Spirit Birthed Relationships in Christ

Many members, one Christ

I have displayed thy name among those whom you have chosen out of the world for me: thine they were, and you gave them me; and they have kept thy word. (John 17:6 Mace)

Jay Ferris was a friend of mine that died of cancer a little over two years ago and he is missed by hundreds of people. Why? Because he knew and lived in relationships with people and if they were not believers, after getting to know Jay (or should I say, Christ in Jay), many soon came to Christ. What made Jay different than most Christian leaders was that he believed that Christ came to establish the kingdom of God as a family, not an institution. In one of his blogs Jay wrote,

“Suppose this is not about generic relationships, but about very specific relationships and purposes in God having their origins in and by Him. These are relationships so full of the passion and purposes of Christ, and not some kind of human decisions. Relationships in Christ are not generic, they are born of Him for His purposes, and not as mere religious toys.”(http://lovinglikegod.com/2013/04/10/things-that-cant-be-told/)

I have come to believe that most of what we see in Christendom is composed of “generic relationships.” You know, the “meet, eat and retreat” kind where God hears from us and we see each other once a week and we call it good. The kind of relationships that God wants are the ones in which we become totally ONE with the Father and the Son. Then we through this same level of intimacy as members of Christ’s body can come to know one another with the same level of intimacy (see John 17:20-26). You cannot contemplate a human body without seeing the intimacy and relationships that each individual member of that body has with the others. If a limb or organ is missing then the whole body goes out of whack. Christ is our Head and there is no other intermediary between the members of His body and Himself. It is interesting to me that the pituitary or “master” gland is located in our heads at the base of the brain. In like manner Christ is the one that brings the rest of the body into harmony as it answers to Him (See 1 Cor. Ch. 12).

It is because of this intimate relationship to the Head that we also can have intimate relationships with each other and the kind of relationships I am speaking of are not maintained only on one hour a week in a crowded hall in which everything is orchestrated by a man and his idea of what should happen. Professional clergy need not apply, but if they want to come down in the trenches and get real with the rest of His body, they are welcome and can become a viable member of Christ’s body once again. As Jesus put it, “Now you may not be called ‘Rabbi,’ for One is your Teacher, yet you all are brethren” (Matthew 23:8 CLV – emphsis added).

As members of Christ’s body, I believe that God puts us with certain individuals in Christ by His design and not our own and He does this for HIS purposes. He is using those to whom He has given His Spirit to paint a wonderful mosaic of His Son… Jesus Christ living and breathing here on earth. As in a mosaic, some pieces touch other pieces and some don’t. God puts our piece next to the one that will compliment the whole image He is making. We all have tried to put ourselves together with other saints at times and have seen it end as a dismal failure. But when GOD assembles us as HE wills, something special and lasting happens.

I think of Jonathan and David who had a love for one another that was better than that of a woman (see 1 Sam. 1:26). Paul and Timothy had a special father-son type relationship in Christ. Then there was John and Jesus where we find John in the gospels so in love with Jesus that he reclined at the last supper with his head on Jesus’ breast. He was “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” the one that stayed with Him throughout His ordeal on the cross and was the one who went on to write about the love of God over and over in His gospel and letters and He knew this love first hand with God’s Son and the members of His body.

You see, to have special relationships with other members of Christ’s body it requires intimacy, the very thing that most church people fear. Yes, love is risky and being cold and distant to others is “safe.” But the love of God compels those who have pressed into Christ to become close to the ones He puts us with regardless of the personal cost.

Jay also wrote in another blog about what he called “foxhole love.”

Today, I want to address the matter of Spiritual intimacy in another place and with another word picture, a “Foxhole.” I am not speaking of a fox hole in the way that Jesus referred to it, but spiritual intimacy surrounded by warfare.

A pond suggests a tranquil place where the war is over, and a foxhole suggests the reality of the war in and around intimate spiritual relationship. On the one hand we are surrounded by the war around the foxhole, and on the other, we become more and more aware of the inner war going on inside of each another. In the foxhole of intimate relationship there is a war going on against our staying in that place of intimacy. The war gets more intense the deeper into the hole we go.

