Relational Love or Friction… What Really Holds Living Stones Together In Community? Part II

June 16, 2014

This is the second part of a two part series about the essence of what holds living stones (us) together in community.  In the previous post, I talked about a common misconception that is regularly taught about what holds us together.  If you have not yet read that post, let me encourage you to give that a read before you continue reading this post. (Click here to read part I

The True Glue of Community 

As I stated in my previous post, friction / pressure is not the substance that holds the living stones together in community.  Thank God for that.  There is something much more glorious holding us together.  Before I get into the substance of what is holding us together, I would like to talk about what I don’t want to do in this post.  

First, I don’t want to give you a theological or sunday school answer that has little meaning outside of cranial conjecture.  I have no appetite for cliche answers.  For example, I’m not going to simply tell you that Jesus Christ is the glue that holds us together.  Obviously, I believe that Jesus Christ is the glue that holds the living stones together in community.  The problem with that statement, however, is the fact that it does not express how Christ is the substance or glue holding us together, and the evidence of this ignorance is all too often on display in our communities.      

I’m convinced we need to have an understanding of how Christ is the glue that holds us together because the religious world is filled with jargons and statements that are true at face value, yet have no practical or realistic expression in day to day life.  In today’s post, I hope to paint a picture of how Christ is the glue in a way that you have already been familiar with since childhood.

Relational Love

Relational love is a term that I’d like to use today for a reason.  I don’t simply want to talk about love because that word can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  It can be watered down in the most general or non-intimate of ways.  I would like to talk about relational love because that helps clarify things a bit more.

God is love.  His substance is love.  His love is not simply theory or an idea, rather His love desires to be expressed to us and by us in a way that reflects His nature.  In addition to being love, God is also relational within His own being.  He is a complete family (Father, Mother/ Spirit, Son) within Himself.  His love is expressed within Himself in a relational way.    

Human beings were created in His image and likeness. As a result, we too are relational beings at our core. The more free we become, the more relational we will be.  We, as people, are born into family to express these relationships.  Immediately upon our arrival into the world, some type of relationship was established with our parents.  If multiple children are birthed into the local family, then brother and sister relationships are established.  These relationships grow, develop, and mature throughout life as we do.  We had no choice in the matter of what family we were given.      

Human family was created to be a picture of something greater, however.  The very fact that there is something greater than human family was very controversial when Jesus first said it two thousand years ago, and I have found it to be just as controversial today.  When Jesus said that His true family were those that belonged to His Father (Mat. 12:46-50), it was an unthinkable concept to His patriarchal culture.  Who you were married to, and who your parents and family were defined your very identity in that culture.  

Having an identity and life tied to your natural family wasn’t just unique to ancient Jewish culture, it’s true in ours as well.  Although most would agree with Jesus’ statements about this at face value, truly loving and relating to someone who is NOT part of your natural family as though they were still raises suspicion and eye brows when lived out relationally.    

The fact is this… The Lord is building something on the earth that overshadows the old order of things.  He is building a new house.  He is building a new family.  Because He is relational, desiring to know and be known, He is building this house through relationship.  Christ is expressed to both the seen and unseen realms through love, and the essence of love in us is unlocked through relationship.  This is how we have been created.  This is His likeness.   

These relationships that hold the living stones together are divine in nature, not human in origin.  There is a monumental difference between relationships birthed by human effort, and relationships birthed through divine revelation.  If we look at the life of Jesus, we can see this clearly.  

There were many who attached themselves to Him.  There were many whom He loved.  There were also many who left Him and did not align themselves with Him in the end, however.  At the end of the day, it was only a few that He walked with in relationship. These are the relationships that endured.  In His prayer that is recorded for us in John 17, the source and enduring nature of these relationships can be seen through Jesus’ words:

“I have manifested Your name to the people whom You gave Me out of the world; they were ‘Yours’ and You gave them to ‘Me’…” (John 17:6)  

Jesus’ divine relationships originated with the Father, and were given to Him.  Because we are reliving His life on the earth today, the same thing is occurring to us as well. It is glorious beyond description.  Jesus Himself said that the world would know who were truly His by the way that this new family loves one another through the way they relate.  

