Kingdom Principle: You must be anchored in the Spirit or you will be blown by the world.
|2 Kings 5:1-14||Psalm 30||Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16||Luke 10:1-11, 16-20|
How often do you hear something only to have to ask, “what did you say?” because you truly were not listening. In this week’s text, Elisha can say to Naaman, “I heard you but I’m not listening to you – because – I am listening to the Spirit of God.” The passages this week draw to the surface the power of listening. This post and next week will serve as a climatic summary of the posts over the last couple of months focusing on Kingdom Servant Leaders and Anointing. The Goal of the next two weeks is that we will learn 2LAF. (pronounced “to laugh”) This teaching was given to me my friend Chuck Miller and covers only 2 pages of his wonderful comprehensive (350 pages) study of spiritual leadership and discipleship.
Who has listened to you? Who has accepted you? Who has forgiven you? The person who has fulfilled these three roles in your life has given you a great gift. This lays the foundation of a relationship with you. If you will not listen to someone, that relationship will struggle to grow. Yet even if you do listen to them, but live in judgment over them rather than acceptance, the relationship will never be one of intimacy and joy. While relationships are initiated by listening, there must an two way engagement of the information. This exchange in healthy relationships will be in an acceptance of each other’s identity. However acceptance is not the same as approval. This acceptance is to embrace one’s reality with respect, not to judge or to evaluate.. This is not “to hate the sin, but love the sinner”, rather is to see the person regardless of sin or label and know that not one of us is perfect. To declare approval or potentially dis-approval is to have completed the judgement. This is vulnerability is only possible for those who themselves have accepted their imperfections. What must follow in this relationship is the freedom of forgiveness.
Has God listened to you? Accepted you? Forgiven you? If so you are in relationship with Him. God hears my cry while I am yet a sinner and His enemy; yet he covers my sin and shame and pronounces me forgiven. (Romans 5:8-11) In this God accepts me for who I am and the sin which once separates now catapults me into a relationship. It is through the act of being forgiven that all barriers are removed. What is more is that God has fully offered this forgiveness prior to my even asking. So the key to this relationship is my acceptance of my need, and the receiving of the gift that God has given me. This is where the listening must begin, and when we see the beauty of this relationship we can’t help but 2LAF.
LISTEN, ACCEPT, FORGIVEN – are the first three steps L.A.F.
The first three steps in the relationship are about one’s awareness of themselves. First, I open my ears, then, I open my arms and finally I open my eyes. To open ones ears, a person must be grounded and anchored in the truth of the Holy Spirit. When I am dependent on the other person’s approval or my need to be loved, then my listening will be corrupted. When we open our arms to receive another (in the form of a hug or handshake), you expose yourself and become vulnerable. If I am hiding or covering up my true fears and feelings, then I cannot open myself to the other person. Finally I need to open my eyes to my own need of forgiveness. This step brings us all to level ground. Relationships are complicated, and even more so when people see themselves as standing on unequal ground. The first 3 steps to LAF are in our own self-discovery. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. To open my arms to a loving Savior reminds us just how much we have been forgiven.
Yet this is not enough… We all need a bit more joy in our lives and to laugh is a good start to a relationship. But what is more – we can L.A.F 2x as much. LOVE, APPRECIATE, FORGIVE are the next three steps…. (Next week)
Now to review step 1:
Listen – we are sent into the world as listeners, because the Lord has listened to us
Accept – we are sent into the world to accept, because the Lord has accepted us
Forgiven – we are sent into the world as forgiven, because the Lord as forgiven us
Listening lays the foundation of this week’s passages… if you don’t listen you end up in places don’t want to be. 3 keys to Anchoring (Being Rooted) in the Spirit…
1. Begin to Pray with the expectation that you will listen as much as you talk…. Prayer is communication with God, not to God… so spend as much time listening in prayer as you do speaking.
2. Hear the Truth! There is more than one spirit, and you want to make sure you are hearing the Spirit of Truth. The best way to do this is through the Scriptures. Read these Scriptures out loud, and everywhere there is an underlined word or space – read your name there.
3. Practice. This means actually listening – which is hard work. There will be training offered on this Sunday 9.15.13… 8:00 – 3:00…. Or Read a book that outlines the process….