Relational Love or Friction… What Really Holds Living Stones Together? Part I

June 10, 2014

In my life, I’ve had several paradigm shifts.  They’ve all been painful and costly, but well worth it.  I’ve had another paradigm shift in this last season that may sound simple and obvious, but is really a mystery.  By mystery, I mean a refreshingly simple spiritual reality that seems to be hidden in the natural realm of things.  Today’s post is the first post in a two part series that seeks to shed light on this vitally important topic.  

In today’s post, I’d like to expose what I believe to be a destructive lie, and why this lie needs to be understood as a lie.  In the next post, I would like to talk about what this refreshing mystery actually is and why it’s better than the lie that many of us have bought into.  

Living Stones Being Built Together Into The House of God

As many of you may know, God has a house.  His house is also known as the temple.  As many of you also may know, this house is not a physical dwelling built by human beings.  There was a temple like that many years ago in Israel, but that temple was simply a shadow of a greater temple to come.  The real temple is a person who has come.  The real house of God is Jesus Christ.  

As you may know, this Christ has a body.  Every time you look in the mirror, you see a beautiful part of His glorious body.  In his New Testament letter to the church, Peter tells us that we are like living stones that are being built together into a temple for our Lord. (1 Pet. 2:5)    

When people come out of the religious system and into a revelation that Christ has a body (church) made up of living breathing human beings as His actual body parts (with Himself being the head), seeing the church as a company / institution with a CEO or a clerical head(s) becomes incompatible.  For many, this naturally leads to the desire to be built together with others who have a similar revelation.     

There are many people who are attempting to be built together with others in their respective areas.  Even though the motivation to meet with others in this way is good, two unfortunate things usually occur to these groups.  

1. A conflict or disagreement breaks them apart, or they runs out of life and motivation to continue. (Typically within two to three years) 

2. They survive the typical three year window and appear to be built together with one another although true building has not occurred despite much hard work to do so.  Groups like these tend to become more controlling in nature in their honest attempts to keep the living stones built together.  Unfortunately, no real building together occurs despite all the blood, sweat, and tears to do so. 

I’m convinced that true building together cannot be done by human effort, good intentions, or external methods. Often, the appearance of being built together can be the greatest enemy of the actual building of the Lord. In my opinion, there is a myth that keeps us from truly being built together.  

There is a myth that keeps us in unhealthy environments.  

There is a myth that keeps us from transcending the ‘ceilings’ that keep us in mediocrity and from drinking in the heart of our Lord’s eternal purpose.  

This myth keeps the machine running.  

This myth is a myth.  

I have repeated this myth often in my attempt to motivate myself and others.  This is the myth that I have been told, but no longer believe…

Friction (pressure / conflict) holds the living stones together in the house that the Lord is building.       

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.  I’m not even sure where this myth originated from, but it is commonly taught and used to keep people motivated when heat and conflict arise.  I believe this myth appeals to our performance driven human nature. It’s the equivalent of ‘no pain, no gain.’  It is a myth that makes us feel good about feeling bad.  It’s a myth that glorifies relational conflict and points to it as evidence that the living stones are being built together in true community.  

Is there conflict in true God given relationships? Yes. Absolutely.   

Do people die to their flesh in true God given relationships? Yes. Absolutely. 

Nevertheless, I think this should be said clearly. Conflict, friction, and death is NOT the ‘glue’ that builds people together with one another.  That’s a myth.  If that myth were true, every dysfunctional family filled with conflict would stay together and thrive.  

Thankfully, there is something other more glorious and satisfying than friction and conflict that is our glue that builds us together with one another.         

This is refreshingly good news!

In part II of this series, I would like to share what I have discovered to be the true  ‘glue’ that builds us together with one another.  Part II of this series is much more important than this post.  This post was just something I felt needed to be said in light of part II of this series.  In light of the next  post, I’d like to ask you for a favor.  

Please don’t assume anything about what I’d like to share in part II.  The glue that builds us together is much more profound than I have ever known.  What I want to talk about is ‘other’, and it’s a glorious mystery indeed.  I look forward to sharing it with you.


Jamal Jivanjee             

UPDATE: Relational Love or Friction…What Really Holds Living Stones Together in Community? Part II

Jamal Jivanjee

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23 responses to Relational Love or Friction… What Really Holds Living Stones Together? Part I

  1. The difference in _____________Church, Organic, House, or any other variety of gathering is minuscule, for in each of them there is something missing, something vital, and something that no man can accomplish.

    Looking forward to the next post, and once again thank you for your beautiful ministry of Love.