As glorious as divine relationships are, however, there is a lot of warfare that surround these relationships.  I find this statement that Jesus made to be fascinating:

“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions…” (Mark 10:29-30, NASB, emphasis mine)

It’s interesting that in this age, we inherit new familial relationships that bring along persecutions.  There is a reason for that.  Christ is opposed by the old order of things, and when people enter into true mother & father / brother & sister relationships with one another that are rooted in love by the Spirit, Christ begins to be truly expressed.  Relational love is the substance of Christ that holds us together with one another.  

A Major Obstacle To The New Family

When it comes to entering into relationship with one another, there is a major obstacle that stands in our way.  Thankfully, this obstacle is being dismantled slowly but surely.    

Generic titles vs. relational reality  

Some believers use the term brother or sister as a title to refer to anyone in Christ.  While that might be true theologically speaking, I’m convinced that our Lord is after something much more profound than simply adding the title of brother or sister to the vocabulary of how we talk about each other.  

It’s an easy thing to call someone brother or sister and have cordial interactions with them from time to time, but it is heavenly to be able to have a true brotherly or sisterly relationship with someone in Christ.  The same can also be said about having a motherly or fatherly relationship with someone in Christ.  Christ is expressed, and the living stones are fused together through the relationship itself, not simply terminology.    

Knowing someone as brother or sister, or mother or father, doesn’t come by attending meetings.  We also are not birthed into these relationships simply because we have a common understanding of Christ and His church.  The kingdom of God comes only by revelation.  

That also means knowing one another as brother or sister, or mother or father, also comes by revelation.  Our Lord is the Lord of relationship.  He decides, we simply recognize what He is putting together and walk in those relationships.  There need be no striving or obligation involved.  No guilt.  As we rest from our own agendas of control, we then can see and understand the relationships that He is putting together.  Know that He is already doing a great job building His house, stone by stone. We are free from anything else. Any other house is built in vein and involves a lot of frustration.       

Relating to someone through revelation is quite different than relating to someone out of obligation, duty, or human willpower.  Relational love sourced from Christ can only be unlocked and entered into when that revelation is mutual.  Without that revelation, all we have is terminology and we will not be able to enter into relationships with one another with confidence. The fears and pitfalls of relating to one another in this manner are overcome when we have a revelation of someone from the Spirit, however.

Holy ones, the house He is building is glorious beyond description.  I’ve seen it.  I’m seeing it.  It’s much more profound than I thought. It’s also quite different than I originally thought. It’s not for the faint of heart, however.  It involves loss.  Tremendous loss.  What I’ve gained far surpasses what I’ve lost, however. He is the glue that binds us together in these divine relationships, and His banner over us is love.


Jamal Jivanjee                                                    

Jamal Jivanjee

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51 responses to Relational Love or Friction… What Really Holds Living Stones Together In Community? Part II

  1. WOW !
    I wish I could speak more clearly about this but it is new Territory for me and I am only now scratching the surface of this but I will try to add what I have.
    I fall in love with most all of the people God puts in my life Disciples or not. Some I feel I have known my whole life some politely tolerate me 🙁 Many times I have tried to share life in a more frequent and intimate way with out finding out if that is what Jesus wants much like you said out of duty( like That is just what we do as saints) I have seen what happens when I try to manufacture community compared to what arises naturals and it is markably different.
    I have also listened to the Lord about who a particular person is to me spiritually and have found that a kid sister in the Lord by my eyes is more like a mother in that given relationship.
    My eyes can’t always perceive these things but when I spend time with people and listen to God tell me who they areI have much more peace in that relationship and don’t need to force more out of it than I need to. I hope to understand much more about this in the coming days.
    In fact I am very excited about this journey ! 😀

  2. This expresses my heart, our heart, for we are one:

    “Holy ones, the house He is building is glorious beyond description. I’ve seen it. I’m seeing it. It’s much more profound than I thought. It’s also quite different than I originally thought. It’s not for the faint of heart, however. It involves loss. Tremendous loss. What I’ve gained far surpasses what I’ve lost, however. He is the glue that binds us together in these divine relationships, and His banner over us is love.”

    Rejoice, I say again rejoice, and be thankful at all times, for we walk not by sight, or the ways of man, but by Faith.

    Thank you Jamal for your beautiful ministry of Love!