The only way for the intimacy of relationship to survive in such an environment is to know God’s kind of love, the kind that is good for enemies, both perceived and real. The lovers in a foxhole have to rest in the knowledge that they are secure in one another’s love… The intimacy we are talking about is not delusional. It is made possible and energized by a Love that is so great it covers a multitude of sins.

This post has to do with sharing the lessons of Life, (He is The Life.) especially with those who are in the foxhole of love with us. Perhaps this is what Paul was thinking about when he prayed “… that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 (http://lovinglikegod.com/2012/12/27/the-truth-hurts-at-least-in-the-beginning/)

“Father, do what you have to do to strip us of our self-centered mindsets and agendas and fill us with your love for you and for one another. Let us then be placed with the members of Christ’s body you have destined us to be joined to and let your love flow between us as a sign that it is your doing, and out of that love let us bring forth YOUR eternal fruit. Amen.”

34 comments on “Spirit Birthed Relationships in Christ

  1. Wow!!! Excellent post, Michael! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    To be honest, I am speechless right now. 🙄 Maybe, I’ll get some inspiration for a longer comment later, Lord willing. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dimple says:

    Father, I agree with this prayer. Let it be so!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There is not one significant and lasting relationship to show for 25 years in the IC as an adult. In the 15 years since leaving the IC, I have many lasting relationships, with non believers. The last album project I did, a half dozen musician friends helped out by playing on several of the songs. When the project was complete and we got together for a week at a beach house to spend time together, I asked them why they helped me with the project, since my music is decidedly Christian.

    “Because we love you” was their answer.

    Never heard anything like that before from one of my Christian (churchy) affiliates. In fact, they wouldn’t help me record any of my songs because the lyrics were “controversial”.

    Is the church a wooden box
    Where members line the pews
    And listen to a preacher preach
    With wows and ahs and oohs
    Stained glass windows organ pipes
    And banners on the wall
    Where fellowship is little more
    Than passing in the hall

    Christians often behave as if ruled by fear … fear that if anyone were ever to discover something real about them, or if they ever stepped out of line or expressed an unpopular belief, the pastor or congregation would make them “walk the plank”. Often invokes pirate ship imagery for me … makes sense in as much as Churchianity has hijacked (pirated) authentic relational fellowship and the Church of Jesus Christ … all to profit a business and cartel of hirelings.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Jack, I know that fear. I was in more than one church where “fellowship” was more like I was tip-toeing through a mine field that looked like a field of daisies on the surface. I never knew when I was going to bump into someones “holy cow” and then have to listen to all the accusations coming at me. They had fault finding down to a science! I think that the scripture got twisted somewhere along the line to read, “Behold how they loath one another.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pat Orr says:

    There is so much to consider and marvel at how God does things. None of us chose the natural family into which we were born. We don’t choose the family into which our spouse was born. Yet from earliest remembrance, I valued my place in the family into which I was born. I also value my husband’s family.

    We have scripture to cause us to believe that when we are born again, we are not only born into the Kingdom of God, but also into the family of God. We know that God wants sons and daughters.

    Michael, thank you and Jay for the precious blog.

    This passed Sunday I attended the funeral of my aunt. She was the last member of her generation. We came from Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, and Massachusetts. The funeral was in Mississippi. It was a glorious reunion.

    Thank you for your prayer for the body of Jesus in the blog. I say ‘Yes and amen’ to the prayer.

    In His love,
    Pat Orr

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Pat, God puts us into His family, not into institutions. I am sorry to hear that you lost your aunt. I am down to one aunt and my mother in that generation on both sides of my family. I am glad you had a great reunion together, just the same.

      God bless you, dear sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There is no greater Love than the feminine soul (male and female) married to Christ’s Spirit, yoked together as one, perfectly one with our God and Father! This is true intimacy with the Father, the way, truth and life in us, perfectly one with our Father!! God bless you Michael ~Yvonne

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Yvonne! Jesus summed up what you said in the end of John 17…

      That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. And I have declared unto them your name, and will declare it: that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
      (John 17:21-26 KJ2000)

      Thanks for your comment, dear sister.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Lori J. says:

