Welcome to part 2 of my blog, “Processing Revelation in the Body of Christ”. If you haven’t had a chance to read part 1, you can find it under the blog section of the app or website. Titled “Processing Revelation in the Body of Christ (pt 1)”. I recommend reading that before continuing on here, as it will help you understand the context of what we're looking at.
OK, let’s continue to our next topic:
Processing with each other
We not only need to process teaching with Holy Spirit; we also need to process with each other. Historically, in the Body of Christ, this is something that we have not done well. Too often we have been addicted to 'being right', vehemently defending the rightness of our perspective, and in some cases we have allowed relationships to fracture in order to maintain that 'rightness'.
“We will never to be totally ‘right’ about God because He is an infinite being. We are finite beings, and the finite can never exhaust the infinite.”
We will never to be totally 'right' about God because He is an infinite being. There will always be things that we don't yet know about Him. We are eternal, and we will live for ever, but we are not infinite. We are finite beings, and the finite can never exhaust the infinite. That means that we will never stop learning about the wonders of who God is and what He has done. Isn't that awesome!
We need to learn to process effectively with each other. If someone teaches something that you are not sure about, if at all possible talk it through with them.
Wisdom would indicate that we should be quick to hear and slow to speak. It is better to first invite the other person to share what they are hearing and seeing. Find out how they arrived at their current understanding and perspective, then by all means share from your own journey and perspective.
We must learn to have honest, open, loving dialogue with each other. It is through this process that many of the gaps in our understanding are removed. We need to be comfortable with the fact that we can disagree with each other on issues but still honour each other and walk together, being committed to relationship and building on the unity that Christ has purchased for us.
In processing with each other, each of us will be sharing from our current understanding and perspective, and even though our perspectives may differ, we can recognise that we are both looking at a partial picture.
It will be important that we can pray for more revelation for each other, knowing that the further we journey together in dialogue, often the closer our perspectives will become. Please do not let relationships fracture on the basis of difference of perspective.
In some cases, and for practical reasons, processing with another person can't take place face to face. If possible see if you can process over the phone or via Skype. Tone of voice is really helpful in each person getting a feel for the 'heart' meaning of the other.
If processing needs to take place in written form, e.g. through texting or sending emails, please recognise that other people can't pick up your tone of voice from them. Make sure that your communication is open, truthful and loving.
Sometimes healthy discussion and debate can take place via social media such as Facebook, but too often I've witnessed Christians criticising the beliefs of others and naming them publicly, and they haven't followed the Biblical principle of 'going first to your brother in person if you have something against him'.
Remember, if we know all mysteries, and have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, we are nothing but a noisy gong.
The importance of your own revelation
Another thing that I believe is important - never feel under pressure to adopt someone else's revelation as your own. Ask Holy Spirit about it and let Him give you your own revelation on it; then it becomes your revelation, and you can live out of that.
You can't live effectively out of someone else's revelation. Holy Spirit reveals different things to different people in different sequences, and it's really important that we trust Him as our coach to show us the things we need to know, when we need to know them.
“It is not sufficient for us to believe something just because some other person believes it. We can’t live effectively out of someone else’s revelation.”
One challenge that we face in the Body of Christ is that many of us who have grown up in church have either imbibed by osmosis, or been specifically told, that we should not question what is taught from the pulpit.
"Touch not God's anointed" is a phrase that springs to mind. The result of people adopting that attitude is the tendency for them to automatically accept whatever anyone teaches, and they never develop the ability to effectively and Biblically evaluate what they are hearing.
The landscape of today's society and church is vastly different from a generation ago. No longer is the local pastor the only source of teaching and spiritual input. The internet has opened up access to teaching from a multitude of sources.
That can be an incredible blessing, but it can also have its difficulties. Many people in our congregations today have little or no strong Biblical foundation. They have not dug into the Scriptures themselves, engaged the services of their personal coach, Holy Spirit, and asked Him to lead them into truth.
They have mostly just listened to a sermon on Sunday, as good as it may have been, and that has been their spiritual feeding for the week. Or maybe they have listened to a podcast as supplementary feeding.
I firmly believe that we need to be continually growing in our personal journey and relationship with Jesus, Father and Holy Spirit and looking to them for the training that they want to give us.
While they will use other people as instruments of training, it is important to remember that they are in charge of the training program, and we must hear from them directly. It is not sufficient for us to believe something just because some other person believes it.
A good foundation
When people do not have a good understanding of what Scripture teaches, it is so much harder for them to effectively evaluate whether what someone is teaching is Biblical, a-Biblical or anti-Biblical.
By all means we can search out areas of truth and revelation that are not specifically found in Scripture, ie a-Biblical, but it is important that it is Holy Spirit who is leading us in that direction, and that it is because He knows it is time for us to be exploring those things. A-Biblical revelation is best evaluated on a good foundation of Biblical truth.
My personal conviction is that there is a vast resource of revelation still awaiting us in Scripture, and that our main focus should be on journeying with Holy Spirit in discovering what He has made available there. Let's make that our first priority.
What has been really interesting, frustrating and exciting for Lyn and I over these last few years is that God has upended some of our theology and asked us, "Why do you believe that?"
He has been giving 'what we believe' a good overhaul. The result has been a lot more freedom to live as a son, not a slave, a much stronger appreciation for how profoundly we are loved, a new perspective on grace and what Jesus accomplished on the Cross, and so much more!
What is Holy Spirit showing you? How is your foundational understanding of what you believe? Is it your revelation or someone else's?
These are great questions to be asked. Uncomfortable, maybe, but great.
How is your foundation at the moment? Do you know... Your God given identity? What was won for you on the Cross? How to live out of your new identity? How to release Kingdom reality in your sphere of influence?
How do you see Father God? Many of us have twisted perceptions of what He is really like, and the truth is that we all live out of our perception of who He is. He is exactly like Jesus. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father.
Are you experiencing His incredible love? If not, or if the above areas need to be strengthened, why not ask Holy Spirit to lead you in a greater revelation of them.
I can assure you it will be a grand adventure!
God is leading us to maturity in the Body of Christ and He is fashioning a generation who will walk in the fullness of their God-given inheritance. In that process He must adjust some of our mindsets, where they conflict with His perspective and truth.
He must open our eyes to see things we've never seen before, so that we can walk in a realm of Christlikeness and Kingdom expression that we've never walked in before.
Let us be committed to receiving and embracing everything that comes from Him and discarding what doesn't. Let us grow in our ability to process well with Holy Spirit and with each other so that we can recognise what is from Him and what isn't.
And let us grow in our profound love and honour of each other, encouraging each other to pursue the training program that Holy Spirit has for each of us, and not breaking rank because of differences of perspective at points along the way.
I encourage you to take some time today, or over the next weeks or months, and walk through the above Personal Stocktake with Holy Spirit and yourself. Take an honest look and take your time. See what God wants to reveal to you, and move in closer to who He is, and who you are.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it has brought new perspectives, new conversations, and a drawing to the incredible heart of love and freedom of our Heavenly Father. I look forward to seeing you here again in the future.