“From Henceforth” … The Conflict of Flesh and Spirit in Relationships

By Jay Ferris
Originally posted on
titled, “One of the Battles in a War of Many Fronts”

divided house” This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law,” Galatians 5:16-18.

In this context we are touching on one of the battle fronts in this war between flesh and Spirit. Certainly this is an important part of the war, but not the front I have in mind for present exploration. Rather what I am thinking about and wanting to address in this post is the war that goes on between flesh and blood family members and the presence of the Spirit in our lives.

“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law,” Luke 12:51-53.

This is the war that we have in view in this post.

Interesting that Jesus begins His answer with “For from henceforth…” This suggests a point of demarcation between how things once were in flesh and blood families, and how things are about to be in families. The last thing that Jesus said before this, as recorded by Luke was:

“But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!”, Luke 12:50.

This suggests the possibility that what Jesus is looking at here in His Baptism of sorts has consequences that might also impact our lives, and especially our family lives once we have undergone the fall-out from His baptism, in our case, the baptism of The Holy Spirit. The baptism changes our position or location, certainly our priorities where relationships are concerned. Baptized in the Spirit we find ourselves in a new love, with new and different people, and this is very threatening to those we have been associated with to date, especially our own flesh and blood.

This is much like what happened in the heart of Cain when Abel came along and displaced Cain from his central place in the lives of his parents. This kind of displacement can and most often does cause a relational war. Flesh and blood relationship is no longer our highest priority, and unless the flesh and blood people in our lives come under the influence of the same Spirit with some understanding of the magnitude of the difference that makes relationally, as likely as not they will make war on our new lives and relationships in Christ.

Make no mistake, this is a real war. It is very painful all around, because it is born out of woundedness, resentment and not love. It is the number one killer of spiritual relationships. Flesh and blood will put up with this intrusion provided it is limited to flesh and blood marriage, and that, likely as not, for the sake of the perpetuation of the flesh and blood family.

Spiritual relationships, however, are not bound by or to the flesh. They may be reproductive in the Spirit, but that reproduction has to do with the family of God, not the family of the flesh.

This front in the war between flesh and Spirit is one of the most telling, where our ability to move forward in Christ is concerned, because moving forward in Christ is first and ultimately about Spiritual relationships first with Him, and ultimately including each other. This transition in relationship begins in this present age where the war is still going on. It is little wonder that Jesus addressed this reality early rather than late, because it is such a big obstacle to receiving Him and Him in each other.

The Holy Spirit changes our relational priorities, if only we are strong enough in The Spirit to Let Him have His way with us.

Please note, this is not a call not to take care our own, where flesh and blood is concerned, but only to be aware that in Christ we have a new “our own,” and taking care of them is also a priority of the highest order.

Love!

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Getting it Right…Again

The following post was one of Jay’s earlier, and more foundational posts after first starting this blog in 2011.   An ‘oldie but goodie,’ and definitely worth revisiting … again. :)

going after you“Getting it right” has to do with getting Him right.

What I hope to do here is to take a step back to a question that was asked of me about 10 years ago now. Here it is in context:

I had just arrived late for a leaders gathering in Charlotte, NC.  I couldn’t help but note a rather common look on the faces of those already present.  It was sort of a pleasant look, like a group of cats who had just shared a canary.

Before I could take my seat, the presiding leader asked, “Jay, what does the Church in this city look like?”  I hesitated a second or two and then responded, “It looks like the sum total of all of those who belong to Christ in this city, who know who are theirs in Him.  Everything else is show business.”

I share this by way of further introduction to what I would like to blog about here.  The kind of intimacy that we are looking for is not likely to be found until we accept Jesus as Lord of relationship.  We need to know and receive one another as from Him.  What God calls church is not about “let’s make a deal” on a human level.

In a subsequent leaders meeting, but still back in that same time frame, I shared that,  “There are places in all of us where we have never been. We can’t get there alone because, if we did, it wouldn’t be the same place as it would be if somebody was there with us. The problem is that there is so much garbage between here and there, that we are afraid to go there, either alone or with someone else.  We need to have a place to put the garbage. That is a place that only Christ can provide, and has provided. “Behold, The Lamb of God who takes away the ‘garbage’ of the world.”  He is not only our garbage man, but He wants to make garbage men out of us for the sake of those He has given us to love. We don’t have to take away the garbage of the whole world, but we are called to, and can, take away the garbage of those He has given us to love in Him.

Having said that, which I know sounds very nice in theory, I must quickly add that in my experience it only happens in the intimacy that is possible when He is Lord of relationship. Unless we discover who we are in Him, and in relationship to others in Him, we dare not get that close.

Jesus wants to give you, and has, in fact, promised to give you significant others in Him. Keep your eyes open, because you never know when He is going to give you the gift of another person. Opening the package can easily take a life time.  Oh yes, the package can only be opened in the presence of God’s kind of love, the kind He demonstrated on the day He said, “I love you,” when He and His expectations were nailed to the tree.  We need this revelation if we are ever going to love like God.