  3. Amen! Yes! Exactly! Absolutely! And other words of affirmation!! 🙂

  4. It’s an easy thing to call someone brother or sister and have cordial interactions with them from time to time, but it is heavenly to be able to have a true brotherly or sisterly relationship with someone in Christ.  The same can also be said about having a motherly or fatherly relationship with someone in Christ.  Christ is expressed, and the living stones are fused together through the relationship itself, not simply terminology.    

    those words ^^^
    …. those words Ive been waiting to read for so long. we all know they are true, but it seems I, too, have functioned as if it were right or duty instead of a gift and privilege.
    again, your heart and the way it has been shared overwhelmes me with gratitude and love. Love that I can truly call you “brother”.

  5. Kenneth Dawson June 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I read the post three times and I took notes..obviously it is a gold conclusion to the matter is as follows…it seems to boil down to this–if you want to relate to other people who call themselves Christians in the way that your supposed to it must be by divine. Revelation that comes by the Indwelling being of God leading you into that relationship no matter what your opinion is of that person…he is doing the deciding not you…then his work will be performed in the way he wants it for our conforming into the likeness of his Son….I’m not saying I’m right I’m just saying after my notes that seemed to be the point–I would really like to see someone do a post on the topic of revelation and just what that thought really means…thanks.

    • Jamal Jivanjee June 17, 2014 at 1:34 am

      Great comment Kenneth, thanks for sharing:)

    • Kenneth – this short excerpt from TA Sparks may be helpful for you. I pray it is –

      Jesus… said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” (Matthew 20:32,33 ESV)

      We shall never see Divine things by the aid of our reason. We shall never see things because they are put plainly to us by the one who ministers. No, it will only be as Jesus of Nazareth comes into touch with us and we with Him. And that applies to every stage of the Christian life. If there are any reading these lines, who have never in the first place had their eyes opened to see, so that the result is Life eternal – for knowing is only another word for seeing, and Jesus said, “This is life eternal, that they should know Thee the only true God, and Him whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ” (John 17:3); “that they should know” – another word for seeing – if you have not yet entered into Life, received eternal Life, remember that it will not just happen to you; it will not simply happen. You will have to become tremendously concerned about this and show the Lord that you mean business; you will have to be like Bartimaeus and cry, and “so much the more” cry. Remember that the Lord does so often wait, delay, and hold off, to see if we really place value upon this seeing. We are tested as to how much we esteem His things.

      And what is true at the beginning is true all the way along. There is no end to Divine revelation; there is no end to our seeing. Oh, how little we have seen, how little we know, of the vast stores of Divine intention and thought and purpose and meaning. We stand and paddle on the shores of this vast ocean of God and of His purposes and meanings in our creation. How little we know about it! – and we are not going to know until we have deep heart exercise. But it is there, and it is there for us, and oh, we have got to come in this way – “so much the more.” Are you like that after a conference, or after any meeting in which there has been a ministry of God’s Word? Are you sure you have seen all that God meant you to see? Are you just hearing what is said? You agree – but what is the effect? The real effect waits upon this heart exercise, this crying out – and a crying out “so much the more.” The Lord is not close and mean, holding it from you, but He is wanting to know that this is of greater price to you than all else; if needs be, of greater price than your sleep, your rest: you are going to give Him no rest until He opens your eyes.

  6. I agree completely but the old Baptist in me was waiting for
    Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. NKJV
    That what every joint supplies is the relational dance that pleases the Father – Some time we step on toes and sometimes they step on ours but hey we are dancing!

  7. I’m a bit lost that there is a myth that is commonly taught that friction (problems) is desirable to build relationship. It’s not something I’ve heard taught at all, and especially in the circles we have in common to the best of my knowledge. If we are loving each other as Christ loves and treating others how we would want to be treated, then little room is left for friction to build up.

    Certainly we want to have intimate, familial relationships with others. I think this applies to everyone, not just Christians. Christ is expressed when we love someone as a true brother or sister or mother or father regardless of whether or not they reciprocate that relationship.

    Perhaps it is possible to have a “wishdream” in our relationships where we can become upset with those who do not reciprocate our desire for deep relationship, or they fail us or hurt us in some way. Living by Christ’s life means in part that we are not putting undue pressure on each other to live up to our standard, though I think we do want to point encourage each other to pursue Christ in all things.

