Susanne Schuberth wrote on her blog:
“Just today I realized that I do need trials in order to get me focused on God and Christ, again and again. If I am full of joy, instead, and cannot sense any trial anywhere, I am always in great danger of being deceived – by the wrong spirits, so to speak.” *
In the last few months I have been having tremendous victories over some long standing spiritual bondages and weaknesses I have been plagued with. Each time I get a new release from God, I get so excited and have so much joy that I do not notice the pain in others around me. I get in a mode where I can only rejoice with those who rejoice, but if they are in sorrow or pain when I am so exuberant, I don’t notice what they are going through and my joy only adds to their pain! Paul wrote that we should rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, but if we are so wrapped up with our own pain or joy, can we do this? Or do we find ourselves out of sync with the ones Father has put us in fellowship with instead of walking in unity with them in true empathy? The Corinthian church seemed to have this same problem because everything they did seemed to be all about them! Paul wrote to them like this:
“And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your boasting… I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:30-31 KJ2000)
They were out of touch with Paul’s sufferings for them. I am just starting to understand what he was saying after reading these verses for forty-five years, thanks to what Susanne shared above in her blog. We seem to be in the greatest danger of being used by the devil to hurt others or being deceived by him when we are happy, happy, clappy, clappy Christians, thinking that we stand and are doing fine. James wrote something that seems very harsh to our way of thinking in the church today.
But he gives more grace; therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. (James 4:6-10 RSVA
Susanne, you probably didn’t know that you were speaking scripture when you wrote that sentence above. I thank God that you did, because God has used your words once again to sensitize me to a very important aspect of what it means to be one with one another in the body of Christ. Where once I always looked at what Paul wrote in Romans as everyone else’s duty to get in sync with me, weep with me when I weep and rejoice with me when I am happy, now I see that when I am flying high I am in the greatest danger of falling and doing damage to others who are hurting.
The Spirit had been speaking to me about the last half of the Gospel of John for some time. But as I progressed through it, I got to John 17:20-28 and it was as if the Captain yelled down the speaking tube to the engine room, “ALL STOP!” Jesus prayed something here that has not come to fruition for the body of Christ. For the last 1900 plus years, the church has become a house divided against itself, and as a result the salt has lost its savor and is being trodden under the feet of worldly men.
“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26 RSVA)
Here we have the unity of the Father and the Son and the glorious love they share as a benchmark for the true ekklesia of God! The Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father. They are totally one! Why? Because of their intense love that they share for one another. Where you find this kind of love, the Father and the Son’s glory and unity will not be far away. But it does not end there. Jesus prayed that we who are His would have this same unity and love for one another as well.
When I get arthritic pain in my elbow, wrist or hands, do the rest of the members of my arm go right on with their agenda as if it was no concern to them? Not hardly! In fact, my whole body takes notice and tries to find a way to alleviate the pain so it can go on in harmony. Either my whole body is suffering or it is all rejoicing because the body is not indifferent to its parts. What does the love of God demand of us, so that we might be truly one, more sensitive to the hearts and spirits of other members of the body of Christ that He is knitting together?
Real selfless love, the agape love of God, unifies and makes the members of the body of Christ one with each other and with God. Just as Jesus is our heavenly High Priest who is not out of touch with our sufferings (see Hebrews 4:15), so it is with those who are His. May the Lord do what it takes to make us all aware of the needs of others more than our own needs, victories and joys.