Family Life Series Part 3 – The Ultimate Buzz
This is the conclusion to the Family Life series I have been doing. You can read the intro “All in the Family” here, part 1 “Life as a Son” here and part 2 “Breaking Bread Together” here. This one is entitled the Ultimate Buzz will be about relationships and loving others.
This is more of a practical message, which I don’t tend to focus on because I feel it’s more important to get to the root of our issues and there is more of a need for those message since it seems like just about everybody likes to preach practical messages all the time. At any rate, practical messages are useful, so long as they are preached from the wisdom of God, not man’s wisdom.
After laying the foundation and importance of our relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now we can take a look at how that translates to our relationships with others. As I discussed in the series intro, this “family life” is not exclusive to only members of your literal family or even your church family. This type of life is something that can be applied to everybody you encounter and all your relationships. In God’s eyes we are all “in the family” and that is how he wants everyone to be treated.
I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not a relationship expert, but I have been learning a lot. I like learning about relationships because they do play a big role in us being able to enjoy our lives. I also see that relationship is what God is all about. Elohim is a word frequently used in the Hebrew Bible for God. It speaks to the plural form of God, the divine ones and His triune nature. Since we were made in His image, and the Godhead is a relational being, it tells me that we were meant to have relationships. So I’ll be discussing the dynamics of these relationships in the rest of this post and how it leads to what I refer to as the ultimate buzz. Enjoy.
The Ultimate Buzz
In my previous post in this series “breaking bread together”, I talked about the table we have a seat at and the bread of life served at it, which is Jesus. If there was some wine at that table, metaphorically speaking it would be the love of God. That you can feel the same thing in your heart that God feels. That you can experience the love of God coming out of you for others. This is what can give you a kind of buzz.
Speaking of a buzz, I’ve mentioned before my background and party days in high school and college. In those days I was always in search of the perfect buzz. I’m a very task oriented person, so my list for each day would look something like this; go to work and make money, finish any schoolwork I had to do, go out and get a buzz, rinse repeat. This was a continuous cycle I was in particularly my last two years in college. I worked a full time retail job in which I worked every weekend, went to school on my off days, went to the gym 3 days a week and managed to maintain a social life. During these two years the only days I had off were Easter and Christmas. It was like a blur.
But anyways, getting back to the search for the buzz, Greg Henry mentioned this before I knew exactly what he was talking about; when we were in search for this “perfect buzz”, we never wanted to experience it ourselves. We wanted to be around other people, especially our friends and talk about how great the buzz is. We wanted to elaborate about all the details. How it makes us feel, etc. In terms of God’s perfect buzz (His love for us), He doesn’t want to experience this by Himself either. He wants someone to share in this “buzz” with Him. He wants to talk about how we and others make Him feel. He wants to talk about His experiences, thoughts, emotions, etc. We are the ones that “do it” for Him and He loves when we share in this “buzz” with Him.God's love for us is the ultimate buzz and He doesn't want to experience it by Himself. Click To Tweet
In order to be able to participate in this “ultimate buzz”, we need to be able to forgive people and see our relationships restored. Greg Henry preached an awesome message a few months ago entitled Health & Healing for relationships. I got a lot out of it and would recommend giving it a listen here if this is a topic you are interested in. Greg teaches about freedom from offense and the root cause of the pain we feel in our relationships. He explained that most of the pain is not from our actual interactions with people, but the judgments we make about what they are doing or saying to us. This is where the problem lies.Most of our pain is not from our interactions w ppl but the judgments we make about them. Click To Tweet
Jesus had the worst things happen to him that could possibly happen to anyone, yet his thoughts on the cross were still leading to the fruit of the spirit (i.e. – forgive them for they know not what they do). How is it that we can find that type of life born in us? Is it even possible? First of all, yes it is possible. The scriptures tell us we have been given the mind of Christ. Regarding the how, consider this quote from Greg;
“Jesus never looked at himself and said the reason they don’t receive from me is because I’m not beautiful or not good enough. He saw there was another dynamic going on in them completely apart from Him. It’s what was going on in them that brought forth these actions. That is wisdom from God.” ~ Greg Henry.
