Tuesday, June 03, 2008

One heart at a time

This is a follow up of sorts to my "Moves of God" post. And by the way, it's also my first post using Windows Live Writer. I just began trying it out, so we'll see how well it works for producing blog posts!

The title of this post actually may be somewhat misleading. The "at a time" part, that is. To explain what I mean, let me start by quoting another line from Barb's "What If" post:

What if there was no big "Move of God" but just God pursuing people – sometimes seemingly in the same location at the same time?

I think God "moves" in people individually - one heart at a time. However, at times it may just happen that He is doing a larger "movement" of the same or similar work in the lives of many individuals at the same time or in the same physical location. And at the same time that He's doing this work in larger groups of people, there may be individuals in the same place in which He is not doing the same or similar work. And that's ok!

The body of Christ is one body, and at the same time we are a bunch of individual parts who make up that one body. We may be doing different things, or sometimes doing the same things, but we still make up one body.

As one example, my wife and I are one. But yet this legitimate "movement of grace" that God has been doing in my life since the mid 90's is not the same as what He has been doing in her life during the same time. And that's ok. We're still a unit. We still communicate with each other and love one another. We are not divided.

Don't get me wrong - my wife loves the grace of God! But the way in which I've been led in sharing it and teaching it and learning more about it and living it out is different than the way she's been led. It would be so easy for each of us to think less of the other because we don't see our "missions" in life as the same as each others'. But we've realized that it's absolutely all right to let God do what He is doing in each of us individually and to celebrate it! As an example, I've grown very discontent with what I and many call the institutionalized church. I've not "been to church" (other than visiting my dad's church) for over a year. At the same time, my wife is actively involved in our mega church.

As long as she loves what she's doing, I don't have a hard time with that at all. And in the same way, she knows I love doing what I do. For some time now I've really enjoyed connecting with people online from all over the country and world. She has absolutely NO interest in it! But she knows it's my heart's desire right now and she hasn't been trying to get me to "go to church" with her. We're still one. We're still a unit.

I say all of that to say that it's the individual hearts of people that matter. If God is doing a "big" thing in a church, a city, a nation or even worldwide, that's a GREAT thing! I most certainly hope that I haven't come across as saying that I'm against "big" moves of God! But what is He doing in your heart? Is He doing something that is on a larger scale that involves lots of other people? If so, great! If not, then just be content with what He's doing in you and don't worry about what other people think of you when you're not jumping on the bandwagon!

Also, what is He doing in the individual hearts of those around you, whether it's one or two, or ten or a thousand or more? Sometimes the saying is true that we miss the forest for the trees, but maybe even more often in a great big thriving forest we miss the individual trees.

Either way, I think it's good to remember to not judge one another or look down on one another for the legitimate things that God is doing in our lives. He's got the forest as a whole and the individual trees in His hands!


  1. This is an awesome post, Joel. I agree. It's so important to allow others their own journey with God and not try to force them into ours or to look down on theirs.

    Father is still working with people who are active in the institution. He's looking for open hearts and wherever he finds them, he's free to do what he wishes.

    Thanks for the reminder and thanks for sharing how you and your wife are working it out. That really helped me and gives me encouragement in my own situation with my husband.


  2. Great thoughts Joel! 'One heart at a time' is something I see in the bible as well. Such as Jesus dealing with individuals one at a time and that He does in a unique way with each one. For example, the way he dealt with the woman at the well was totally different than the way he dealt with Zacheus. There wasn't particularly a uniformity or pattern. There was diversity in his ministry and there was also unity. I too think God deals with individuals in unique ways.

    I have a question though. When you say 'Big moves of God', how do we know that it is God's move rather Man's move? :)

  3. Aida,

    I was always taught that a husband and wife need to be of one mind and one heart. In reality, we have been joined together, but I think it's very rare to find a Christian couple who are very closely like-minded.

    We are two very different people, who are one. Four years ago I was finally able to break free of the idea that my wife and I are supposed to be on the same page in everything. Even with such a foundation in grace, the marriage teaching that I had been under was actually working to destroy our marriage.

    Finally I heard the word from my counselor at the time that I am who I am and she is who she is. When we were finally able to let go of trying to be who the other thought we were supposed to be, it was very freeing. I was no longer trying to get her to see everything my way (as good as my was was - LOL) and she was finally allowing me to be who I am. I didn't mean to go so long with this comment, but your last sentence sparked this in me, and I think it goes along with the blog post. Our hearts are tender things, and we can't force people - even those close to us - to be on the same journey that we're one. It's wonderful when things do line up, but we can still be one even when we don't always think alike.

  4. Bino,

    I think you're right on the money. Jesus had crowds at times, but even as "big" as He is (after all, He's God), He was still involved one-on-one with people, and I think that's exactly what God does with us.

    I like your question - how do we know if it's man's move or God's move. I don't have a definitive answer on that, but my thoughts have been that I personally look to see what God is doing in my own life, looking to Him to lead and guide me. I think at times He's put me right in the middle of "moves" that are partly man-made and partly God-made, and He's simply led me in His purposes right in the midst of it.

    And to be honest, there have been many times when He's worked in my life even when I've been in the middle of my own man-made moves. :) Bottom line for me, as I simply lay out my thoughts in the open, is that He is faithful to do what He wants to do.

    What I've been wanting to do in life lately is to not get caught up in my own fleshly moves nor in the fleshly moves of other people, by simply looking to Him. And not just to be on the defense of avoiding walking by the flesh, but to also be on the "offense" of walking in the Spirit.

    But as I said, I think He still does what He wants to do no matter what, because He is God! :)