    Michael – this is a wonderful post! You have mentioned your friend Jay Ferris before and I have enjoyed reading his blog.
    I’m inspired to begin making a list of the many intimate words there are in the Scriptures – “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine” (Song of Solomon); “ Go to my brethren and say to them ‘I ascend to My Father and YOUR Father, and My God and YOUR God.’” (John 20); “When you pray say ‘Our Father’” (Mtt. 6:9); “Father, keep them in Your name. . . that they may be one EVEN AS WE ARE;” and “I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that THE LOVE WITH WHICH YOU LOVED ME MAY BE IN THEM, AND I IN THEM.” (Jn 17).
    I’m sure there are many more. I will start adding them to my “Thankful” list (I’m working on cultivating a thankful heart and mind). I’m pretty sure John is in our Bible so that we can see what the fruit of understanding God’s love looks like. Fruit is definitely the outcome of the life of intimate faith; when I hear the word “fruit” it reminds me to simply abide and stop with the self-effort already!!
    Thanks for sharing these good thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Wow, Lori! Verses that refer to intimacy with God is a good thing to search out… I think that Father and Jesus are desiring intimacy with us more than we think. Even the judgement is based on whether we had an intimate relationship with them.

      “Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.'” (Matthew 7:21-23 KJ2000)

      Looking up “knew” in the Greek (Matt 7:23 ‘”…I never knew you.”) it is ginosko.Of this word W. E. Vines dictionary of NT words says,

      In the NT ginosko frequently indicates a relation between the person “knowing” and the object known; in this respect, what is “known” is of value or importance to the one who knows, and hence the establishment of the relationship, e.g., especially of God’s “knowledge,” 1Co_8:3, “if any man love God, the same is known of Him;”

      It is interesting that this same Greek word was use about the relationship that Joseph had with Mary before Christ was born. “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew (ginosko) her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:24-25 KJ2000).

      I think that this is why Satan is so dead set against us having intimacy with God. “You can have all the religion we want to swim in, but just don’t become too mystical and personal with God or Jesus! Keep it intellectual.” It is so sad how many will hear those words, “I never knew you” as they sing out before God their lists of religious activities they did on earth.

      Yes, as for our “fruit” we produce for God, it is done the same way as a man and a wife produce fruit between them. All true spiritual fruit comes from an intimate relationship with Christ who said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

      God bless you, my sister!


      • Lori J. says:

        Michael – what you say about ginosko is so true – but I want to add this insight. Several years ago my mentor taught us about ‘epignosko’ and ever since then I’ve paid close attention to its significance (and am still learning). Vine says: “‘epiginosko’ has a more special recognition of the object ‘known’ than does ‘ginosko;’ it also may suggest advanced ‘knowledge’ or special appreciation.” He says it is a knowing that is verified by experience and understanding. Strong adds this about epiginosko: “to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly; to know accurately, know well by sight, hearing; to perceive who a person is.”
        This is the very knowledge that the institutional church distracts from – in fact it robs people of this kind of knowing. Getting the right instruction from the Scriptures is the first step because how else can we know Him — what He promises and what He asks of us? God created us for, and longs for, communion with us. We can only have communion if we have union with Him and we can only abide in Him if we have communion.
        Knowledge which unites us with Him is ours when His Word comes to life as we walk with Him through the trials He brings or allows into our lives.
        An example of the difference between the two words might be this: there is union between a newly married couple – they know in part (gnosis); but then they acquire a discerning, perceptive understanding (epignosis) of each other after they have lived together. Intimacy enriched with understanding. How many of us have learned about this within the walls of an organized church? (I actually did, by my teacher was constantly under threat of being removed!).

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Thank you, Lori for shedding further light on the subject. Yes, epiginosko in short means “perfect knowledge” or knowing someone perfectly. Your example of the man and wife coming to know one another was very meaningful. Your comment about the institutional church robbing people from this kind of intimacy with Jesus is also interesting to me. Jesus in John 10 said that “those who come before me (wrongly translated, “ever came before me”) are thieves and robbers.” The Whiston NT is the most accurate on this verse, “Those that come before me, are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them.” (John 10:8 Whiston NT)

        The institution tries to get us to believe that everyone that God ever used before Christ with His sheep are the thieves and robbers, but that word translated “before” is not only a word referring to time, but can also mean position. What He was saying was that those who get between Jesus and His sheep are stealing from Him and them. This is exactly what goes on in churches today where these church leaders draw attention and loyalty to themselves and make people dependent on them for their spiritual growth and teaching instead of the Good Shepherd and the Holy Spirit who Jesus said is our Teacher. John Wesley in his Explanatory Notes is very judicious about this verse saying,