    The practical side of divine relationships is difficult to summarize because the expression is unique in each relationship. Each relationship develops in it’s own way.

    Another aspect to this conversation (and I think this is the tip of a very large conversation) is that “love” is a multi-faceted thing and takes many forms. Sometimes it is difficult to love others. Sometimes it is difficutl to be loved. Sometimes close relationships require the pain of correcting someone in truth and love. Sometimes love is easy and glorious. But I think it is important to resist the idea that a relationship must look like [fill in the blank]. I know that I’m not good enough to always move in divine relationships, though there is certainly a great difference when I depend on Christ to really “know” others.

    • Jamal Jivanjee June 17, 2014 at 2:43 am


      Thanks for reading and sharing your comment. First, let me address the myth that you brought up.

      The myth is not that friction is desirable to relationship. I did not say that. The myth that I have addressed in the previous post is the myth that it is friction and conflict that act as pressure that holds the living stones together. Jon Zens commented on this post and asked a similar question as well. Allow me to direct you to my response to him as I addressed his question.

      Regarding what you said about folks who may have a relational ‘wishdream’, I really like what you said. Here is what I said in this post that I think addresses the problem of relational ‘wishdreams’:

      “That also means knowing one another as brother or sister, or mother or father, also comes by revelation.  Our Lord is the Lord of relationship.  He decides, we simply recognize what He is putting together and walk in those relationships.  There need be no striving or obligation involved.  No guilt.”

      • Can I ask what the outflow/application is of this teaching in your mind?

        “The myth that I have addressed in the previous post is the myth that it is friction and conflict that act as pressure that holds the living stones together.”

        I can recall statements that may sound similar to this, as Seth commented in the previous post, but I don’t think that is quite saying the same thing as what you are alluding to.

        Thanks. Just trying to understand since we relate to saints in common.

        • Jamal Jivanjee June 17, 2014 at 5:35 am


          You’ve asked a great question. The myth that states that it is friction and conflict that hold and fit the living stones together eventually leads to a very twisted view of the cross in my opinion. This is quite toxic and leads to needless damage and heartache to folks. I could share more about that, but that will be the topic of my next post. I look forward to sharing it with you.

  8. Patrick Noerr June 16, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you so much for this Jamal, you are describing a truly mind-blowin, entirely perfect reality! The Lord has been showing me a lot about relationships and friendships lately. The potential practical unity that has been, is being, and will be revealed in the Body of Christ is a true delicacy harnessed from the honey of Jesus Himself! May we rest in Him as we see this heavenly substance form in and around us!
    Much love

  9. Jamal, you indicated in Part 1 that you have recently experienced a paradigm shift. If I understand what you are saying, the old paradigm you were taught was that friction holds the living stones together, and the new paradigm is that relational love holds the stones together. But as Kat asked (and received no response from you), “Who ever said that conflict holds the saints together?” I’ve never heard of anyone outside of the Institutions teach that. What I have heard is that Christ/relational Cross-love holds the saints together. Christ Jesus who is Life, and the love in Christ holds the saints together.

    You said that the idea that friction is the glue is a “destructive lie.” What’s puzzling to me is who taught you this lie that you are now rejecting? On the surface, it appears that at some point maybe your perspective became a bit askew in regards to the foundation of Christ and also the cross of Christ.

    You mentioned “mystery,” but it would seem that the real mystery is: Where did you learn the teaching that you now claim to be rejecting? It would seem that the basics you give in Part 2 were what you were uniformly taught after you exited the Institution.

    It seems like your shift amounts to rejecting a paradigm that does not exist to embracing a paradigm you had already been taught.

    • Jamal Jivanjee June 17, 2014 at 2:19 am


      Thank you for reading this post, and for your question and comment. First, let me address your question. When I was involved in the institutional system, I did not have an understanding that we (you and I) are the living stones that are being ‘fitted’ togther into the house of God. That was not a conversation that I was having.

      It has been my understanding in the last several years being involved in community outside of the tradional system that I have heard this teaching. I am glad that you do not subscribe to the idea that friction & conflict hold the stones together. I can tell you that it is taught and many people have assumed that to be true, however.

      As a matter of fact, it was just two weeks ago that someone was visiting me here in Nashville from one of the groups and we talked about this very thing. He was quite aware of the teaching that friction holds the living stones together. I shared my paradigm shift with him. It was new to him as well.

