No. 157. Thanksgiving that releases loving truth.

Colours of the Rainbow > Thanksgiving > No. 157. Thanksgiving that releases loving truth.

A few days ago we were looking at that incredible mystery that ‘Christ is in me’, and that I can spread the fragrance of Christ in all I do as I let His life flow through my gifting and talents, skills and anointing. I can touch people with the Life of Christ as it flows through me the common clay pot. 2 Corinthians 4:5.

Thanking God that ‘Christ is in me’ Colossians 1:27, an unearned blessing  from God, keeps me from pride but also helps me to value myself as a carrier of His glory on the earth.  As I thank God that not only is ‘Christ in me’ but that He is also the treasure that is in each one of His children, I will be less preoccupied with the things that are wrong with the other ‘clay pots’ in the church all around me.

Yesterday we were looking at the power of giving thanks and praying for other groups and churches that may have different practices and traditions. So today let’s think about the other individual Christians, perhaps in my own fellowship, who I feel are not living the way that they should, or who are ‘letting the Lord down’ by their behaviours or attitudes. How do I react to them and share a ‘unity of the spirit’, when I’m not sure I like what I see?

Well I think the first thing to acknowledge is that we are all a work in progress. The Lord is changing each one of us, as we have said before, we are ‘being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, and this comes from the Lord, who is spirit’. 2 Corinthians 3:18. He may well be changing others to a different time frame to me, and so I see them doing things that I have no freedom to do. He may also be ordering their circumstances, as a patient master craftsman or potter, to work in them both to will and to do His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 AV. He is not always in the same hurry as me!

God is a good Father, and as with our children, He might also have started changing others in a different order to how I would have done it had I been in charge. He may think some things are more important than others, His priorities may be different to mine as an onlooker. We must also not forget that God looks on the heart and He knows when we need healing and when there is simply a need for teaching and training. Finally we also need to remember that each one of us will have started the journey of being changed from a different place.

My role I believe is not to advise the Lord on what He should be tackling in my fellow believers, but to release His blessings and His words to them in order to build them up and help them in the transformation process which comes as our minds are renewed. Romans 12:2. Simply put I am more likely to have those words of life for them when I am thankful for them and for what the Lord is doing in and through them, than when I am feeling rather critical.

Sometimes we have interpreted the encouragement to ‘speak the truth in love’ as an opportunity to tell someone ‘the truth’, as we see it, about what is wrong with them, but what if it doesn’t mean that but something very different? If we read on this ‘truth speaking in love’ is so that ‘we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love’ Ephesians 4:15,16. What if the truth that builds up, is in fact the same truth that we have been considering, i.e. that they have Christ dwelling within, and that they already have all that they need for life and godliness. 2 Peter 1:3.

So often in our own lives, and therefore in the lives of others, in wanting to be the best we can be for the Lord, we have been preoccupied with trying to reform ‘the old me’; with trying to change our behaviours so that they more closely resemble the way we think that God would want us to be, and like Paul we find that to be a very frustrating journey. See Romans 7:21-24.

The truth that will set me free is the truth that my old man was crucified with Christ and that now I am a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17. Christ lives in me and from deep within I have all that I need to ‘walk as He walked’. 1 John 2:6. The process of being changed is then no longer about me beating the old man into submission but it is about learning to allow the Christ in me- the new man in Christ- to take the lead so that, with Paul, we can increasingly say ‘the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me’. Galatians 2:20.

As I thank the Lord for my brother or sister who I feel is not really living up to the mark, I believe the Lord will give those words of encouragement, prophesy and declaration that they need to hear in order to live from their new man too. In this way the members of the body speak the truth to each other in love and build each other up so that together we will grow up into all things in Christ. Ephesians 5:15. Let us keep giving thanks for each other and not just those we find easy to fellowship with, and see what the Lord puts in our hearts for each one, to encourage them and build them up.


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