Basically Jesus was able to separate the sin from the sinner. He could see that their actions were a result of some false belief they had…not because they were just a bad person who wanted to do him harm. I know it’s hard for us to believe but many who persecuted Christ and many who persecute His followers today actually think they are doing the right thing. They actually believe in their mind they are doing those things “in the name of God”. Now most of us aren’t going to face anywhere near this level of persecution, but we still encounter many situations which bring us pain. The question to ask ourselves at the time is who told us what we are believing about them or the situation? Did God tell us that or is that a conclusion we came to on our own? In order for us to be able to continue to love others, we will have to be able to forgive them and see others as God sees them.
You may think it sounds crazy to be able to or even have a desire for effortless forgiveness, but this is way Jesus did it and this is way we are designed to forgive. We are human beings, not human doings. We are created to be, not to do. There is a specific way to forgive that doesn’t make it to be such a hard work. When you get a revelation of what forgiveness is talking about it, you are set free and love and compassion for people comes forth. We all offend and are offensive to each other at times, so forgiveness needs to be an ongoing thing in our lives. If it is so laborious for us to forgive, it will be very hard to continually do it.
Here’s an example that will hopefully give you a better idea of what happens when people offend you. Imagine somebody is holding a gun to your best friend’s head and says that unless your best friend kills you, they will kill them. Will you be mad at your friend for the situation they are in? Wouldn’t you be able to see that it is their situation that is causing them to act the way they are towards you and not that they inherently want to kill you? If somehow you both got out of that situation alive, would you hold on grudge on that person?
I used to have the belief that I would just treat others as they treated me. This is a very powerless position to be in because you are at the mercy of how others treat you…and many out there aren’t living their life with God. Jesus said in Luke 6:32 “If you only love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them”. This speaks to the necessity of God’s help for us to be able to love those who don’t love us. We can love those who love us easily in our own ability, but if we’re going to love those who don’t love us, it’s going to take God’s help.
This “only love those who love me” type of belief opens the door for our whole existence to be shaped by some offense that has been committed against us. Many people are living this way and don’t even realize that their life has been defined by that offense. Very few people live from the platform of who they really are but rather enslaved by an offense which shapes the life they now experience.
The key to effortless forgiveness is to understand that it’s not the person who is sinning against us but the law system they are under that is causing them to act that way. Now you are free to separate the sin from the sinner and be able to forgive them. You are free from living your life from the platform of the pain and offense people commit against you.
How To Love Like God
Once you are free from unforgiveness and can see people how God sees them, you are in position to see the love of God manifest in your life. This is the whole point of ministry…to immerse people in the love of God. There is so much focus on the love though and not how it is that this love will come about. We should consider how it is that God loves and how it applies to our lives.The whole point of ministry is to reconcile people to God & immerse them in His love. Click To Tweet
Since we are made in His image and likeness, the same way that God loves is the same way love comes forth in us. So how does God love? God doesn’t love us because he has to. He doesn’t love us because He is commanded to. Some might say, well he does command us to love in John 15. I’ll break this down in the next paragraph but let me just say, the command does not demand love but it supplies love. If Jesus was not persuaded of the Father’s heart towards him, we would have never seen love manifesting out of him. So let’s look at John 15 some more.
John 15:12 & John 15:17 are the verses that talk about the commandment to love. Let’s look at these verses in a couple different versions:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12 NIV
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12 KJV
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12 ESV
This is my command: Love each other. John 15:17 NIV
These things I command you, that ye love one another. John 15:17 KJV
These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:17 ESVThese things I command u, so that u will love 1 another. John 15:17 ESV. Abiding is the command, not love. Click To Tweet
So you might look at these verses and say, see clearly it says we are commanded to love. However if you look at the last verse, John 15:17 in the ESV version, I bolded the text that says SO THAT you will love one another. If you look at the word “that” in these verses it is the Greek word hina. It’s definition is; in order that, so that and for the purpose that. The ESV is the only one that translated this correctly and it makes a BIG difference. That begs the question, if the commandment is not to love but love is what results from the commandment…what is the commandment then? Well if you look earlier in the chapter, Jesus is talking about abiding in the vine. Here is a quote from Greg Henry about abiding:
“When Jesus said he abided in the Father’s commandment, he is saying he abided in the Father’s heart towards Him and others. The father taught Jesus concerning what he thought about him and all people. Jesus dwelled in that teaching, and in that He dwelled in that, it was unto the manifestation of the Father’s love for all people being born in his heart.” ~ Greg Henry
That is how Jesus loved. He remained in the Father’s love for Him and all people. A commandment in Hebrew talks about a teaching or instruction, not an order. The commandment Jesus is referring to in John 15 is talking about the teaching and instruction of what is in the Father’s heart. Again, God has something in His heart about Jesus and all people and because Jesus dwelled in that, He was able to love. That’s how God loves and that’s how we can love all people as well. It starts from the inside out. From changing our beliefs, which then lead to the actions. If you’re only concerned with the actions, you are missing the whole point of how real love actually occurs. If you’re only concerned with the actions, you are trying to love people in your our strength, wisdom and ability. Remember, in that same John 15 chapter, Jesus says apart from me you can do nothing. Why would he then be commanding us to do the hardest thing of all (love others) in our own ability? He’s not. Think about it.