      Regarding where I heard this teaching from, I could share more specifically about that, but I’d rather not do that here on this public forum. I just wanted to share my heart here in a way that is edifying to all that would read here. If you’d like, feel free to give me a call personally, and I’d be happy to share more specifics with you regarding your question. Thanks Jon.

  10. WOWEE! This morning read a quote by Jay Ferris that said, “Nothing enters into heaven that hasn’t first come from there.” Of course Jesus said this in so many words of Himself 🙂 LOVE this post, and great comments too! Keep up the precious work of listening to the Lord’s heart, Jamal. He is doing a new thing, Isa 43:19.

  11. Hey Vinny

    I have been meeting with a young lady who is only 10 older that my oldest grandson and have been learning from her like a mother. I’ve told her that and we have decided that our relationship just IS. Maybe this new house transcends all boundaries . . . genders, genetics and generations.

    Jerry Sledge

    • Jamal Jivanjee June 17, 2014 at 1:55 am


      I love your heart. Thanks for staying on this journey. Blessings to you:)

    • Jerry I love it !
      It reminded me of the conversation Jesus had with peter about who He(Jesus) was and His response “Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.”
      I do believe since I have been listening to the Indwelling Life of HIM within me and exercising these atrophied spiritual muscles that this also applys to us today here and now and my even change from time to time who we are to OneAnother. I an excited to pay closer attention to this and see my OneAnothering continue to deepen ! 😀

  12. Relationships forged by His Spirit, Guidance, Agape Love, and our yieldedness, are by far the most intense and lasting ones, capable of tremendous satisfaction to overwhelm any sense of loss. The relationship is a Grace, a supply, companions, brothers/sisters, and in the end a communing of One Spirit that reeks of Peace and Joy. I like the focus on the HOW. When one knows the specifics on the HOW or WHY a Godly Principle works, then it becomes impossible to try to implement the principle without the Prince. (I borrowed that last bit since it cannot be said better)

  13. Jamal,
    Thankyou for writing this and sharing these treasures.  Through this tremendous loss, everything that began with man’s striving is uprooted and stripped away and we are brought into true, real life and love and we can honestly echo John as he said
    “that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched… the life appeared”. Incredible!

    • Jamal Jivanjee June 17, 2014 at 3:05 am

      Well said Nischelle! I’m very glad this is treasure to you:) Thanks for your encouragment. I’m thankful for the tremendous authority of our Lord that you walk in. Blessings to you dear sister.

  14. *Rather, it has been my experience that through this tremendous loss…
    everything that began with man’s striving is uprooted and stripped away

  15. Stephen Mayer June 17, 2014 at 4:30 am


    I’m also confused where this teaching about friction comes from. I’ve never heard of it or heard it taught in my experience outside the organized religious system. (I have read your response to others).

    Now I have seen conflict result, ultimately, in brothers and sisters becoming closer with one another, but that generally happens as they come into submission to Christ and through Christ also to one another and lay down their lives (or ideas, preferences, pet doctrines, etc) for one another. Is that the concept you are speaking about? If so it’s merely an observation of the Lord’s grace that some saints have seen, but not a core reality. Christ is the reality!

    Now no one would go and encourage you to find a conflict so that you can become closer! That would be silly, a strange form of building up the body … It just wouldn’t work. No, Christ is glorified so much more when we see with his eyes, as you said, by revelation in Christ. Indeed, that’s the only effective way to live, in the spirit by revelation, and that goes beyond love into all of Christ, His wholeness, His reality.

    So I don’t see a fundamental paradigm shift here, and not do I see a reason to disagree … It is evident that as we turn to Christ and leave the ways of the fleshly nature that Christ builds us together in the Spirit, in revelation, in love … not just in part of who he is but in his wholeness.

    In Christ!

    • Jamal Jivanjee June 17, 2014 at 5:17 am


      So glad you’ve read this post and felt free to share your thoughts here. Thank you. If this has not been a paradigm shift for you, then I rejoice you didn’t need that paradigm shift:) I’m glad you have also not bought into that concept that I’ve shared. It is something that I, and others, are aware of however. It leads to a twisted view of the cross. That will be another article, however:) And no, I’m not referring to coming into submission to Christ and one another either. Or the laying down of pet doctrines, etc… that’s a beautiful thing that love compels us to do.

