Connection

There are two paradigms. The first is to note that I am doing well in the Lord when I am connected to Him and to others and to note when I am disconnected. I will define disconnected as the inability to have relationships with others that are mutually edifying. It would come from approaching relationships with others from the standpoint of getting something from them (approval, validation, acceptance, attention, understanding, needing to be needed, or whatever) rather than to build into people or have mutually edifying relationships. This does not mean that one needs to feel like they have to build into every single person they come in contact with (what a recipe for burn-out!) or anything like that. It only means that in those that a person has contact with, that they are connected for mutual edification rather than out of selfishness to get something out of that person (this is also not to say that when one has a need that they can't go to someone that can help... my point is living life from the standpoint of selfishness or using others). Unfortunately, many in the church live very, very few moments of their life in deep connection with God or others, whether due to pride of not wanting to be vulnerable, devaluing of relationship with God or others (due to a wrong set of prioritizing what one thinks is important or satisfying), not understanding that it is possible, or whatever.

Some only realize that this is possible when they go on a missions trip or a retreat or conference or for about two hours after some powerful touch from the Lord (like watching The Passion of the Christ or hearing an incredible message). However, they sometimes rationalize that people weren't meant to always live on a spiritual high (defined as healthy connection) and that they have to get back to living life as normal. However, I would argue that nothing could be further from the truth. I think that what makes these events spiritual highs is nothing more than being connected with God and connected with others. We were made to live this way.

The religious counterfeit twists this. This mindset thinks to be a good Christian is to put on a mask, act nice, pretend that everything is perfect, and so forth. (There is nothing wrong with having a good day and responding and saying so or to treat others with kindness... I am not referring to this). This mindset thinks that doing well as a Christian essentially involves acting in a complete disconnect between what is externally communicated vs. what is internally occurring. However, since no one can act fake all of the time, invariably, the real side shows up when they are around people that they do not feel the need to spiritually perform for. Therefore, the things of this world come out in those settings. The religious person thinks that they are doing well while acting spiritual, and doing poor while not acting so. This is certainly off as both are messed up just with different underlying root sins: spiritual pride, etc. vs. spiritual apathy, carnality, and so forth.

What people do not understand is that the religious paradigm was not the paradigm we were meant for. We were meant for the connection paradigm. I am convinced that as one starts to experience true connection they will start to realize that there is nothing else that compares. This is what Christians were meant for. While none of us live perfectly connected all of the time, this realization of how life is meant to be causes one who is growing in the Lord to notice what things stop this connection from occurring and what things cause it to grow. Reading the Bible and learning from others with some spiritual maturity can also be valuable in this process of growth of learning about what aids in connection (as well as being of value IN connection!). I am convinced the process of sanctification has much more to do with the process of maintaining healthy connection (since He is the source of everything good) and having life changed as this occurs from only erratically to much more frequently, rather than in merely trying to do more religious behaviors, attitudes, or actions that can only perpetuate disconnect.

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I thought it was very interesting. Bill Johnson spoke last week on how whenever he used to live in introspection in his desire to become more holy, he always felt discouraged but when he just let go of that and lived in celebration and rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord life went well. He finally realized that for the sake of those around him, he needed to approach life from the standpoint of rejoicing and thanksgiving rather than introspective witch hunts. He could simply approach life that all is well between him and the Lord until God shows Him otherwise. When He does, Bill could make quick changes and continue rejoicing.

I loved this message. It prompted me to look at my concordance (note: it isn't very thorough: I only used the little one at the back of my Bible). What I saw was that when I looked for the word search, the Bible seemed to focus that the searching was on God or His attributes, not internally. While it is important to understand what negative mindsets creates the negative fruit that is occurring in one's life and why one does what they do, the goal is not to spend one's life searching internally, but rather to God, wisdom, and the other things that God says to search out. Truly, the Christian life is about Entering His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4).