There was a time when Tracey (my wife) longed for me to see what she could see. She made the first move to seek God and get her life turned around, but I wanted nothing to do with it. She would go to church and pray and cry for our marriage and then come home to see nothing had changed. I was still drinking, smoking or whatever I was into at the time. It wasn’t unusual for her to come home from Sunday morning church services to find me either passed out on the couch or not at home because I was in a bar drinking. This went on for quite a while too.
I’ll jump ahead a little bit and just say there did come a day when I finally saw what she had longed for me to see. The kind of seeing I’m talking about only comes when you are born again. In fact Jesus told Nicodemus “Unless one is born again you can’t see the kingdom of God.” There is a certain ability to see things and understand things that only comes when the Holy Spirit comes into your life. It’s sort of like the old V8 commercial when the folks slap their forehead and said, “I could have had a V8.” All of the sudden it becomes clear. It’s a revelation, and the light comes on.
Now when I am dealing with someone that is being difficult, or maybe they’re just being mean, I can step back and realize that’s exactly the same thing I use to do. You see when you’ve been blind yourself it’s easier to be patient with others that are blind. This doesn’t mean you don’t want them to receive their sight too it’s just you come to realize they have to want it. As much as you want them to see they have to want it for themselves.
Tracey always thought “If Louie would get saved he would make a great Christian.” What she meant was I would be all in. By that, I mean the nature of an addict is they can never get enough right? Well once they get saved and start studying the Bible they will never build up a tolerance to it but they will always want more. The great thing is we can never get too much or ever overdose. It gets sweeter everyday and the vision gets clearer too.
Have you ever known something in your head and then all of the sudden it sparks something in your spirit? Something became clearer to me last night about a pattern in the Apostle Paul’s writings. He gives us the rundown on who we are in Christ before he teaches about getting along with others. He tells us in Christ we are holy, blameless and beyond reproach. He tells us we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ; in him we are complete or whole. Christ in us is our hope of glory. We are all of what the Bible tells us we are even when it doesn’t feel like it. Paul understood we have to know who we are before we will ever get along with others.
My friend Brian Coatney borrowed Jesus’ illustration of a tree last night. Each believer is a branch, according to Jesus, and we are all attached to the same tree. God is the tree and we are the branches. If the branches see themselves as independent of the tree there will always be tension between the branches. But if the branches could just see that all of them are really just an expression of the one tree it would change our outlook. Brian said the world is always trying to get everyone to get along but they don’t know who they really are. They want to stop war, feed the hungry, clothe people, heal the sick and etc. These are all great things but they won’t work without us knowing our identity first. Truly getting along with other branches will only come as we start to see the true way we identify ourselves is by the tree. We are individual people but on a deeper level we are all one person and that’s Christ. We tend to get jealous or impatient with others until we see that they are one with us in Christ. For those that haven’t received Christ yet we start to see them as having potential to receive him. We see them as one Christ wants to save.
Let me end with this. If we learn our real identity in Christ we will stop being in need of other people or things to make us feel whole. On top of that we will start to see others as Christ in them and it will change the way we deal with them. They may still act in a way that aggravates us but we will begin to respond differently. We will understand that even though they frustrate me I know they are attached to the same tree they just might not know their identity yet. So they continue to act as if they are an independent branch in competition with all the other branches. Ultimately we want them to see what we see and perhaps they will. All we can do is continue to pray for them to be enlightened and use every opportunity we can to show them Christ and who they are in him.
Written by Louie