        “Joh 10:8 – Whosoever are come – Independently of me, assuming any part of my character, pretending, like your elders and rabbis, to a power over the consciences of men, attempting to make laws in the Church, and to teach their own traditions as the way of salvation: all those prophets and expounders of God’s word, that enter not by the door of the sheepfold, but run before I have sent them by my Spirit. Our Lord seems in particular to speak of those that had undertaken this office since he began his ministry, are thieves – Stealing temporal profit to themselves, and robbers – Plundering and murdering the sheep.”

        Bless you, my sister

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lori J. says:

        That Wesley statement really nailed it! The wolves are such a contrast to the grace-filled, communion-loving Lord who ever works to woo souls out of the religious quagmire. I’m praying that U.S., European and Canadian ‘Christians’ who have been blinded by false teachers will shake awake! I’m tuned into the refugee crisis in our world today and love hearing testimonies from Muslims and others telling how they came to know Jesus. Evils that used to thrive only in darkness (abroad and in our own country) are now growing rapidly in the light. But the God of the universe is not asleep! We know God is not wiling for any to perish — He IS working to bring people out of darkness. God’s heart is to have communion with many — oh that we might be like Jay Ferris — welcoming people to the Lord out of hearts of love. I aspire to that — and seek the Lord to make me just such a person. Great discussion from this post!

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I have had no new inspiration as yet, Michael, but I just found an excerpt from T.A. Sparks where he describes “The Church’s Battlefield”, i.e., the difficulties we are confronted with when we want to maintain spiritual fellowship. I think we both know what he was speaking of here… :/

    All departments and realms of really spiritual work seem to provoke the opposition of spiritual forces, but the nearer we get to the great, eternal conception of God’s destiny for the Church of Christ, the Church which is His Body, the more pronounced the enemy’s antagonism becomes.

    We meet spiritual antagonism in seeking to win souls for Christ, because it is only in this way that the Church is born. When, however, the full thought of God is brought into view, then the greatest challenge of the forces of evil is registered. This is because it is in the Church and in relation to the Church’s destiny that the whole kingdom of Satan is to be met and overthrown. Hence, of course, the tremendous significance of corporate life. Even by small and seemingly insignificant means, moodiness or trifling disagreements, Satan breaks up the flow of fellowship among the saints. It seems strange that the vital power of the Church should be weakened by the moods and temperaments of God’s people but so it can be. If the Devil cannot succeed by such simple methods he has many other ploys and complex strategies, all aimed at the destruction of the relatedness of God’s people. So spiritual fellowship becomes a real battleground.

    Some think that fellowship is a kind of picnic, a religious festival. We praise God for all the joys of fellowship, but the matter is more serious than that, and is so important that it can become a matter of real battle. The exercise and preserving of true heart fellowship with all other Christians – not just with those whom we like but with all – is a field of constant conflict. Fellowship is not just something that happens. We must fight for it. It is a great factor in the spiritual battle.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Susanne, Sparks says it pretty well. One thing we know for sure and that is that THE Church that Christ builds, the gates of hell will not prevail against IT! Why? For Christ’s body is assembled in humility, not a spirit of competition and exclusivity. Where there is humility there is love and the love of God shed abroad in our hearts is the “glue” that holds us all close to one another. Or as Paul put it,

      “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us.”
      (Romans 5:1-5 KJ2000)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ken Burgess says:


    A wonderful post. I had just sat down to write and email you and Susanne about something I felt the Lord had shown me on Monday during a conversation I had with a brother who is stuck in the IC. After reading this post I realized I am supposed to share it here in response to what you have just written. During the conversation I was once again explaining to him why the IC is not something that our Father God ever instructed any man to create or build. And then this came out of my mouth, the modern day church is like a “black hole.” There is a lot of going into it including souls, money and time but not much of eternal value comes out. At the top of the list is brothers and sisters who have no idea what true fellowship is. First with Father and then with one another.

    These verses speak volumes about this. 1 John 1 – English Standard Version (ESV)
    The Word of Life

    1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our[a] joy may be complete.

