Decisions to Open Our Hearts
That’s just perfect and a beautiful description of life. But there is one very essential ingredient, and it couldn’t be any more practical than this. If we don’t deal with this one little thing that I’m about to say, then everything else that has been spoken will amount to very little. This will just be another day and a bunch of words. Everybody will have a picture in their minds of something they wish could be so, but they don’t have it and have never been able to find it. You’ll come away not happier but more frustrated.
This is the one thing I want to say about everything that’s been said so far: I have to decide to open up my life. When I’m feeling frustrated I must decide I will CHOOSE to talk to another brother about that and ask him to pray for me. That is a decision I have to voluntarily make, because I don’t naturally want to. My flesh is just like your flesh in that I don’t want to be open and I don’t want to be vulnerable. We can “play church” for the next ten thousand years, and it will amount to nothing if we don’t decide to open our hearts. We’ll just have this Bible picture of the way we all wish it would be. But the fact is, God wants to set us free to experience His Joy, His Life, His Freedom, and His Power. And that is something that is up to you. That’s not something you find. That’s a choice that we each make. The difference lies in each of us.
Suppose I’m a little frustrated with you right now because you act a certain way, and I know it’s my problem. I can decide to confess to you that I’ve held a judgment against you and tell you that I’m very sorry and ask you, “Will you please forgive me?” We both start crying and you hug me and our relationship will never be the same again. But I had to decide to go tell you that I had a judgment. I thought you were a certain way and I was a little mad at you and I didn’t really want to talk to you. I say to you, “I repent of that, brother, because you’re bought by Jesus’ blood and I have no right to act that way or think that way. Will you please forgive me? If you’re mad at me, I understand.”
And you reply, “No, I’m not mad at you at all! I love you. Thank you so much for telling me that.” Because of that honesty and vulnerability, our relationship is changed forever.
Imagine if we live that way every day, even in our families, saying those words,“I am sorry.” I’ve told my son, “I am so sorry I’ve not been the father that I’d like to be. I lay awake at night thinking of all the ways that I’ve not been a perfect father. I am so sorry, son, for being that way.” We’ve got to decide to be vulnerable and have that kind of relationship in our families and with anyone that wears the Name of Jesus.
If we won’t do that, then five years from now we’ll have nothing or even less than we do now. God is calling us to open our hearts and to live out Jesus’ Life with one another—to draw on others’ lives and to share our life. That requires a decision to open up and do the things our flesh will never want to do, which is to be honest with one another and ask for help, and to pray and to give or speak up when someone may not receive it well. What if they don’t? Just like with our children, we have to give when it may not be received very well, simply because it’s Right to.
When we choose to live that way, the Holy Spirit comes in and begins to fill that vacuum and to break down those walls and barriers, misunderstandings, judgments and fears, and He sets us free. But none of us will ever find that life.
You can be right in the middle of a thousand people living that way and still be all alone, if you will not open up YOUR life. You’ll still feel empty and alone because you can’t attend that life and expect to have anything. You have to participate in it. That’s a choice we all make, and God will reward us if we will.
Now it’s my turn since we are Family. We can eat our lunch together and while we’re eating, our fellowship is still there, okay? Talk to anyone, share with everyone, start opening up your lives.
Can we arrange the chairs and the tables? Can we talk about prayer…?
When do you need a prayer? Maybe 2:00 in the afternoon? Or 7:00 at night? Or maybe Wednesday morning at 5:00 a.m.? If we’re attending something, the needs are not met. The daily distribution includes prayer and service with the Word. We need that every day and we need it just like our babies need our attention every day. We don’t say to our little babies, “Oh, I’m sorry it’s not Sunday, so you don’t get any attention.” No way would that happen. They get attention when they need attention and because you’re a family, you’re there for them. If you’re not a family, if they just attend you, then we have a problem because you’re not their father; you’re just an orphanage director.
If you’re their father, you will be there for them when they have needs. When they have a fever, you’ll notice. When they’re tired and grumpy, you’ll notice. When they have a cough, you’ll notice, because you’re there and because you’re family. That’s what the church is. In the Bible, that’s what Acts 2 was. It wasn’t a program to be together more often. It was because they loved each other like a family and they were there for each other.
I knew inside that we have to go deeper. The house church movement is not enough for me. I want to do something like being the church rather than doing some programs and service.
I just love when you said something about 2:00 on Tuesday, Thursday, or Fridays… Christianity is happening everyday!
When Jesus was with the twelve, what days did He pour His heart out to the twelve? Which days?
I love that!
It was His life, and it’s our life if Jesus lives inside of us.
You know what? I don’t want to just listen about doing church anymore…