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A Soundbyte on Agreeing with God

One of the things that occurred to me yesterday as I shared on the two creations with our little bunch here, and that is, “There is nothing that gets into heaven except what comes down from there.”
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This is to say that our responding to commands, demands or suggestions just doesn’t cut it. There is only one thing for us to respond to, and that is the “very great and precious promises of God.”  The question is do we believe them or not?  Those who do, acknowledge that God’s way is right, Luke 7.  What other ways are there???  Ours and the devils.   Should be a no brainer.  What has God said about us, and do we believe it – that’s the deal.
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It isn’t a good idea to disagree with God, especially about our self.  His is the only opinion that counts, and we need to agree with it, even about each other, and that’s the worship He’s after from us.
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By Jay Ferris
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Jesus is Lord of Relationship – 1 Yr Anniversary Tribute Post

Today’s post is in honor of the 1 year anniversary of Jay Ferris departing this world in the flesh.  It is his notes for an introduction to what he thought would be his last speaking arrangement, having received a terminal prognosis soon before.  He wrote it knowing he had little time left, and addressed an issue that was very close to his heart.  Unfortunately this is not the whole transcript, but at the bottom is the audio file where you can get more.

It’s hard to plan when you have a 6 month to 2 year prognosis a year and a half before a conference. What you can do, however, is try not to waste any more time or words that do not convey the truth of the matter where what God calls church is concerned. So, I will try to redeem the time, which for me has become even more precious now than it was last year at this time.

That said, I won’t try to describe some new cutting edge approach to doing church, but just say that I am not a Ceassationist – to the degree that I believe that the Bible is still accurate and relevant if we are honest in seeking to know what God calls church, and, conversely, what God does not call church, but we continue to do.

So I want to try to clear out some of the debris where the work of man’s hands is concerned and simply say once more – The God of the Bible knows of no city or town where there is more than one church, or more than one ‘body’.  Two or more in one town is what the Bible calls “division.”  In Jerusalem, for instance, at the beginning of this new creation period of spiritual history, there was only one church. There were not even “house churches.” There was one church that met from house to house – One church.

By the time Paul comes along as the cleanup hitter behind the Jerusalem leadership, especially where ethnic and gender divisions were concerned, we are told “your meetings  do more harm than good,” 1 Corinthians 11:17, 18.

The overwhelming evidence of “church”, and world history since that time only serves to confirm the truth of what Paul wrote.  It is still true today. In our divided condition, our meetings continue to do more harm than good, to both believer and unbeliever alike. The spiritual battlefield is strewn with the wounded, dying and dead souls of those who have been crushed in the battle for the Truth. No amount of token oneness is going to fix this problem. No amount of “church mergers” is going to fix this problem. No amount of “human decisions and husband’s will,” (John 1:12, 13) is going to fix this problem.  God just doesn’t work or build anything in that way.  Jesus builds His Church on a foundation of repentance from the work of men’s hands.  In short we are not going to get even a glimpse of the Truth without repentance – Holy Spirit convicted repentance – Holy Spirit turning away from the work of our own hands repentance.

Nowhere is this more true than in the matter of how we relate to one another. Jesus is just not going to build His church or His Kingdom on decisions in, of or by the flesh. Jesus Christ is Lord of Relationship, and that is the beginning and end of the matter where “church” is concerned.

There is good news that I would like to talk about today, but talking about it is not going to do the least amount of good where there is no repentance from the relational work of our own hands. What is calling itself “church” is where it is today because it has been led there and maintained by misguided gentile/even Roman style leadership.

For those who are willing to repent, however, I do have some very good news, even thrilling news – Jesus is Lord of relationship. Any substitute for the role of Jesus in relationship isn’t worth the powder to blow it to hell. We have all been much too wounded by the relationships of our past and even of our present that we are not about to trust ourselves to anyone relationally except perhaps Jesus. Our relational woundings are so severe that even here we are very doubtful that genuine, Spirit originated and Spirit led relationships are even possible. In short, we refuse to discuss even the possibility of it because of the threat where leadership is concerned.  Relationships that come from God are clearly bad for the business of what continues to insist on calling itself “church.”

My very strong impression is that a big part of the problem is that we have a very big blind spot right where the Bible speaks about this very matter.  Most go through life not even having heard that there be such a gift as relationships that come from God.  Sad to say, right up till today, what we have been seeing and saying is a very poor substitute for the real thing.  Instead we now find ourselves in an era of buzz words, and buzz relationships.  None of this will hold water for very long.

