Exciting Relationship

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. Philippians 1:27-30

When I read Philippians I feel like I’m reading a letter from my friend Paul to a group friends of mine. I relate in some ways to that group in Philippi. Writing a novel of that place  / group in Philippi has only deepened my love for them, in which I look forward to meeting all of them someday soon. Lydia must be quite the person of faith and creativity. Paul knew that they had the strength and maturity to ‘suffer for the sake of Christ’ just like what he was going through. Epaphroditus was a part of that Philippi family, along with Timothy who obviously knew all of them as well as he passed through on assignment. Euodias, Syntyche, and Clement were mentioned in that letter as well. What do we know of those mentioned? Hmmm… my God-given creative juices begin to flow just thinking about them. You see …I love the tiny mysterious details in the scriptures. They are there for a reason. Searching them out is a great adventure, and so many lessons He can bring along the way… in story. Do you find the mysterious details in scripture exciting as well? I get excited when the Holy Spirit highlights those details to me, for I know an adventure awaits me if I’m willing to go ‘with Him’ to seek them out.

God is ALL about relationship. In fact I think real spiritual maturity is the person who has learned how to nurture strong intimate relationships. Spiritual maturity has very little to do with academics. If it did, why did Jesus choose who He did in the first circle of 12 disciples  / apostles? Spiritual maturity is about being in a deep intimate relationship with Jesus, and the ability to learn deeply from the Holy Spirit. Spiritual maturity nurtures humility, gratefulness, and repentance, with each increasing day and level. He wants to teach us about what real relationship is and means. Did God create us so that we could just jump through hoops for Him? Or did He create us to be loved by Him and have a relationship with Him?

Unfortunately we here in this ‘institutional religious system’ equate spiritual maturity to academics, knowledge, and memorization of the scriptures. Paul kinda destroys that construct / idea with this …

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2

And how exactly is that agape ‘love’ that Paul is writing about acquired? Is it through rigorous study? Is it through academics? Or is it through … real relationship with Him. Intimate, long, revealing, secretive, private, real relationship with Him. Relationship that reaches to the deepest part of our soul and spirits. Relationship that reaches in and encompasses every part of us. How is that relationship developed in us? Much of it is done in your ‘secret’ place in prayer / conversation with Him, daily, intimately, honestly. Are you willing to talk to Him about the deepest part of yourself? You know, those things you are ashamed of, scared of, and those things which you’ve seen glimpses (God’s creative potential) of that you want to grow within in yourself. Being able to talk to Him about …everything; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The present is the best time for you to begin.

Father …. I love you….

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