The Established Heart 10 - Familiarity - David Mitts
Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household - Mark 6:4The key to an established heart is love. First love is the priority of love over all of creation. Love is the bedrock of reality. God is love and in Him, all things consist.
Love is a choice. We have to remake the love choice every day. Love is not as Hollywood tells us something, we fall into it and somehow live happily ever after. Love requires renewal of thoughts towards the One we have set our love upon. Love requires sacrifice. We live daily, a life of living sacrifice or it is no sacrifice at all! This means we have to choose each and every day to live a life of love. We live in love. This is the true life of the Spirit.
"and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5
Often in the “spirit-filled” community, we emphasize the gifts of the Spirit as described in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. This is a good thing because the Apostle Paul told us to fervently desire the gifts.
"But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way." 1 Corinthians 12:31
Yet, concurrently with desiring the gifts, Paul urges us to realize the more excellent way of love. Why the emphasis? Because without love, we are just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1
Paul is warning about a self-exaltation due to a spiritual gift that nullifies the gift itself. Love is based on sacrifice. God initiated sacrifice by His example of sacrificing His Son. Before you get too primitive on me and think I am advocating sacrificing your children, I am speaking about an act of immortality. God, who is immortal birthed Yeshua as a mortal expression of an immortal reality. Yeshua laid down His mortal existence to release us from our own mortality.
"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." Romans 5:14-18
Death reigned through the one man, Adam. What does that actually mean? It means that since apart from dwelling in the Lord, we can only sin and that the wages of sin are death, then all of our works apart from Him are only death-works. Why is that? Is it because we are sinners by nature and doomed to destruction? This is a common idea of the Church. “Sinner” as an identity. But if we look closely at the above portion of Paul’s revelation shared with the congregation at Rome, we see that he states that “death reigned” over those who hadn’t even sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam. To me this means that death is a kingdom or a principality. It rules through lies and distortions, the primary one being that we can make our own decisions of what is right or wrong without the need for God.
It is by assuming that we are our own judges that we actually become our own judges. In this place, we are bound to our judgments. Yeshua told us this:
""I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."" Matthew 16:19
Kingdoms are declared according to Yeshua, based on binding and loosening. In Matthew 18, Yeshua goes on to reveal the context of binding and loosening:
""And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. "And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. "Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst."" Matthew 18:15-20
Much mischief has arisen because of this passage. This is an authority passage. It is speaking primarily about the authority of agreement in judgment. This judgment is called binding and loosening. Binding and loosening is not a spiritual warfare technique. It is a statement of legal authority in the realm of Torah or law. It is the responsibility of people to recognize their God-given authority to be responsible for how they relate to one another with respect to what is perceived as sin. Inherent in this passage is the idea that isolation breeds deception and that we need the safety of a community that loves us to walk clearly.
A caution here. The statement that if the brother who is judged as “sinning” doesn’t listen to the community, is to be treated as a Gentile or a tax collector is not saying they are evil. It just is stating that the “brother” is operating under another authority. A Gentile is a Gentile because they are of another kingdom. A tax collector is the agent of another kingdom. Granted to Israel whom Yeshua is speaking, this is calling them outsiders or foreigners. Yet we know that the Gospel is not only for Israel but for the Gentiles as well including tax collectors. So, Yeshua cannot be condemning those who disagree. No! I think He is making them a target for the Gospel, the good news of forgiveness. If we read on, we’ll see how important love is to any judgment, or binding and loosening. Peter asks the ultimate question:
"Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus *said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22
Forgiveness triumphs over judgment! After all of this instruction in justice and in community, it still is forgiveness, love that reigns in the kingdom of God. Read on:
"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. "Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."" Matthew 18:23-35
It is no accident that this follows the teaching on conflict in the community. Many cults have arisen out of Matthew 18. This is perverted to be a method for discipline and used to justify shunning and other tools of religious darkness. The Church and membership become exalted above God. But beyond the outward effects of binding or loosening, is the inner effect of the bondage of the heart. Yeshua laid down His life to forgive us for violating the Word of God. He didn’t do that so we could evolve a doctrine of heaven and hell. No! We cannot use His grace to condemn others! I think He clearly taught us that love triumphs eternally over the system of sin and death that runs the world. The entry portal is forgiveness.
Why is that? Because the original fall was about deciding we could be like God and determine right and wrong. One clear difference between us and God is that He can judge evil and not become evil whereas when we decide what or who is evil, we become that which we judge.
""For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed." Malachi 3:6
By contrast, we change into what we judge. We are consumed in and by our own judgments.
The question for me is how do we remain in the place of love, in the vine of God’s flow of perspective and life? Also, how do we know when we are drifting off course? I believe the answers lie in our heart motivations, our thoughts, and in our words.
One of the keys of the kingdom is this idea of living alive in a dance with our God and our fellow man. Dance loses its nature when it becomes formalized. There are movements and patterns to the dance but they live in a constant state of newness and aliveness. When we lose the vitality of the process of renewal, living in the newness of the moment, we become ritualized and begin to die. What brings us into this death is at least, partially, the attitude of heart of familiarity.
Familiarity nullified the power of the anointing on the life and ministry of Yeshua who was and eternally is the Word of God in our midst.
"And coming to His home town He began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they became astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers? "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? "And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household." And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief." Matthew 13:54-58
There is a deep connection between honor and the power of God. What is honor? In Hebrew the word is Kavod. It means literally a weightiness. In the realm of relationships, it is the impact of a person’s speaking. Often there is a direct relationship to danger. The more danger, the more a person’s words matter. What diminishes honor is familiarity. A prophet is diminished in the listening of those who are familiar with them. Often we call this taking someone for granted. The one taken for granted disappears into the background of familiarity.
This is what kills the wow in people’s lives. Familiarity destroys families, marriages, friendships. If Yeshua, the son of God couldn’t overcome familiarity then we need to realize it is a clear and present danger to the love of God living in our lives.
We need to return honor to our lives. It is the power of edification.
"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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:29-30
Next chapter, we’ll be looking at the importance of the tongue in steering us to an established heart. But for now, let’s focus on edification. The Bible teaches us that edification, honor, brings grace to those who hear. Through edification, we raise the value of others. We honor them and increase their value in the listening of those in their lives. I can say things to your kids about you and how great a parent you are that will break the power of familiarity. You can do the same for me. I can lift up others but I cannot lift up myself. I need you to do that which means we have to learn how to defeat the life-killing effects of familiarity.
Dishonor grieves the Holy Spirit. Live a life committed to honor!
Activation: Honor building exercise: The “Honor” Chair
Sit someone in the honor chair. Press into the Spirit and reflect on everything you are grateful for the person in the chair. Prophesy and proclaim the edification over them. Make edification your strategy!