now, looking back, I realized I missed the whole point! I acted extremely selfish! I thought only about what hurt me, not what God could still bless me with if I kept my heart open and trusted His will and plan.

So in my attempt to cancel out the pain from this world, I really cancelled out any chance of trusting God and allowing Him to move in my life. This doesn’t mean that human relationships aren’t hard. To say that would be to deny reality. We do need to look to God through them and pray for Him to guide us a long. But we also need to make sure that we are not shutting out human relationships because God could be blessing us with them or using us to bless others! I think this is so important to hold on to!!!!!

Back in Genesis 2 verse 7, God created man to walk in fellowship with Him and to do His will. And it was Good! The God said ”It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Gen.2: 18. So God created a companion. While this is the first illustration of the bond of marriage, it is also the first illustration of human relationships. Until sin entered in to makes things so complicated in these earthly lives we lead, we got a glimpse of what our relationships should look like!

In a recent BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) lesson we were looking at John 19 and I was overwhelmingly moved with conviction over the picture of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ in His last moments on the cross. This is the perfect picture of not only our Savior, but our loving friend and companion! In his last breaths he was not concerned with the earthly pain that enveloped and crippled his body...He was taking care of the ones He loved. The friends and cherished ones that had walked with him and the ones that would walk with him in the future (us). He looked upon his mother and John, the disciple whom He loved, and took time to entrust them to each other's care, blessing each of their lives. He prayed, interceding for our sins so that we can forever walk in relationship with Him!

The question that I ask myself, once I dry my eyes, is "Do my relationships embody or show the smallest measurement of my relationship with Christ?" Do I love and want to bless others before thinking of myself? Even when I find myself in a difficult place? Even when the hurt invades my wounded areas? Even when the easy thing to do is to check out and use God instead of being used by Him?

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New International Version) says "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

The cord of three is the two people and God intertwined in the middle. Showing the strength of each persons relationship to God and with each other altogether. This is the strongest type of cord. However, if just one strand is cut the whole things losses it's strength and begins to fray.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (New International Version)

9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

If you take yourself out of relationships and stumble on your journey, who will be there to help you up and support you....better yet who could YOU be there for to help and support?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (New International Version)

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."

Relationships are not all about what we are supposed to get, but also what we are supposed to give. If we check out of relationships or only go through the motions, are we truly allowing God to use us or to bless us? This goes for all relationships: parent/child, siblings, cousins, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. I don't know about you, but I think that being able to bless others and be blessed by others is a win/win to God and you! I still can't believe how unaware I truly was. How self-directed and concerned I was about myself and my own hurts.

I encourage you to invest in the people in your life, being open to letting God use you to bless someone else or God using someone to bless you! Don't shut out a relationship using God as an excuse!!! Although God is to be our Main Focus and MUST come first, He also wants us to walk with each other along the way!

Mark 12:29-31 (New International Version)

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these."

Beth Moore put it this way, " We were created by God precisely for relationship, so disconnection is not the answer."

Relationships: Are you Out.....or are you IN?


  1. Tisha, thank you for this post. I think the words are very powerful, thought provoking, and need to be shared. I would encourage you to share the message with anyone that will hear it—I appreciate it that much.

    I can see your point about sort of taking matters into our own hands and neglecting what God has purposed to do here—exist in relationship—for an illusion of more focus and relationship with God Himself. He definitely uses our human relationships to deepen ours with Him and to reveal His qualities through each other. This post is a great reminder of that.

    I really liked the point about the story of Adam and Eve being the story of the first human to human relationship and interaction—I hadn’t thought about it quite like that. And what a great picture of Christ, on the cross, bearing the worst pain ever borne—not just physical, but the emotional and spiritual, in that he had to bear every sin ever committed by any man in a single moment. As unbearable as this would be for us as humans, how much more painful for God Himself and His Son Jesus who had never experienced the slightest separation…separation that was experienced in the world’s sin. Yet, in this moment, he looks down upon those He loves with a supreme love, putting aside His pain for a moment in order to place His mother and disciple in each other’s care. Awesome.

    As you and others may know, I like Ecc 4:9-12. The threefold cord as a representation of marriage (or any relationship) is a powerful image. I would like to suggest one step further, though. A major realization that took me quite some time to grasp was that in the image of the threefold cord in my head, I saw three strands…three equal strands. My epiphany was that they were not nearly equal at all! In fact, God is like this massively large strand in the middle, and we are very fine, fragile, small strands that have the privilege of wrapping around Him, who is so strong. The strength is not in us, it is in Him. Now, if we cut our cords, of course it does impact us, so we must offer whatever strength we have to offer—but the load we bear in this cord is insignificant compared to God’s. I think the choice is the following: if we decide to intertwine with another human, we have two choices: become a twofold cord, made up of two small, fragile human cords; or wrap ourselves around God, making Him the center and source of strength of the relationship. The fact is this: you and God, me and God, any Christian and God are already a two-fold cord with immense strength in Him, the sustaining strand. When we decide to join or not join with another small, fragile human cord, we add or take away little strength to or from God’s already strong cord—but we do so because it pleases Him. And if we go even further, there is only one God, one strong cord. So we don’t each have our own twofold cords with God; actually, we are all wrapped around Him, wisps of strands who are stronger together, wrapped by the billions around the center strength, which is God. If we realized that our Christian brothers and sisters were part of our own cord, we might more actively seek to build them up instead of tear each other down with the petty things that come between us. I actually hadn’t considered that until your post! Kinda cool…

  2. As for finding that “special someone.” I can see that we as singles are often very conscious of it and would like to find God’s guidance toward those whom He wills us to be with. I will offer up my own experience, in the hope that it might be meaningful to you or anyone else who might read it:

    I know what it is to perceive a waypoint as the destination. Sometimes we mistake waypoints as destinations, not comprehending in the moment that an individual may have helped lead us in God’s direction and that our journey takes us past them and on to other people, other things, or simply closer relationship with God. Now the converse can also be true, but I think we can look around and realize that more often than not we perceive waypoints as destinations and not vice versa. In distinguishing between the two, I offer the following: that sometimes God uses our emotions and convicting experiences to guide us unto His will—but the fact is that sometimes He doesn’t. Much more faith must be exercised when we can’t fall back on the familiar human experience of emotion to guide us—emotions given by God are a wonderful way of showing us His way, but how glorious when we, in the absence of clear emotion to guide us, practice an openness to accept God’s gentle nudges in the right direction, outside of emotional response. I think you’ve highlighted this in what you wrote, to some extent. I think you are 100% right-on in highlighting that we must resist the temptation to draw back and protect ourselves by shutting out relationships all together; and we must balance that by not fixating on a single individual that we think fulfills us. The one God wills for us will fulfill us, but we must choose our mates based upon much more than personal fulfillment. And what a great point about not just someone helping you, but who can YOU help!

    I have spent my fair share of time pursuing girls as my “destination” that I was just not to be with. I didn’t know it then, but I see it now. I think this post-experience revelation is common with God’s work and our limited human perspective—but how glorious when we at last see Him and His plan! What if we made ourselves willing to pursue what we felt compelled to pursue this very day? What if we also made ourselves willing to pursue something completely different if God so chose tomorrow? What if we also made ourselves willing to pursue lifelong singleness if it was His will? Are we really willing to accept that and even choose it if God asked? The latter, lifelong singleness, is a rare choice for God, and most of us will not be willed to do it—but that is not the point at all. The point is that we might be willing, in obedience to God, to lay aside what we value ourselves today for what He values. That openness likely helps us recognize the “one” that He does place us with as our God given companions on this earth.

    Obviously, your post has inspired me! Thanks for sharing!