      Like I mentioned to Jon, if you’re interested in hearing more about where this teaching comes from, give me a call (or let’s get together) and we’ll chat more about it privately for the reasons I stated to Jon.

      Also, I’m glad you rejoice in the rest of the post about relational love. That’s really the main point of the post anyway;)

  16. Stephen Mayer June 17, 2014 at 5:07 am

    In Hebrews it says exactly what it is that holds everything together …

    Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV

    In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word…

    John 1:1 NIV

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    John 1:3 NIV

    Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

    Jesus Christ holds all things together by his words … by what He has commanded, by the things that he has said. And those words were demonstrated to us in Christ! How great is the master of all creation! No eye can see or imagine the depths of his riches or the height of his glory.

    1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV

    For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    May the Lord bring us deeper into love with Jesus Christ and one another! The Lord builds his church … The Lord alone.

    Dive deep!

  17. Such a beautiful post mon frere! I’ve found that when I relate to my brothers and sisters that have come by revelation, it is truly effortless because His love flows freely and without striving. May the body have eyes to truly see those glorious relationships that He has chosen before the foundations of the earth were laid; so that we might just simply enjoy knowing each other 🙂
    Love ya!

  18. thanks be to God for initiating & building relationship between as many living stones. Relationships conceived in the mind of our own making tend to be weak or fragile, such as how so many have suffered via “intentional community”. What Father builds in & around us is firm, existing even beyond the bounds of time or sensitivities.

  19. Hey Jamal,

    It’s been a while since we’ve interacted online. Hope you are well, brother.

    I’m assuming that you’ve already read Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together”.

    Less well known would be Joseph H. Hellerman’s “The Ancient Church as Family” (2001). This book talks about how Jesus and Paul (& Others) used the Patriarchal Family unit prevalent in the Mediterranean. They transformed this into a vision of how the Gospel was embodied in everyday life.

    The other thing I have noted is the under current of “You can’t give what you don’t have” in your post, which has echoes in Life Together and is common sense (If I don’t have $100 on me, I can’t give it to you if you ask for it.). It’s difficult to give relational love beyond the point that one’s received it.

    I was a bit surprised that you equated the Holy Spirit with Mother. While the Spirit is traditionally given a female sense in many Christian traditions, I think it’s important to note that this assignment of “Mother” to the Holy Spirit would not work in Eastern Europe Church traditions.

    What I have found most surprising about these two posts is how new this is to so many people. It’s also very saddening, as that reflects a lot of dross overlay….

    Grace and peace,


  20. Unlike many who have replied here, I have been exposed to the teaching that “friction” holds the living stones together. I heard it first in the IE (institutional expression) and have also heard it in this new, organic expression. I think that it is a thought process that needs to be detoxed along with much of the other ‘doctrine’ the IE left me with (or that I left the IE with). Many of us, who are new to this journey, still struggle with a great many leftover thought processes and are dealing with them as the Lord reveals them to us by shining His light on them. And while I understand your heart on this, I also understand that relationships are complicated – in the world and in the body of Christ. Is that God’s plan for His Son’s bride? No, I do not believe it is. But the truth of the matter is, while we all walk with Him in His Spirit we also must walk in this world of sin. Our flesh is constantly under attack and while Christ gives us the ability to be victorious over the flesh, He also gives us the option to give in to the flesh and THAT is a real danger, in my point of view, when pursuing close, intimate relationships with members of the opposite sex – even on a spiritual level. Too many times have I seen what began as spiritual turn into carnal. Most do not intentionally pursue this carnal counterfeit relationship but many do not have the strength to turn and run when they see right in their face. And while I can know my own heart, I can never truly know the heart of another. I also understand that “the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. That said, while I think I understand what you are communicating here – and if I am correct then I also understand that perhaps I am not there yet in my walk. Not to say that I won’t ever be, I just am not now. And that is OK. I am where Christ has brought me to. It would break my heart to see this paradigm shift to become a point of division in the body – the “got-it’s” and the “ain’t-got-it-yets”. While this thing might be Christ-revealing, it is not Christ. It is a facet of Him, but not the whole. The whole is found only in the fullness of His body – “all ya’ll”.

