"In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing."
(1 Kings 3:5-10)
The greatest need of the body of Christ is for each of us to have an understanding heart towards one another. Everything is connected that God has created working together for His glory both in the natural and the spiritual realms; and everything is affected by the domain we are around. It may be positive or negative, but we are never at any point polarized or separated from our surroundings.
In the world of thought, there is one thought that influences all other thoughts. In the world of life, there is one life that influences all other lives. In the world of stars, there is one star that influences all other stars. "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:" (Ephesians 4:11-13).
We may seem to have separation and division in the body of Christ, but it is only for a season of working all things for His glory and perfection. Maturity is revealed when we each grow up in Christ by bringing unity to the body as one.
God tells Solomon that He will give him whatever he asked for. This was a test that God was giving him to see what his focus would be if he could have anything. Solomon caused God to react. Instead of a young king desiring riches and glory for himself, he asked for the wisdom of discernment to be the best king for a people that would praise and be lifted up before God. Each one of us must gain the skillful, spiritual insight to make necessary proper decisions with the humbleness to understand that our human ability is not capable of naturally discerning on the level of God. It is the gift of the Spirit.
1 John 4:1
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
2 Tim 3:15-17
"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
We are fools to think that God is only doing what we can relate to and understand. When man REALLY finds God, he REALLY finds himself. Man will know who he is, what he is all about, and what his purpose and destiny for being alive at this moment and hour. All men have a quest in finding God, but many settle for the emotional satisfaction instead of the identity a relationship with God offers to each of us. A true relationship with God releases a peace that surpasses our natural understanding overflowing with unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness for others that may not deserve this love.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that we are drinking milk as babies trying to discern good and evil. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:27-31, "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."
How often do we judge others lifting ourselves up with a "holier than thee" attitude by what we discern as good or evil from the outward man? This is no different than what the religious leaders were doing during the time of Jesus. We have been called to be ambassadors, kings, and priests as Solomon was. We are in a position of sitting on the mercy seat of God with the mind of Christ looking out over the kingdom of God with His power, His authority, and His eyes. Are we discerning the Lord's body with the Father's heart to bring unity to the body of Christ, or with the heart of a child looking out for themselves seeking their own rewards of what God can give them?
Paul tells the church in 2 Corinthians 6:11-18:
"We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us (Paul is being judged). As a fair exchange-I speak as to my children-open wide your hearts also. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers (those that are self-centered Christians). For what do righteousness (purity of unconditional love) and wickedness (conditional love) have in common? Or what fellowship can light (our identity in God) of have with darkness (identity in religion)? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial (religion)? What does a believer (unity of Christ as one body) have in common with an unbeliever (I've got my ticket to heaven attitude)? What agreement is there between the temple of God (body of Christ) and idols (we are all individuals)? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
"Therefore come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you."
"I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty." NIV
God's enemy is not non-believers, but those that take His word and identity as His body of believers and use it to justify, condemn, and separate His body. Beware of those that you fellowship with that are wolves in sheep's clothing (religious people). "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Matthew 10:16
I end this teaching with the wisdom of our Father given to us through Paul in Acts 20:29-35:
"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves (religion) enter in among you, not sparing the flock (fellowshipping with like minded believers). Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse (judgmental, condemning) things, to draw away disciples (identity of Christ) after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word (Himself) of his grace (unconditional), which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance (identity of being a son of God) among all them (denominations of Christianity who separate and divide the body of Christ) which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel (no earthly or natural understanding to do God's purpose). Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands (of God) have ministered unto my necessities (whatever was needed for the mission that Paul was called to do), and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak (those ignorant in the ways of God with mercy and love), and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give (unconditional love, mercy, peace, and forgiveness) than to receive."
May you be blessed in abundance with all that our Heavenly Father has provided for you to receive.