Thursday, May 15, 2008

Intervention

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In early April I presented at a women’s renewal for a church in Tennessee. My daughter accompanied me and the hosting women showed Smokey-mountain hospitality the entire weekend. The program included a question and answer session with me fielding the questions.

One of the questions revolved around the work of men in the church and how to inspire more men to be passionate about the cause of Christ, to step up to leadership in homes, community and church. My immediate response was inadequate. Actually it wasn’t much of a response, but more of a deferment.

If you’ve ever presented or taught an adult Bible class, you may have wrangled with afterthoughts of, Oh; I should have said this or that. Later contemplation and study usually reveals better answers.

After some thought, I recalled wise guidance given to me years ago about spiritual growth, whether men or women. As participants in the body of Christ, the church, we can encourage and teach, but true growth in Christ comes from the gardener Jesus, the vine keeper.

After he left earth, he sent the Comforter to the earth, the Holy Sprit. Some of the best advice to families, husbands, wives, or singles is that we cannot be the Holy Spirit to those around us.

No amount of nagging, coercion, whining or bribing will produce a godly person. Beside, it’s not God’s way. God helps us desire a closer relationship to him. As he loves us, and we experience that love, we long to know more about God and become his son or daughter. He sent Jesus to earth as a human so that we could actually “see” God interacting, loving his neighbors.

We all have flaws and worthy qualities. In any relationship where one person longs for the maturity of another, the very best thing that person can do is ask God to become a personal tutor. Someone said it this way, “It is a far better thing to talk to God about a man, than to talk to a man about God.”

James expressed it this way, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed” (5:16, The Message).

Before we pray for the remaking of another, we also confess our shortcomings and ask for guidance, looking for knotty beamed lumber in our lives before we whisk broom sawdust out of someone else’s life.

What kind of relationships would be fostered if James’ words took root and flourished in each life? Families, businesses, schools, governments, each man and each woman could harvest bushel baskets of wholeness and healing.

Want to inspire someone to reach higher? Depend on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to intervene. Confess, share, ask forgiveness, pray for the other person and expect good returns on your prayer-planting.

2 comments:

  1. Cathy, I appreciate this phrase, because I have never heard it put that way before:

    “It is a far better thing to talk to God about a man, than to talk to a man about God.”

    Less than an hour ago I was talking to a few sisters in Christ, and the teaching again (after baptism)issue came up. I can see your illustration as applicable because, surely, we as Christians have our job, but we also have to trust that God (and the entire Trinity)will do His job.

    You've reminded me that it really is God who gives the increase. Thank you.

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  2. Love your blog. seen the url on mcoc

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