That ‘One’ Feeling

So a little about me…I work in a big building in a field (sorry that’s so vague) in the country. And in that big building I am a senior financial analyst. Kinda random, I know. But, like I said before, God is good at throwing us curve balls and oddities in life. Well, I strongly believe that coffee is one of the greatest gifts God ever blessed the earth with. Enter the Starbucks down the street. Literally, as I take the country road into town (a small town btw), one of the first buildings is…you guessed it, a Starbucks. Guess where I go for a lunch coffee every single day? Starbucks 🙂

I am there 5 out of 7 days of the week. I am on a first name basis with most of the baristas, haha, I know right? They all know my drink, pour over coffee, “Which region do you want today Joel? Grande or tall?” My goal while I’m there: breathe in a cup of coffee and geek out in either my Hebrew or Koine Greek book

Today, in all its glory. Ethiopian coffee + Greek vocab = Geeky Smiles

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All that background to bring yesterday into focus. I’m chatting with one of the baristas, Carrie, while my coffee is brewing and we end up getting kinda deep and start talking about adoption, how difficult it is to adopt, the YUGE (sorry Trump) supply of kids without families, both domestically and internationally, and the horrors of sex trafficking. And, the best part, I even got to share in the conversation God’s heart for children and how antithetical God’s love is versus our current post-modern culture.

I watched this really good vid from Church at the Cross (thx to one of our fellow bloggers for posting it on WP) and this guy JR Vassar is preaching and talking about us as believers struggling to engage the people we encounter in our daily lives for the Gospel. And it’s true, we do. Maybe we are shy. I know I can be shy at times, and it’s so much easier connecting on here sometimes than face to face. Maybe we are selfish. Maybe we don’t want to take the time to encounter somebody else. Maybe we are insecure and don’t feel ready or worthy or knowledgeable or beautiful or strong enough.

But you are not lacking in those things. Rather you are being redeemed for glory, for beauty, for strength, for joy and for grace. And most of all, for love and to be loved.

I love this quote from CS Lewis out of The Weight of Glory concerning our redemption as children of God:

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So two questions came to mind:

  1. How can we expect to change the world if we don’t engage others in love and friendship?
  2. How can we expect to fulfill Jesus’ prayer to the Father for us as believers to be closely connected if we don’t share ourselves with each other?

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that his believers would be one, just as he and the Father are one. WOW. Just stop for a moment and imagine the depth and intimacy and love the Son and the Father must have together. And now, place that on your relationships. That is the kind of relational life Jesus desires for you to have.

John 17:20-21, 23: I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…that they may be brought to complete unity.

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Can we do that? Yes, absolutely! Will we get it right on the first try? I don’t know, maybe? But if we fail the first time, that’s ok too! God’s grace is abundant and overflowing through Jesus. There will be challenges. Oneness can never happen without repeated vulnerability and trust. That takes time. It also requires we work through past hurts on our hearts – being vulnerable with someone is hard. Many still struggle with that concept even with God. Many have been deeply hurt by people in their past (or current situations). But, it’s what we were created for. And we should never let the dark world overshadow the loving people we are being made into. Also, a cautionary note: God prays for oneness for his people. He never asked us to be one with the world. Protect your heart, it’s the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). There are boundaries with people in the world just as there are boundaries with those in the Bride, but the goal we are striving toward is complete oneness and love  with each other in Christ Jesus.

So three final questions just to ponder…

  • Where can you engage with those you encounter in your daily life for the Gospel and for love?
  • Where can you really start to become one with those God has placed in relationship with you who are brothers and sisters in Christ? And finally,
  • What conversations do you need to start with God for him to begin work on your heart to make you ready to be one with others in the family of God, as well as being willing and ready to share the Gospel with those you encounter in your daily life?

Hope you have a wonderful afternoon and I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and feedback!