    Allow me to conclude by stating that I do not know everything. I do not understand everything. I am not saying it is a sin to pursue close, intimate spiritual relationships with others. We need those relationships because it is in those that we find more and more of Christ. I simply put forth that it would be wise, at least for me, to move in that direction with boundaries set to protect my testimony and my marriage. I cannot and will not judge another brother or sister for how they seek Christ with others. On the same hand, I would hope that my brothers and sisters would not think me, or those who are at the same place I am, “less spiritual”. I do not walk this road in fear, but rather in what I perceive to be wisdom given to me by God to prevent me from falling prey to the schemes of the enemy. I would love to talk with you one-on-one regarding this. Love you brother!

    • Jamal Jivanjee June 19, 2014 at 8:21 pm


      Thank you very much for reading this post, and for sharing your thoughts here. I appreciate the time that you took to do that. Your heart comes through loud and clear to me, and I appreciate it very much. I’d like to address some of the things you brought up here in hopes that I can clarify some things that may be helpful in this conversation.

      1. Mark, thank you very much for acknowledging that you too have heard this teaching about friction holding the living stones together. I’m very glad that you also see the need to be detoxed from it. There are a lot of implications to this. I believe that coming out of this mindset will free us from faulty views of the cross and will propel us to new motivations in relating to one another. I could say more about that, but I believe that will be the subject of my next post.

      2. Mark, thank you for bringing up the subject of relating cross gender. I believe that oneness among His church carried out through relationships are the heart of His eternal purpose. It’s how Christ is fully expressed. When it comes to relating cross gender, there are specific pitfalls that can occur as you mentioned. We have all heard and seen these pitfalls, so it is natural that there would be a natural hesitation when it comes to this subject. Nevertheless, I believe that what’s at stake far outweighs the risks and pitfalls. Part of the reason I think this conversation is important is because I’m convinced that the focus of what people ‘see’ when it comes to closely relating to others needs to change. We’ve heard and seen the pitfalls and tragedies in this arena, but have we really heard of the many, many success stories? Who’s living this out in a life giving and holy way that can testify of the Lord’s kingdom that powerfully unfolds when these relationships occur through and by Him? These stories need to be told and those living these stories out in their daily lives should not be made to feel bad about it. After all it’s the Lord’s testimony that is at stake. The stories of the pitfalls of cross gender relating are not the only thing we should be aware of.

      3. When Jesus gave us the New Commandment to love one another in the ‘same’ way that He loved us, He knew that He would empower us to live out this commandment now, in a sinful world, with fallen flesh. Unlike the old commandments, He empowers us to carry out the New commandment. One of the things that I also think need to be expunged from our past thinking is that Jesus lived the way He did because His flesh is sinless. If that were the case, we would not be able to love one another in the ‘same’ way that He loved. Although Jesus had sinless flesh, He did not live or attempt to love others by His flesh at all. His flesh, although sinless, had a will of its own that was different than His Father’s will. We saw this in the garden before His crucifixion. The scriptures tell us that through suffering, He (Christ) learned obedience to His Father’s indwelling life. He did not live according to His flesh. This is the only way He loved, and we have been empowered to love in the same way with the same life. We should put no confidence in the flesh as Jesus did not even put confidence in His own flesh. We will gravitate toward that which we will focus on. If we’re focused on the sinfulness of our flesh, I’m convinced that it undercuts our ability and confidence to love and actually increases our propensity to engage in fleshly behavior. I think this can be seen in religious environments that have a lot of rules separating the genders. Immorality seems to be more widespread in those environments.

      4. Mark, I appreciate what you have said about each person being in a different place with this issue. I don’t think anyone should be made to feel bad or ‘less than’ if they are not comfortable having deep friendships with those of the opposite gender. In the same way, those who feel they have freedom to have these relationships should not be made to feel bad as well. Their marriages or character should not be questioned. We can’t control others, but we can control how we choose to see and respond to others. We should not be threatened by one who chooses to not engage in cross gender relationships, nor should we be threatened by another who chooses to have these kinds of relationships. It’s loving to respect what another is compelled to do.