Practical Steps for Abiding
Since the emphasis is on abiding in God’s love for us and others, I thought I would mention a few things that would help us with that. Here are some tips compiled from ex Navy Seals regarding mental toughness:
– Eat the elephant – how do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time. This concept helps us when we come against daunting tasks. In regard to abiding in God’s love, if you’re not accustomed to this, it may seem impossible to always do this. If that is the case, that you might want to break your day down into different segments. This is just an idea. Of course the main thing to do would be to pray about it and ask God. He will lead you.
– Visualize Success – I’m a big believer in visualization. It’s something I’ve been taught to do in sports and I know it works. In a study about basketball players shooting free throws, they found that players who practiced visually improved by 23% and those who practiced shooting free throws improved by 24%. That’s only 1% difference. There is a famous story about a guy who was a prisoner of war. While he was imprisoned, he envisioned himself playing a round of golf every day to help keep his sanity. When he finally got out and played a round of golf, he improved his score by like 20 strokes. All this to say, visualization and mediation is very powerful. Visualize yourself abiding in God’s love. Be specific about the details. Meditate on the benefits.
– 4 by 4 for 4 – in times of great stress, the Seals are taught to breathe in for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds and repeat this for 4 minutes. Try this the next time you feel stressed and/or temptation to get out of the place of rest God has provided for you.
– Embrace Thankfulness – sometimes we may go through periods of time where we are frustrated with our situation. In these times it can be very helpful to remember the times in the past when God has come through for us and all the things we are thankful for.
Here is an acronym that my pastor’s daughter Natalie Hochstatter came up with. She developed this to help us in spending quality time with others and God.
I – Initiate Conversation
N – Notice things about them
T – Talk about their interests
E – Engage in them
N – Note what they are saying
T – Take turns talking
I – Identify Opportunities
O – Observe Body Language (Jesus is God’s body language by the way. I wrote a post about it here.)
N – Never Interrupt
A – Ask Questions
L – Laugh Together
I hope this blog helps you in living your life Christian life and enjoying your relationship with God and others. I have provided some additional scriptures below relevant to this topic. On a personal note, starting next year I will be changing from a regularly scheduled post every week to spontaneous posts as I feel led. I anticipate that I will still be posting regularly but I want to be free to post as I’m led going forward.
It has been a great experience for me this year in starting this blog. I feel God has really helped ingrain some things I have learned much deeper in the posts so that I can internalize them. It’s also been great to be able to minister to new people and reconnect with others through guest posts, comments, etc. This post is particularly relevant to my life right now, as I am really starting to feel a desire to spread this Good News to others more and share with others in this “buzz”. I will be working on a book, more volunteer opportunities and more and I’ll be keeping you guys posted. Thanks for stopping by and all the support during this time. Hope you all have a great Christmas. Blessings.
Col. 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Philippians 2:12 – Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. NIV – Fyi, the word trembling in this verse is translated from the Greek word tromo which is used to describe the anxiety of one who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements.
James 1:20 – because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Col. 4:6 – Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Prov. 16:24 – Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Prov. 15:28 – The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
James 3:17- But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Genesis 2:18 – The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure – “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Matt. 13:44 – The treasure in this parable is us. We took God’s breathe away and was willing to give His only son so that He wouldn’t be separated from us eternally. The treasure can’t be Jesus because our way to heaven can’t be bought. God values every person this much. Not everybody will except Him into their life, but just for the opportunity, He was willing to give His all.