I have not survived this long to come and be negative here today. My heart is much too in love with the good news, the really good news of relationships that I would like to talk  about with you in the time remaining. Last year I shared with you that one day I was asked by some of the leadership here in Charlotte, “Tells us what does the church in  Charlotte look like?” After shooting a very fast prayer to heaven for its wisdom, I responded: “The church in Charlotte is everyone in this city who knows who are theirs in Him, and all the rest is show business.”

By now you may be thinking or asking in your hearts and minds, “what else are we to do?”  What to do, what to do…The real question is, “Who to be, and who to be with?”  Are we to be with those of our own choosing or those of the Lord’s choosing?

For the remainder of the time I want to turn now to discerning the difference between our own relational choices, and those that The Lord wants to make in us and for us….

INTERESTED IN MORE?   You can hear the full content of what Jay spoke by visiting: http://lovinglikegod.com/media/ and listening to the last audio titled, “Jesus is Lord of Relationship.”

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The Damway Vitamin Co. Story

snakeoil
The following is the only story that we are aware of, that Jay Ferris wrote.  It was written back in 1991.  I’m not sure he would have changed some of it since then, but it is an enjoyable read, yet a sobering look into the “business” mindset behind the current world and religious system.  Enjoy! Continue reading

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His Garden, His “Church”

investquote

For more reading on this subject of relational investing, see:

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Mentoring, Man-Handling, and Then There’s Something Called Life.

seedling
One time in a leadership meeting, Jay Ferris shared the following gutsy statement,

“Paul didn’t say to Timothy or Titus, “My true mentoree in the faith”, he said my “true son in the faith”. There’s a big difference between a father and a mentor, the source, for one thing. The man handling goes on!

Someone inquired what he meant by “man handling,” and Jay expounded:

“Foundational to my understanding of “man handling” is the truth that Jesus is Lord of everything, and that includes being the Lord of relationship. As such, He is “the stone that the builders rejected,” and continue to reject today, Luke 20:17.  This means there are builders who are building something, and it is a “man handled” building at that.  They don’t want the building that Jesus is building.  They want a different building – one where they are the architects, the contractors, and the inspectors. These “man handlers” do not want Jesus to be Lord of relationship, because that would be bad for their business.

If Jesus is allowed to be Lord of relationship, the relationships that He does are likely to violate the relationships that we do, such as our institutions, our “churches,” our para-churches, our corporations, our ministries, and on and on. God is after a new creation, even though the old one was no accident. It has much to teach us about structure, authority, and how God does life. We see, for example, “… children born, not in the ordinary way, the old creation way, not of natural descent, nor of human decision nor husband’s will, but the new creation way, children born of God,” Jhn.1:13

Learning from history

We see then that God does life by reproduction. Only in the new creation, it’s not man’s idea any longer, it’s God’s idea. It’s His doing. The problem is that religious “man handling” makes it very difficult to see what God is doing. That’s why He has promised to shake everything, so that what He has done, which is to say, what does not shake, may remain and be seen, Heb.12:26.

As an example, let me cite the “Shepherding movement.” In the beginning it began with a bonding of 5 men. Their closeness was witnessed by many. Over the years however, the message changed from what God had done, to what you ought to do. The abuse is, by now, legendary. In fact I believe that the relational integrity of the Body of Christ is now worse than it was before they had that revelation. Now we have the Prophetic and Apostolic restoration movement, and I believe that it is operating in such a way as to make the Shepherding movement seem like a boy scout picnic by comparison. The “man handling” of the present movement is much greater than anything I saw as a close observer of the Shepherding movement. In all of this, the question remains, “What is God doing?”

Learning from creation

The answer is that God creates with His Word, and nothing was created except by His word. So much the more in the New Creation. God never said, “Let there be mentors.” But He did write to “fathers,” 1 John 2. To know about fathers we don’t have to go to someone’s idea of mentoring school. All we need do is take a look at what God has created, to know about the invisible things of God. Not to learn about Him in this way is to be without excuse.

In the new creation, fathers and sons/daughters, mothers and daughters/sons, parents and children, are not our idea and not our choice, but His. What we need is to see what He is doing, and walk in it. To do that, our expectations need to be nailed to the tree where His were, on the day He showed us how much He loved us.

Learning from Jesus

Jesus only had the ones that the Father gave Him. Under ideal circumstances the number was limited to twelve in a three and a half year period. So who do we think we are? Yes, God is looking for many sons, but He is after the reality that is only found in Christ – not the show business that is found in our “man handling”, Isaiah 64:6.

There is too much ministry which sees people as something to do, rather than someone to love. Once you’ve seen people as someone to love, you will go even beyond discipleship, and begin to have Timothys or even Priscillas in your life, true sons and daughters who are yours from God and, who love others with their whole heart.

The price is very high, but, in my experience, it’s worth it.

At least the Shepherding movement was named after a word that God had used. Please God, deliver us from the Mentoring movement.

If this is still not clear, let me know, my life has been given to its elaboration.

Yours in Christ,
Jay”

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