Healthy, Devoted Relationships

Appeal to the Heart

But any appeal we make about these truths has to be continually towards a person's heart. Why do they desire to be independent? "Well, I don't want anybody following me around. I want to go to the mall all by myself, and don't you tell me I can't."

Our response shouldn't be, "Nope, you've got to go two-by-two." It ought to be, "Fine, go to the mall by yourself. Pray tell, why do you want to go by yourself to the mall? Fine. Do it. Go. Take my car! But why? Why do you want to do it that way?"

"Well…" You start out trying to answer that question, and if you're real honest, maybe what you find out is that you just want to spend some time window shopping and drooling over material things.

Maybe I'm just self-centered and I have no interest in serving others and loving them, or I want to blend into the world. Maybe I'm ambitious and want to go back and tell stories about how I witnessed to so-and-so and exaggerate the story about how spiritual I am. Maybe I tell people that I'm going off to pray, and I do pray for five minutes, but then I walk through the mall drooling for an hour and a half. What is the reason, really? What is it really that's going on in a person's heart?

That's what the living and active Word does. It "lays bare the motives of the heart." It does not tell people what to do. Healthy, devoted relationships do not tell people what to do, either. Like the Word of God, they, too, lay bare the motives of the heart.

If anybody wants you to tell them what to do, don't do it, because that will do them no good at all. If you gave them fifty-eight consecutive correct answers on the topic of what to do, maybe they'd stay out of trouble, but they'd never have any relationship with God. And what, after all, is the goal? Five thousand people staying out of trouble, or five thousand people who love and adore God and trust Him with all their hearts, obeying Him to the core whether anybody's looking or not? There comes a time when you've got to let go. Sure, there's an incubator period. But even so, be careful that you don't come up with dogmas of, "It's gotta be two-by-two." Well, yeah, togetherness is God's heart. But why wouldn't I want to go that way? That's the real issue. But if I know truth, and I see it, and I really am humble before God and want to obey Him, but I still feel like I need to go to the mall alone because God has a purpose for it, well, okay, sure; go for it. And then we trust each other, love each other, and pray for one another. It has nothing to do with "the right thing to do" versus "the wrong thing to do." It has to do with the matters of the heart in helping one another to find God and His ways.

All of that is part of the wineskin. I don't want anyone to confuse the issue, because relationships—devoted relationships—are the wineskin of the last days. There is no question about that fact. It's all through the New Testament and so clearly God's heart. The hand is not to say to the eye, "I have no need of you." When one part suffers, the whole body—not just your best friend—should be sad. In 1 Peter 2 we read that Jesus is the precious cornerstone that God has laid in Zion, though many disregarded Him. He is a stumbling stone, a rock that made men fall on Him. Now we, as living stones, are going to be a spiritual or "spirit-filled" house, "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. Once we were not a people, but now we are a people"—a people, a people, a people. It's God's heart, that when they've seen me, they've seen you; that when they've seen you, they've seen me; that we are one, as Jesus and the Father are one. "And this is how the world will know," is Jesus' prayer in John 17.

This is important stuff, not an optional extra. This is God's heart for the last days. If we won't walk in these things, then as the old saying goes, if we won't hang together, we'll hang separately. Mark it down. It is very true, and it is imperative that we learn the principles of God.

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