Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Constructing" the Body of Christ

Having raised two girls who are now 29 and 35, I have learned as many lessons as they have. I was a loving parent, but not always a "model" parent. I didn't always approach a situation or react to them in a Godly manner. I'm the first to admit it. Sometimes I was as big a child as they were. I have yet to meet the "Perfect Parent", and looking back on my parenting skills I'd have to say I could have improved in so many areas. I've had to apologize to my girls for my shortcomings during their growing up years. I wish I knew then what I know now. My hind sight might not be exactly "20-20" but it's much better than it was at the time. I refer to this time in my life, because I think back on handling matters with sometimes more negativity than positive ways of handling things. I'm no Dr. Phil, but thank you Lord, that I've learned a few constructive things along the way.

The author of Victory Over the Darkness recounts a conversation he had had with a pastor friend that was bemoaning the congregation of his church. "They are all a bunch of "losers". What can I do to get out of my church?" Dr. Anderson in turn, asked him. "I wonder if they are really losers or if they just see themselves as losers because that's how you see them?"

This brings up such an important fact: How do we perceive others? How do our impressions of other people color our opinions and relationships with them and about them? I used to make snap judgements on people. I think we all have opinions, that is just human nature, but how long do we take to form them? Is it based on their appearance, way they speak, way they dress, job they may have? Are we looking at them through our own eyes or through God's eyes? Just as we talked about in the beginning of this study, we need to view people the same way God sees them; as a child of God, wholly loved and accepted by the Father. I have learned this over the years. I have asked God to show me beyond the surface, to see someone's heart, and to be able to relate to them as He sees them, not just view the outside and the obvious. I guess this is referred to as "putting ourselves in someone else's shoes".

So then, if we see someone as a "loser", and we treat them as such, will that be the image they also see of themselves? What if instead, we see our brothers and sisters in Christ as saints, redeemed, and totally loved in Jesus? Will they then see themselves in this same way and begin to reflect this understanding in their own attitudes, actions, and behaviors? This is where I could have improved as a parent. Speaking positive affirmation more than I did. Frustration with situations I didn't know how to handle, caused me to see the negative instead of seeking God for positive reinforcement with my words.

As stated by the author, "I believe the greatest determinant for how we treat people is how we perceive them. And how do we express our perceptions of people? Primarily by what we say to them... Studies have shown that in the average home, for every positive statement, a child receives 10 negative statements. It's only slightly better in the school environment; 7-1. It's no wonder so many children are growing up feeling that they are losers. Parents and teachers are conveying that perception every day in how they talk to their children...studies go on to say that it takes four positive statements to negate the effect of one negative statement...We affect others significantly by what we say about them, and what we say is significantly determined by how we perceive them."

Version: NAS

Ephesians 4:29
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such [a word] as is good for edification according to the need [of the moment], that it may give grace to those who hear. "

The word "edify" means to improve morally or intellectually, enlightenment, guidance in education, to improve information, and knowledge. In other words to be constructive and build someone up, not tear someone down. Our words affect others and bring change. It's better to be positive in our addressing of someone or a situation, rather than to be negative and to ultimately tear down someone; Constructive assessment, instead of negative. It's all in our attitude and perception of others.

Version: NAS

Ephesians 4:11-13
11. And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers, 12. for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13. until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.

This is the scripture passage that Jesus spoke to me back on June 16, 2001. He said, "This is your call". And it has been my driving force since then. To build up the body of Christ.

Yesterday's post on our salvation was an eventful one for me. Stepping out there to discuss a topic that is very controversial. We all have such varied ideas and thinking. Thank you for the opportunity to see brotherly love at work. I think we all said how we felt about the subject in love, and hopefully no one was offended or changed their minds about anyone. I really hope not. I have seen churches split over matters such as this, end time prophecy, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, just to name a few. Thank you, that we can all discuss and view what others have to say in respect and love. I could have skipped over this subject, but I chose to dive in instead.

If you would like to read the theology and doctrine with scripture references behind my position on this, please go to the Official Website of the General Council of the Assemblies of God and type in "Security of the Believer" for several articles on this. It's a broad reference to both theories on this topic. It's interesting and nonthreatening no matter what your viewpoint.

( Hope everyone still loves one another.)
Love, in Jesus,

(concepts taken from Victory Over the Darkness
by Neil Anderson)


  1. Good Morning Debra,
    There probably isn't anyone out there that hasn't felt the effects in this controversial subject more than I. This is a very heated subject that indeed has split churches, I myself have a deep oonviction on the subject of salvation and it is one of the reasons I started my other blog. But I do not get how fellow Christians can rip each other apart over differences. I may not and have not agreed with all your statements in this bible study but to me that is not the point of it all. We are here to Love the Father and lift Him up in one another. The reason I am here is because you care about lifting up Jesus. I have grown to love you Debra and hold you up in prayer...even tho you're wrong..ha just kidding :)

  2. Hi Debra,
    Yep, we all need to listen to God's voice telling us how He wants to use us (i.e. instructing us on how to use the gifts he has given us to glorify Him.)As for myself, I have wasted so much time wanting the gifts that I see in others instead of talking to God about how he wants to use me.

  3. great post, and i wholeheartedly agree. you get much farther
    with honey than vinegar.

    thank you!


  4. Thanks for this post Debra....I have a son who is about to be 18 in a few months...lets just say he is getting a little to big for his britches...I have been praying for God to give me wisdom in reprimanding him...he is the tail end of my brood of four. I am so sure I have made many mistakes in my choice of words over the years....but,I told myself long ago to think twice before I speak...once something has been said there is no chance of totally recovering it...the damage has been done once it rolls off your tongue...To comment on your previous post...I totally agree with you..I am a Spirit filled member of the Assemblies of God Church....
    The word(Jesus)says.. Not everyone that says Lord,Lord will enter in but,those that do the will of my Father.....I know their are so many opinions of just how scripture is interpreted and there are different strokes for different folks(can you tell I am pure country?smile)but,ultimately I believe that those that are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.....I know we can sometimes stray from the fold and Christ the good Shepherd comes to rescue us but,if we continuingly and willfully commit evil deeds..than only God and his word can be our judge as to our ultimate salvation....with respect to everyone else' opinions....blessings

  5. Hey there...I feel like it has been forever since I have been here & I do always love reflecting on your post...the Word, with you & the girls. I have MNAY shortcomings myself...you have met Bo :) But I too am so angered when people put down others. Especially family members! I have found myself saying alot lately...well they didn't grow up like I did so I am not surprised that they are struggling with that...meanwhile I am struggling with a member of our congregation & find myself doing the same thing that angers me...talking about him because I can't believe the decisions he makes for his family and then I need to tell myself...He didn't grow up in a solid Christian Family like me...I am blessed & I need to be SO VERY CAREFUL of my mind & my tongue! Thanks for your reflections today. Today especially is challenging me to work on this one guy since I have alwayse known better...now I just need to do better :) I really don't want to be hurtful. Thanks for the challenge.


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