Being Real In the Body Of Christ

Nancy from Texas posted something in the Lifestream Community the other day that summed up so well what it means to be real in the body of Christ. Nancy said she pulled together various things she had heard from some of my teachings on some of the CD series that she has been listening to. I think she captured it well and wanted to replay it here:

In a combination of her words and mine, this is what it means to Nancy to be real with other people:

It’s OK to question what I need to question, ask what I need to ask and struggle where I struggle. I’ve learned that I am not rewarded for pretending to be better than I am, but that experiencing the life of God means that I am loved through the ups and downs, hurts and joys, and doubts as well as triumphs. Instead of exploiting people’s shame or need for approval to try and make them better Christians, I encourage people to go to God for healing and restoration from shame so they can experience for themselves the love of God. Instead of loading others up with a list of `shoulds’, I tell people that God is working by “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” and his greatest desire is to communicate with them. I talk about learning “how to” listen to God and follow what he puts on their heart even if that means they make a mistake doing so. Instead of trying to change people I urge them to get to know Christ as life because it’s so much fun (and far more effective) watching him change them. Instead of manipulating others to do what I think would benefit me and my definition of God’s will for them. I’m learning how to trust Christ as my resource for what I need.

I find the simple sharing of His life together with other believers is how I am learning to “be” the church instead of just attending church.

Being real doesn’t give permission for people to be rude or obnoxious, to make false accusations or to victimize others with their hurt and pain. But it is the freedom to express themselves as honestly as they can, to ask questions and to follow God’s working in their heart. Anyone who has found an environment where this kind of freedom is encouraged—where they are not judged or rejected for being honest, struggling or making mistakes has found a true piece of the body of Christ. Only in an environment of this kind of freedom do we grow.

And if that’s the kind of relationships we want then it will also be the kind of friendship we extend to others.

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6 Comments
  1. Steve September 24, 2004 at 8:36 pm

    I completely agree with your statements on freedom of honest expression and following God’s working in our hearts.

    Lately I have been listening for God to speak to me as much through the still voice in my heart as through His written Word.

    The freedom that I have experienced with my brothers through our blogs and those rare but precious times when we actually get together in person have permitted me to experience the true unconditional fellowship for which I have hungered for all of my live in Christ. The opportunity to discuss those issues of the heart without fear of rejection or condemnation is like finding a treasure.

  2. Steve September 24, 2004 at 11:36 pm

    I completely agree with your statements on freedom of honest expression and following God’s working in our hearts.

    Lately I have been listening for God to speak to me as much through the still voice in my heart as through His written Word.

    The freedom that I have experienced with my brothers through our blogs and those rare but precious times when we actually get together in person have permitted me to experience the true unconditional fellowship for which I have hungered for all of my live in Christ. The opportunity to discuss those issues of the heart without fear of rejection or condemnation is like finding a treasure.

  3. george September 25, 2004 at 3:54 am

    And LoneStar helps too huh Steve!

    See you Saturday Lord willing!

    Peace

  4. george September 25, 2004 at 6:54 am

    And LoneStar helps too huh Steve!

    See you Saturday Lord willing!

    Peace

  5. Jennifer George September 27, 2004 at 4:40 am

    I told my hubby recently the name of the Christian in our city that I most admire and respect, and he was quite surprised, and the Christian man in question was even more surprised again when my tell-tale-tit husband passed this information on to him! This guy struggles so, so much with his relationship with God, he’s not a speaker or public in any church gathering in any way, he has doubts and conflicts about some of God’s Word and voices them with no shame, sometimes he’s just in bad humour and we all know about it! The reason I respect him so much is because of his "being real" with no pretense whatever. I know and see that He really loves the Lord and has been changed so much by him, and the heart of the man is so obvious. He has at times come to me saying, roughly "I think God wants me to say this to you, but I could be totally off the wall with this, okay…", and so often he has been entirely accurate, or has been praying for people privately, and then telling me he has a burden for them, and I might often know that there was very good reason for his ‘ignorant’ prayers. Yes, ultimately, when you think about who you most respect as a Christian, you’ll probably find that it is not a dazzling leader with eloquence and a full-time ministry, but it is the quiet background person that you can trust, who struggles openly as much as you do! Thanks for all this.

  6. Jennifer George September 27, 2004 at 7:40 am

    I told my hubby recently the name of the Christian in our city that I most admire and respect, and he was quite surprised, and the Christian man in question was even more surprised again when my tell-tale-tit husband passed this information on to him! This guy struggles so, so much with his relationship with God, he’s not a speaker or public in any church gathering in any way, he has doubts and conflicts about some of God’s Word and voices them with no shame, sometimes he’s just in bad humour and we all know about it! The reason I respect him so much is because of his "being real" with no pretense whatever. I know and see that He really loves the Lord and has been changed so much by him, and the heart of the man is so obvious. He has at times come to me saying, roughly "I think God wants me to say this to you, but I could be totally off the wall with this, okay…", and so often he has been entirely accurate, or has been praying for people privately, and then telling me he has a burden for them, and I might often know that there was very good reason for his ‘ignorant’ prayers. Yes, ultimately, when you think about who you most respect as a Christian, you’ll probably find that it is not a dazzling leader with eloquence and a full-time ministry, but it is the quiet background person that you can trust, who struggles openly as much as you do! Thanks for all this.

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