Recently I heard the word “proximity” and it has stuck in my head. The word surfaces and unusual times and places. I can’t seem to shake it… so I embraced it! I began doing a bit of digging and really just began asking God why this word was always before me. So, at one of those unusual time, 3:00 am God woke me up, with the word “proximity” and “Ephesians 2” on my mind.
Ephesians 2 is a great before and after picture of salvation. This chapter shows who we were before Christ…filthy, dead sinners who had no place for Christ. Then we jump forward to the after part…peace because of His presence, a new image in Him, ready to walk out this relationship. This change doesn’t just happen because we want it to happen. This change comes about because of Christ’s gift of salvation towards us. Christ’s proximity towards us changed. He moved closer to us, He gave to us and he offered a solution to our need. We were distant, verse 12 calls us aliens and strangers without hope. But, through the presence and moving of the Holy Spirit we are now in a great standing relationship with Him that has changed our whole outcome.
Christ, through his death on the cross gave us the presence and power of the Holy Spirit which gave us access to the perfect relationship with God. Here are a few things this chapter tells us we received:
– Gives us life and a new image
– Give us opportunity to sit with God in His glory
– Gives us gifts and talents
– Brought us near to God
– Removed the “rules” of the Law and imparted grace
– Gives us a firm foundation to stand on.
I love the power of proximity shown here in this chapter and the simple idea of moving closer to someone can change them. When the Holy Spirit comes in to our lives he completely changes the entire situation. When we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us we no longer focus on us, but we allow our focus and our foundation to be in and on Christ and walking out the good works He prepared for us. He didn’t just let it stop with allowing us to “be” with Him. But because we are with him we have a purpose to live out.
What would happen if we constantly moved closer to people and their needs?
Because Jesus moved closer to us in our time of need we were forever changed. The same is true when we move closer to those in need (whether they know they are in need or not). We have the ability to impact and change someone, for the good, by being there with them and for them.
We must recognize that Satan does a great job of keeping believers divided. The ways he does this are endless, and always changing. One of the ways is to keep a distance between churches and their missionaries. This is not just physical distance between them, but the emotion, and spiritual connections we need in community and relationships.
Let’s take a look back at the benefits we saw of Christ’s proximity and the parallel idea between churches and missionaries.
– Proximity gives new meaning to life, removes loneliness and adds encouragement
– Proximity gives spiritual, emotional and physical strength and encouragement
– Proximity brings added resources to the ministry
– Proximity breaks the traditional roles of church and missionary and adds genuine relationships without fear
– Proximity changes the relationship from just a financial commitment to a strengthened partnership
Distance does not determine our proximity. When churches and missionaries are working in proximity with each other imagine the power and impact the two can have.
Our proximity has power. Our proximity has the ability to drastically change the outcome of a situation. Our proximity has the ability to change us.
How will you implement the Proximity Model in your daily life or in your church’s relationship with your missionaries?