I have been addressing the subject of relationships in regard to leaders and the substance of the community they lead. As before, I wrote on this in my weekly blogs of 2012, but I believe this subject is essential for leaders in this leadership resource.
When relationships have a commitment of love they do works of faith toward that relationship. Those acts of love will activate responses that reveal a growing testimony of togetherness that in turn will cause each member of the team to draw together with an attitude and demonstration of submission one to another. A growing revelation of connection will cause members to boldly express themselves in a way that contributes to the corporate cause. The members of the relationship will be drawn toward one another and something will continually manifest in their lives that declares a love and a free gift of giving. The relationship will take on a dimension of destiny and all of the team members will be empowered to do whatever is necessary for the destiny of the team. These are the elements of a covenant life-giving team. Now I will address the issues that destroy relationships.
The enemy would like nothing less than to destroy every human relationship that has ever been. Since people cannot really discover the meaning of relationships without a proper relationship with God, the enemy especially targets God ordained relationships. Since leaders are called to lead, leadership level relationships are a for sure target of the enemy. If we are wise to the schemes of the enemy, we can thwart his attempts to destroy our relationships.
What is it that causes relationships to fail? I believe that the failure of every relationship begins with an earthquake. That earthquake is nothing more than the manifestation of a shaking earth or a shift in a natural reality. It is called an offense. Offenses come when our natural experiences or perceptions tempt us to see things through the eyes of a right and wrong mentality. An offense is a breach in trust and it is a test of our “first love” connections in our relationships. This can be true for our relationship with God or with one another. Something like an earthquake happens that sakes us in our commitment to the relationship.
Revelation 6:12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake…
Offenses happen when right and wrong challenges love and relationship. An adherence to the law is a rejection of mercy and grace. Offenses are inroads for deception, conflict, and even the devouring of the core connection of life-giving relationships. Offenses challenge the motivation of the heart and prevent us from giving our hearts to a connection of commitment based upon love. The ground of every relationship will shake at some point. Someone we love will at sometime treat us wrongly, but will we remain in love when challenged by the unfair actions of another? When the ground of our commitment shakes will we take an offense? Taking up an offense is the first step toward destroying a relationship. The antidote to every offense is to return to our “first love” commitment in the relationship. This is not our “first experience” but a “first love” commitment that guarantees new “first experiences”. When we are tempted to be offended we must reaffirm our commitment to trust the relationship. Of course, this takes all parties of the relationship to work to the full effectiveness of life.
Revelation 6:12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair…
The second step in the destruction of a relationship is seen with a darkening in our vision for the relationship. This is a step beyond an offense where we make a judgment. The opposite of faith is natural sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Natural sight or natural perceptions produce judgments according to the flesh (2 Cor. 5:16; Jude 10). Those judgments are self-preserving and are invoked by a fear of death in some way. That death could be a death of our own desires, expectations, hopes, dreams, or any perceived reality of our future. Our sun turns black. Our light turns to darkness. This is the place where faith for works is lost and works of fear begin to prevail. Those works are not team infusing, but self-preserving in some way. This is where we begin to make judgments in the relationship according to things that are naturally true or perceived to be naturally true. Natural sight begins to overpower faith. Earthly wisdom replaces heavenly wisdom in the relationship and judgments make us reluctant to act in faith toward the relationship. This is where we begin to lose our ability to live from the heart and become increasingly bound to the logic of the mind and strongholds of wounded emotions. Judgments are not a testimony of love and only perfect love can cast out all fear. The antidote is to do works that testify of our faith in the relationship. Those works must be rooted in our commitment of love.
Revelation 6:12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood…
Now we come to the third stage in the destruction of a relationship. This is where we begin to lose the testimony of relationship in exchange for the testimony of self. We become defiled in our thinking. The moon is a testimony of the sun. It doesn’t have any light of its own; it only reflects the light of the sun. Individual members of a relationship are like the moon. They are meant to reflect the light of the relationship. The Bible teaches that the life of the flesh is in the blood and the moon becoming like blood is a testimony of self-seeking. It is a testimony of the life of the flesh and not the testimony of the Spirit. It is the place where we are no longer responding to the testimony of the relationship, but seek the testimony of our own ways. This is a stage of destruction that destroys the understanding of a corporate connection. Offenses lead to judgments and judgments lead to defilements. When we become defiled in our thinking we are reluctant to respond to the testimony of the relationship. Our world takes on a fleshly focus and a carnal testimony. This is where the thought patterns of the mind begin to put up walls toward the other member or members of the relationship. We must return to our first love commitment, exhibit faith actions of our hearts, and seek to respond to the life connection of the relationship.
When we progress through these stages of destruction we find it more and more difficult to sustain the relationship. Without supernatural connections and heavenly realities in our thinking we cannot maintain God anointed commitment, actions, and responses. This sets us up for a loss of submission in our relationship.
Revelation 6:13 …and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.
Stars are a corporate testimony of light in the darkness whereby others can chart their courses in life. Stars can only chart the skies when they live for one another and hold their place of submission. They are defined by their connection to one another and not their agendas for personal identity. They make their heavenly display through a submission one to another and it makes a map toward generational destiny. Without submission we are left with control and manipulation. Submission is a giving reality, while control and manipulation are taking realities. Relationships are meant to reveal a glory that is greater than the individual testimonies within them. Submission to one another makes us part of something greater than our selves. Offenses lead to judgments, judgments lead to defilement, and defilement leads to separation by differences rather than unity through diversity. This is where the individual members of a relationship no longer live for the corporate testimony of the relationship. They lose concern that others are watching their light in the darkness. This is where divisive actions and attitudes manifest and we enter into conversations of darkness. This is where disconnected members become negatively prophetic and their conversations for one another are no longer sweet. Negative conversations with others in regard to covenant relationships are an indication that you are no longer living for the relationship. You’ve lost the corporate testimony of light to darkness and now the light of the relationship is turning to darkness. You have lost your ability to submit to the hope of a new day. The antidote is submission for the purpose of a new day and a testimony of light.
Members of a leadership team must stay committed to one another in their relationships. They must understand that there will be misunderstandings and natural disappointments at times, but team members cannot afford to take any offense with one another. Team members must remain active in their faith toward one another in the team. If they choose to be naturally minded, agenda driven, or self-focused in any way they will open the door for making judgments of their fellow team members and the result will be a disconnection in their hearts that will bring a defilement in the team. When members become concerned about themselves they fail to be life-giving members. The purpose of any leadership team is not just to lead, but also to lead as a team. This means that submission one to another is at the core of defining who they are. Without submission there is no testimony of team. Each team member must be secure in who they are and they must each lead within their measure of God-given grace for the purpose of the team. There is no room for offenses, judgments, defilements, or self-seeking agendas on a leadership team. Keeping healthy relationships with one another is essential to every team.
Next week I will continue in regard to further elements of the enemy’s schemes of bringing destruction to a team. Let’s all guard our hearts from ever allowing an offense to lodge in our hearts that endangers the relationships of our lives.
Food For Thought
Ted J. Hanson