How long have we lived on autopilot?
For a long time I suspect! This sadly has become the navigation tool of the body of Christ.
Romans 12:5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
The scriptures talks a lot about the body of Christ. A many-membered body on the earth called the church. This body of believers, in Christ, is one body and every single one of us is a member of it. We are members together in it. We are called “one another’s.” Jesus shared a glimpse of this in John 17:23 of His relationship with the Father as a desire for us, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” ‘One another” is this kind of love relationship. It is the “perfectly one” kind of “together” that we are to express as the church. “One another” is the “we are one body” kind of membership.
What do autopilot and one body have to do with eachother? If Jesus has expressed that He desires a perfectly one kind of relationship and that we are to be perfectly one together then we no longer can live in our own little autopilot worlds, ignorant or unconcerned about the rest of the body that we spiritually live with and in. The truth is if one aches, we all ache. If one rejoices, we all rejoice. What if we spiritually effect eachother far more than we ever could have imagined? But I digress that is a whole topic for another day.
In 1 Corinthians 12, there is a whole section about the body, how it functions, and who is in it. If you read this section linked above, you get a clear understanding that we don’t get to disqualify ourselves from the body and we don’t get to disqualify anyone else from the body either.
1 Corinthians 12:18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
My Pastor has been speaking to us, in this current season, about being elect exiles a term from the book of the Bible 1 Peter. Elect -> or chosen. Exiles -> homeless people! We are the chosen with a home that is in a faraway country. But while we are here on the earth how beautiful and incredibly gracious is our God to give us home churches to connect us to His people as a body. He arranges the members of the body as He chooses. We must wake up! We can not live the autopilot life. The church is a sacred space where God and His people meet in a corporate fashion. The church also happens to be the space where we find the expectation that others must meet our needs and where we expect others to never let their muddy and often thin soul places erupt or get on us.
A statement that my Pastor has been saying is, “unity and relationship are more important than being right!” That is a hard statement to swallow for many of us in the church. We often pride ourselves on our right living, right standing, right believing that when we have been done wrong in return for our so-called “righteousness” we do not in any way live righteously. In fact, we often behave quite the opposite. Just let someone treat you unkindly in the church. Just let someone accuse you of something you didn’t do and you will see this self-righteous monster come to life. I think we must come face to face with the truth that we live on autopilot and when someone messes up our comfortable flight we do anything but act like unity and relationship matters. But rather we rail and get angry. We become bitter, divisive, defensive, and distant. What makes me think I can just come right out on here and say that people in the church are like this? I am like this! I just walked through a session of this. I know what it’s like to be accused. I also know what it is like to let anger take over my heart. Guess what happened when I didn’t deal with it? It grew and started rooting bitterness and frustration in me. I slowly but surely, over a couple weeks, felt the creeping darkness and critical nature within taking me over. The hurt and anger of another that didn’t get dealt with had erupted on me. I also didn’t deal with it in me and the hurt and anger in me erupted on someone else. See how we affect each other… far more than we ever think.
Autopilot life sweeps this stuff under the rug and doesn’t deal with it. We pretend we are fine, all the while darkness is taking us over. But if we would live how the bible says to live – VIGILANT, WATCHFUL, AWAKE – if we would allow a “one another” to confront the bad attitudes coming out of us. (I am not saying just anyone has that space to speak. But we ought to have one or two who we have enough relational bridge built that they can call us out without us making them the enemy too.) If you don’t have those people. Get some! We need to allow a “one another” to call us to go and deal with this stuff. Thankfully I had a friend who just plain out told me, “Starla, that is wickedness! You need to go talk to the person that hurt you.” My immediate answer was, “NO! They have a problem and they can figure it out!” My friend said, “I love you and you know I do. That’s not the Bible or the gospel. I will pray for you!” Slowly over the week, my hard heart was pierced by the conviction of the truth she had spoken. I began to call out to God for help. (at first, honestly, just thinking if I could confess it. God would forgive me and I could move on already) But God is never about quick fixes and bandaids. He wants to root the issue out and set us free.
In His grace and mercy, He began to speak to me about going to the person who hurt me. As I began to ask Him how. He filled my heart with the truth that unity and relationships are more important than being right. It came down to this: Either I believe the body of Christ, unity, and this person are more important than my own anger and desire to be angry or I just want to be angry and blame them? It was my choice.
RADICAL CHRISTIANITY LOOKS DIFFERENT THAN AUTOPILOT
- Acknowledge hurt and pain: We can’t sweep this stuff under the rug and act like its no big deal. If we do it grows, clouds our perceptions, and creates division.
- Confront sin in your own heart: If your heart is full of darkness going to “deal with it” will not end well. We will throw stones, expect groveling, and return to self-righteousness again.
- Confess it: God wants to cleanse us of every impurity. He gave us members in this body of Christ to confess our sin (our hurt, anger, and attitudes) that we may be healed. James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
- Offer reconciliation: When our own hearts are free of sin and the dividing agents that seek to destroy us. We live the gospel. We offer freely reconciliation!
It is time to engage in real Christianity. The kind that cleanses us of our sin sickness and our hard hearts. The kind that the world is looking for but can’t see because the church is full of people who are living on autopilot, just trying to keep the peace instead of making it, and trying to get to heaven without having to live a real, messy, life of community with people. That is a sad state to be in because the truth is the way you make peace is by loving people.
We are the body of Christ. We are one of another. We are perfectly one. Now lets live that way!
Thanks for listening,