“Do you know that you are different? Really different? First of all, in My eyes, there is no resemblance between you and anyone who has not chosen the Lord as his Master. Since I see in the spiritual realm, I can easily distinguish those who have chosen Me as their Father, and those who still belong to the father of lies. Both of you are designed to live for eternity with your fathers and are custom-designed to be there. You adapt easily to your new homes when it is time.
"Of course, these homes are as different as you, their inhabitants, are. Yours is more magnificent than you can now imagine. Theirs is horrible beyond belief. Because you have been designed to live among others like you, I desire you to be with each other now.
"Do you know that by interacting with each other as My children, it is making your inner being strong? You need to draw upon My Spirit whenever your interactions with those like you bring challenges your way. Each of you has the seed of My Spirit within you, so as you choose to act like My Son toward each other, you will grow. When you don’t choose to act like Him, there are setbacks in your spiritual wealth.
"To you, these setbacks seem inconsequential. I, however, observe the great harm that is done to My plan. You also further the kingdom of darkness by remaining far from My light. It is time to realize how different you really are and then walk in that wonderful difference with Me. Start now. Let My Word and its promises inhabit you. I will then inhabit the praises that rise from you who are Mine as you help each other grow toward Me.”
2 Cor. 5:17 NIV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…
James 3:13-18 NIV
13) Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.
14) But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
15) Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
16) For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17) But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
18) Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Whenever we study marriage, the covenant, or the church, a basic understanding of what God uses to change us is essential. Among the many things He has in place to make us more like Jesus are two institutions. One is marriage, and the other is fellowshipping with other believers. In fact, the institutions of marriage and the church are directly established by God.
When we enter marriage and the church properly, one reason they exist is to function as refiner’s fires for each participant. God placed restrictions on both to encourage the participants to “dig in and work things out,” instead of fleeing when challenges come. People refine one another and make us seek the Lord for answers. Each time we choose His answers instead of the answers that make our flesh comfortable, we become more like Jesus.
The most miserable people I’ve seen are those who submit to no one. Listening to only their own answers and opinions, they eventually find themselves bankrupt of any spiritual wisdom that can be found through the honest consideration of other believers.
If you find yourself becoming bitter toward the body of Christ or have separated yourself from continuous fellowshipping with other believers, you are on the road to destruction. That is not God’s way. He uses the physical interaction with others to develop the spiritual maturity that’s needed to represent Jesus properly.
We are spiritual people in a physical world. We are designed to be trained and prepared God’s way, not ours - and certainly not the world’s way. The world follows their father, who loves to entangle, fight, and eventually separate hearts one from another. Our Father goads us to forgive, serve, and develop Christ-like character through challenges caused by others.
Needing to understand that my opinion means infinitely less to God than my submission,