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The Gospel From Patmos
Everyday Insights For Living
From The Last Book Of The Bible
Daily Devotional
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

            These will make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings– and those with him are called and chosen and faithful. Rev 17:14.



            Recently Hollywood portrayed the social reality of a typical military unit as a “Band of Brothers.” Why don’t soldiers run for their lives in the heat of battle? Usually out of a sense of responsibility for their colleagues in the unit, who may become closer to them than family ever was. There is something about going into battle together that creates bonds of friendship between people the way few things can.
            A couple of friends of mine, Ed Dickerson and Bill Underwood, developed the idea that friendships come in seven stages. First, people exchange greetings and comments about the weather. The second stage involves the exchange of facts and reports. When friends move on to the third stage, they will risk sharing opinions and judgments. Friends reach stage four when they are willing to share feelings as well as facts. In stage five, people become willing to share their failures and mistakes. With stage six, the level of trust has become so high that one is willing to allow the other the right to point out faults. Stage seven is the stage of total intimacy, something rarely achieved on this earth.
            After sharing these seven stages with a group, Ed likes to ask the question, “If we apply these seven stages of friendship to our relationship with God, at what stage does conversion occur?” Ed believes that conversion occurs when we are at level five with God, the stage where we are willing to share our faults with Him; what we usually call confession of sin. Ed goes on to point out that many, if not most, churches seem to be stuck in stage three of human relationships, the exchange of opinions and judgments. If so, the average Christian would seem to have a closer relationship with God than with other Christians.
            There’s only one problem with this idea. According to the Bible, one cannot have a closer relationship with God than one has with fellow Christians! 1 John 4:20 (NIV): “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” If we cannot say, “I was wrong,” to a fellow human, our confession of sin to God is called into question.
            As the final battle of earth’s history approaches, God invites the church to truly become a “band of brothers” (sisters included!). Those who are with Jesus in the final battle will be on intimate terms, not only with Him, but also with each other.



            Lord, shield me from my relational blinders toward others. Help me today to grow in my capacity to know and love others, even as I know You and am known by You.




 
 
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