      5. Lastly, regarding what you said about not knowing what is in the heart of another, I have thought about that specifically in the story of Jesus relating to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus regularly crossed the social and religious norms of His day by having a deeply close friendship with Mary of Bethany whom He also counted as one of His disciples, and He did the same thing with His interactions with the woman at the well. He knew that the love in Him was greater than anything else that the woman at the well might have been temporarily operating in. I actually gave a talk about this very thing at last year’s Searching Together conference that Jon Zens put on. If you get some time, I’d like to invite you to give it a listen. Here is the link to the site that has the audio:

      Mark, I’d love to talk more about this with you further. Please do give me a call when you get an opportunity. Love you.

      • Really appreciating this response, Jamal.

        Mark – Hang in there, bro.

        As someone that has struggled with this in the past, may I encourage you to – when the Spirit leads – engage in a deeper cross-gender relationship, getting to know the woman as a person. Some of the places we come from, whether religious or other institutions, are deeply influenced by patriarchy and objectification of women as this taboo “other”.

        But, women are people, too! And, nothing breaks down the patriarchy-lens of “woman as an object” like encountering someone as a person with all their nuances.

        And, if you find yourself sexually attracted to her, that’s ok – lay it at His feet and ask Him to consecrate that attraction (which is not a sin) so that it does not burn into lust (which is a sin).

        Here’s a great article:

      • Jamal – You mad a statement under #4 that resonates with me: ” It’s loving to respect what another is compelled to do.” I agree with this as long as the boundaries set forth by those who do not feel compelled are respected as well by those who do feel compelled. If my wife shares that she is not comfortable with me meeting in private with another sister – single or married – then that boundary should be respected by all of the sisters regardless of their position on this issue. And, when it all boils down, this is all it is – an “issue”. It is not Christ, but an avenue to approach Him. To say it is the only way alienates others in the body – which is not of Christ. To say that this “way” is wrong is also to alienate those who feel it is legitimate which is also not of Christ. Christ is our ALL and is indestructible and indivisible. Who among us can divide Christ? May our focus be on Him and approach Him in the manner He calls each of us to do so.

        • Jamal Jivanjee June 24, 2014 at 1:37 pm


          Thanks again for this follow up comment. I agree with your assessment that boundries should be respected. The example you used is great. It flows very well with love. Love doesn’t force His way on another. To love another is to respect their boundries. I believe that very strongly:)

          Regarding boiling all this down to a side ‘issue’, allow me to offer a different way of looking at this. When Christ comes into view in a larger and larger way, sometimes issues come up that He wants to adress for the purpose of oneness in His body. In the first century, the divide of Jew & Gentile was strongly there. It divided the body of Christ that is made up of both groups of people. That was an ‘issue’. The more that Christ came into view, the more that this issue of the divide between Jew & Gentile needed to be addressed. Paul spent time talking about this issue. It wasn’t a distraction from Christ at all.

          As you know, that ‘issue’ was not an easy one to deal with in their day. Peter agreed in principle with the idea that Jew & Gentile could come together in theory, but he had a problem sitting and eating with Gentiles in public because of his testimony as a Jew. I also see this ‘issue’ in a similar light. As Paul said, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male & female in Christ. This means that which unites us in oneness in Him, is greater than the fleshly divisions that once divided us as humanity under the curse.

          For me, it’s taken a while to sit at the table of life (relationship) with my true sisters. It has been a costly divide to overcome. But with God, all things are possible, and I am very glad for His name’s sake.

  21. Thinking further on this “friction” idea, the point of the original illustration was that the original temple did not use mortar because the stones were cut to fit together perfectly and friction held them together. This type of friction was “the force that resists relative motion between two bodies in contact” (Merriam-Webster). A different definition of friction is apparently being interpreted for “living stones – “disagreement or tension between people or groups of people”. It seems, in our flesh we gravitate to the negative. If we hold the first definition to the Ecclesia then it would seem appropriate to say that we are held together by a force that resists motion (wavering perhaps?) when we, as many members, are in close contact with one another. That force is, of course, Christ. In His perfect love, when we are together as one in Him, there is no wavering. Just a follow-up thought…

    • wow Mark! thanks for that definition! I’ve really appreciated all the replies here! how wonderful.
      I, too, have been taught that negative friction holds the saints as living stones together as the temple of the Lord- mostly in the organic expression… in fact, Im not sure that I had ever heard anything like this before then.

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