 

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26 thoughts on “That ‘One’ Feeling

  1. one of the key words that popped out for me is “engage”. I agree. we need to engage ourselves into loving others. it’s so active. love is not passive. i’ve been struggling with passive love (if it is even love), and i’ve realized how limited my relationships have grown into because of my passivity. i desire for more intimate relationships with people. and above all, with the father. i want that “One” feeling.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that Zara. I feel the same way, and it can be hard! I like how you worded it in our relationships become limited because of passivity. I’ve been there, and if I’m honest, a good chunk of me is still there. But, there’s just that hunger deep inside to know others and to be known. It’s totally holy and from God and it’s just how we are created to exist, but to get it and live intimacy with others it requires stepping outside myself. Which I’m not always great at!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I struggle with this. Im not an extrovert at all. I tend to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. I’m a good listener of other people but Ive not been good at engaging more conversation especially with people I’m not that close too.
    I have missed a lot of opportunities of sharing the gospel because of this. I want to be more bold but still be me. I’m around people all the time, my students and my students parents. Most of which are not Christian. I want people to see the love of Jesus in me.
    Thanks for the post. I will be praying for the Lord to help me as I encounter people daily.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Let me clarify I do better in writing than in person on expressing myself. 😊
      Which is weird because I’m a music teacher.
      I think its more of an issue of speaking about things that might be disagreeable with people in person. I always want to be agreeable but in my older age I have definitely gotten better. It’s not peace at all cost. I have to be truthful but always with love.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I like what you said a lot, because I think I have a lot of convergence with where you’re coming from. Honestly, I’ve missed a lot of opportunities myself with both sharing the Gospel with unbelievers, as well as not building closer relationships with people inside the body of Christ.

        On a separate note, that’s so cool that you’re a music teacher!! My wife was in choir in high school, she loved it, it’s one of her heart’s desires. She doesn’t do it anymore with family life and church, etc. But, that is interesting about not being an extrovert, because my wife loves singing, but won’t sing really to anybody solo other than our kids. And she is more extroverted, so kinda flip flopped from what you’re saying.

        Plus, I will say this, I don’t know you, but from reading your blogs you definitely seem like a person in Christ who has a lot of great thoughts to share! So just to give some encouragement from a fellow sibling in Christ, next time the Holy Spirit gives you that little nudge to go talk with somebody, totally go for it! Because it seems like you are somebody with a lot to offer other people through God 🙂

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  3. Thank you so much for the encouragement!
    So cool about your wife. Tell her to never give up on your dreams! I have an adult student who is nearly 60 been with me for more 4 years. She is such an inspiration that it’s never too late! She has such fun singing, and it gives me so much joy to help her realize her desire.
    Tell your wife to go for it! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a good story! I’ll try to get her to get back into it. I think she’d really love that. She might get back to it one if these days. Thanks for the encouragement as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! I love this. I tend to keep myself very distant from people and it’s so hard to open up, but what you said is so true. We have to be willing to open ourselves up and allow God to use us. He never shut us out and we must do the same. Thank you for this. It is encouraging.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Joel – great post. The Lord has been hitting me with this over and over again lately. 1 John 4:20 — If anyone says they love God and they hate their brother they are a liar puts in much blunter terms. It is a challenge every day because I am so self focused and people can be equally self focused – meanwhile Jesus died for us.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post, Joel. All of us we are insecure and don’t feel ready or worthy or knowledgeable or beautiful or strong enough — thank God we have Christ in us and the Holy Spirit leading and directing us, if we are allowing Him to. When we encounter anyone in our daily life, if we allow the Holy Spirit to go out ahead of us and do the encountering, instead of putting ourselves out in front of Him, we can’t help but encounter people in love, and they can’t help but respond to Him (not us). I pray every morning to my Blessed Helper and Counselor, that He fill me to overflowing so that whoever I encounter first encounters Him, and then I step back and watch Him in action, working through me. Thank you for liking my post, as that led me to you — a dear brother in Christ.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much EJ, that was an incredibly kind comment from a dear sister in Christ. Seriously. I couldn’t agree more with all you said. I love your process of being filled up in the morning in and then, after the encounter, stepping back and watch the Spirit work in their hearts through the seeds that were planted. I just love love that! You have some great wisdom here. God bless and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts!