    Walking in the Light

    5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Ken. God has shown me certain church leaders as “black holes” as well. These men give off no light themselves and suck the light of life out of anyone who comes under their authority. With leaders like this it is no wonder that organized religion is a black hole to a great extent. As I read your comment about all those thing being sucked in I thought of this passage Revelation 18:9-13.

      Many that are trapped in this institutional mindset, think that they have light there, but like Jesus warned, “”The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23 RSVA)

      I love 1 John 1:7. “If we are walking in the light as HE is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another…” Jesus is our Light. He is the Light of Life. If we get our light from a man our “light” is really darkness. They go there for “fellowship,” but according to John where there is no Light, there is no fellowship. Another thing to notice is that as we abide in fellowship with the Light His blood cleans us from all sin. Light exposes sin and it also heals as we continue to walk in that Light. All things are our IN Christ. He has made every provision for everything we need. It is so sad that people so blind because their eyes are not single.. they are not single minded. The context of those two verses I quoted in Matt. 6 is the temptation to serve God and Mammon and Jesus said it can NOT be done. Mammon always wins. Mammon is the name of the Babylonian (yes, Babylon the great) god of prosperity. So, you see, my brother, we have now gone full circle. It is a system, a well planned out system that Satan uses to suck the life’s blood out of people who have set out to seek Christ.

      “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth’s abominations.’ And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her I marveled greatly.” (Revelation 17:4-6 RSVA)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Ken, it was the Lord, too, who “nudged” you to write your comment on here. In fact, it was the second confirmation/witness as to something God has shown me today. Thank you very much for obeying the Lord and writing particularly these verses that speak volumes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Imagine what marriage would look like if men did for that blessed union what they’ve done for our relationship with Jesus.

    After you’re wed, your spouse would be spirited away and you’d go home with the minister. Once a week for the rest of your life, you’d go to the Hall of Marriage and listen to the minister tell you about the responsibilities of marriage, exhort you to be a better spouse, sing songs about marriage and give donations for the preservation of marriage, etc. Midweek, you’d meet with other spouses and study the Holy Marriage Manual (aka HMM™, © 1611 Zondervan), according to the weekly study guide prepared by the minister …

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Jack, your story reminds me of a friend of mine who was at a Christian conference somewhere and was talking to a young lady that was all gaga bout her pastor. It was “My pastor this” and My pastor that.” She just could not quit raving about the man.

      Well, Roy asked her if she was married and she said not yet. Then he asked her, “When you get married and the preacher at the end of the ceremony says, “I now pronounce you man and wife,” will you then reach past your husband and grab the best man’s hand and run off on your honeymoon with him?” She said, “No, I will want to be with MY HUSBAND!” To this Roy said, “Don’t you see that this is exactly what you are doing? You are infatuated with the best man instead of with Jesus.”

      All too much of Christendom is in love with “the friend of the Bridegroom” but not the Bridegroom who is coming back for His Bride.


      • Love Roy’s response to the girl. Though I wonder if in fact such a preacher is really a “friend of the Bridegroom” who does not chasten the bride of Christ for her misplaced affections. Our friend BK tells the story of a young man who came to the Lord during a service she was at and fell at the pastor’s feet and embraced and effectively worshiped the pastor. BK said that was the beginning of the Lord opening her eyes, as she screamed in silence at the minister “stand him up … stand him up …” The pastor just stood there and received the young man’s adoration. I can’t wrap my head around that one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Jack, your comment stirred me to share part of an article that George and I wrote on our website as my next blog article. Stay tuned. 🙂


  10. On some days I feel the need for words like these. A very nice blog you have here. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Renee says:

    Wow! I enjoyed reading this! This so confirms what has been in my heart! Relationships with our brother and sisters in Christ.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Renee, it was good to read your comment. I love it when God uses me and others to confirm to the saints that they can hear our Shepherd’s voice over the din of the traditions of men and so much bad teaching that is out there these days.
      God bless you dear sister.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Renee says:

        So true…bad teaching alone with sinful lives. I see so many believers that makes you question are they Christians. We are living in a time where you really have to stay very close to the Father so that you won’t be deceived.

        Again, thanks for sharing on Spirit Birthed Relationships. It was very good!

        Liked by 2 people

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