      Like

  7. You asked some excellent questions. I have had conversations along what you have written. The people I have talked about have told me they just like to keep to themselves and they don’t like to get out. They have wonderful and loving hearts and give beyond their means but they don’t let many in to their personal lives so I am blessed that they have let me in. Yet I understand where they come from. When you put yourself out there and let people in you are at risk of being hurt, betrayed and maybe even slandered to name a few of the risk you face opening yourself up. I have caught myself becoming a hermit at times. Kind of like When Elijah went and hid in the cave. Yet when this happens I hear a voice ask me how can you share Jesus if you close yourself in and keep everyone out? So I have to step outside of my comfort zone and know that God’s love doesn’t stop with me but what He has given to me I must share with as many as I possibly can. When I share my testimonies I know I am putting a target on myself and that there will be those who will judge and even condemn me but I remember that God has forgiven me and it is not what I have done but what He has done in me that I am sharing and it is one way He takes that which was meant to harm me and turn it into a tool that can reach someone who is lost and hurting. I could hide and try to make a safe place for myself but that is not where my safe place truly is. My safe place is in the Lord Jesus. God is my shield and strong tower and I was not made to sit on the side lines but to get out on the field and fight the good fight of faith. This post has really inspired me, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First thank you, you’re too kind! I love your thoughts here! I spent a long time being a hermit, although it was a desert time for me and I think God wanted it for me for a season, but I know how enjoyable it is to share his love with others. It just feels good. It’s kinda addicting! But there are those situations with strangers where I hear the Spirit nudging me to say something and I don’t out of some weird awkward fear. When I logically think through it, I’m not sure what they could do to me if the interaction went wrong. The worst they could do to me is say, “I’m not interested, I don’t believe in God, get away from me.” And for me that really wouldn’t be a all that bad. On the flip side, they could Respond really well and I could end up being a conduit for Christ to redeem a lost person and make a new friend. My flesh just doesn’t understand that logic though and I’ve missed many good opportunities because of it! Including times to build friendship and fellowship with other believers. Thankfully Jesus is gracious to me!

      Thanks for reading this one out of the ‘archives’ Julie!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reading your comment reminds of one incident. I was sitting on a friends porch and we were just watching cars drive by and I saw two women walking and they were across the street.I heard a quiet voice tell me offer them a ride. I wasn’t in my car but sitting on the porch and thought I heard wrong. So I tried reasoning with the voice but it only repeated itself. So I said sorry God for arguing got up looked at my friend and said I will be right back. Got in my car and offered them a ride. They were residents of a local womens shelter that I had previously lived in, and one of them had a broken ankle and they were going to the ER . The appreciated the offer and even let me pray for them. Later I went back and it was perfect timing she was coming out of the hospital and needed a ride. If I had been in the house I would have missed this opportunity and the funny thing is when I got back my friend told me they had heard the same voice but I was better at listening.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh that is cool!! I love that!! God was using you for those women. What a great opportunity to serve them. Jesus was definitely speaking to you there.

        That’s interesting that your friend heard the same voice too. God wanted someone to help them. Good job at following through! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. While am an extrovert and probably use most of any platform for Jesus, I am lacking in patience and not quite slow to anger, I can completely detach from anyone who wrongs me, though forgiven. I have told the Lord Jesus to mould me and help me put a bridle on my tongue as in Him there’s is perfection in all things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Patience is a big one for me too! I’m still working on my tongue, and it’s been way over a decade since I started trying to control it. James 3:7-8! We can take all these creatures in nature, but no man can tame the tongue! I’ve told Jesus the same thing, he’s working on me for sure on it. but I still slip up, regularly. Thankfully he is a graceful and forgiving God!

      Liked by 1 person

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