  2. Hello Jamal,
    Who ever said that conflict holds the saints together? Rather, conflict happens when the saints share life in community, it is inevitable. This is also where the cross and life of Christ will experientially live out. The something that holds the relational community together is Christ Jesus and the love which Father has in Him, in us. To build a house on the foundation of conflict, pain and disagreement is not the foundation of Christ Jesus. The love that Father has in Jesus Christ is in us and the Spirit of Christ Jesus is in us. In Christ Jesus is Truth, Love, Peace, Wholeness, Fullness – the all of God our Father. What is being in Christ mean? Knowing Him is knowing our Father. Knowing Him is to be found in Him, to know is to experience Him as our Life, the Life. The Kingdom of Heaven/God/Father is He Himself in us and us in the Kingdom – in the Christ. His Spiritual Kingdom is the Spirit of Christ Jesus in us, and us in Father’s Kingdom/Christ. The Reign of Heaven/God/
    Father is within us, the Kingdom/Reign is the Spirit of Christ Jesus in the saints. Father sees the Spirit of His Christ, His Son, in us. Why? His love in His Son is in us because He is in us through His Son. When He sees His Son, His love overcomes all else. He Himself in us is The Life, The Way, The Truth, The Wholeness and The Love of God. Conflict, disagreement and pain is not the builder nor focus of any of the saints that I know, rather Christ is.

  3. Jamal. It is so true that love is what binds us together. Paul said in Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” and also in Colossians 3:14, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

    As far as the friction statement I believe that has to do with the temple in Jerusalem. It has been said that the stones were held together by friction and not mortar or any other type of material. What this indicates is a perfect fit. In other words there was much care and calculation in putting the stones together. They weren’t just slapped together to make this temple. So there is an important truth to be drawn from it however, it may have some poor applications. I would say though that love in absence of friction doesn’t get much room to grow or be expressed. It is the love that oils over the friction in our close knit relationships.

    As far as old sayings and where did they come from here is one for you and I don’t know where it came from either. It is in speaking about the fruits of the spirit. Someone said that, “fruit is meant to be picked.” So in other words the fruit of the spirit isn’t expressed in a vacuum but rather in the presence of the need for them. And thereby each member expressing the life of Christ bringing the supply of His spirit helps to build up the body in love unto maturity.

    • Jamal Jivanjee June 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm


      Well said. Thanks for sharing that. I hope to expound more on some of those things in the next post. Love you.

    • yes, excellent extension, brother. The temple in Jerusalem remained standing as long as the “friction” held as potential. Yet if kinetic (moving apart), that house may come down. There is a divine tension in Christ at work to remind & assure each stone of the Love for one another that has come to us by/in the Son; He being both the foundation of the corner (“rejected by the builders”) AND now also the cap/head stone facing ahead of/with His own.

  4. I like how you said this myth is used to keep people in unhealthy environments, and I have heard it taught too. It kind of reminds me of another misnomer that a tree grows big and strong because it weathers storms. Hmm, really? I think a tree would grow big and strong regardless, simply because it is a tree.:)

    I look forward to your part 2!

    • Pam, Here is some information for thought regarding your metaphor. The gardening and forestry sites seem to differ on the effects of the wind on trees. Here is a quote from The Master Gardener website in an article titled, Myths About Trees:

      “Myth #3 Always stake trees after planting.

      Truth: Trees will be stronger if not staked. The movement of young trees by wind strengthens them.”

  5. His love is a room without a roof! We must transcend….remember the movie we went to see. It is something so very other my dear brother. Love ya and I can’t wait for part two 😀

  6. kenneth dawson June 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    yes sir I would say you got it right on–this philosophy about how we got to be one in spite of our friction with each other certainly plays out every time you try to gather together with other folks who call themselves Christian–and I am sick of it–I COULD give an explanation as to why this is so but I will let you answer the situation in your next post.

  7. Mary O’Neal June 10, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    You told us not to assume anything about what you want to share and guess we just can’t help ourselves. While all of the above is true, I will wait to see what you as a living stone will impart into this living stone. By this experience we will be a living part of the temple of God. I am praying that God will help us to let go of all myths that have hindered us to become a stable living stone in the temple of our God.

  8. Jamal,

    The saints I meet with had a meeting a few years ago where each person brought a wrapped gift. The gifts were opened in turn similar to a White Elephant Gift Exchange people play at Christmas parties. Each of the gifts was to be a picture of Christ, and when a gift was opened, the person who brought it shared how they saw Christ in it.

    To that meeting, I brought a package of those plastic sliders that one can put under heavy objects (like the legs of a couch or cabinet) and move them around easily by removing the friction between the item and the floor. Here is what I wrote at that time and shared in that meeting:


    Friction occurs when two relatively rough objects rub against one another. When the two surfaces are pressed or rubbed together, they have what is called a coefficient of friction. Sandpaper and wood would have a very high CoF. Ice and glass would have a very low CoF. When friction builds up, heat is created and can cause damage to either or both rubbing objects. This damage is often catastrophic. This is the purpose of oil in your car engine. It lubricates the surfaces to reduce friction and extend the life of the engine.

    These principles can be applied in our daily lives with others. Some days, we have a very low CoF; everything slides right off of us. Other days, our CoF is very high, and we find that we are rubbing everyone the wrong way. There are topics that can cause very high friction. Of these, religion and politics are likely the quickest way to generate friction and heat between people. Just ask someone about Obama, Bush (any of them), Christ, predestination, or the end times.

    In reality, as humans, our CoF is pretty high. When rubbed against each other (that’s a metaphor), we are often rough and generate heat. However, when we put something in between us that is not rough, like these sliders, the friction goes away.

    So these sliders are a picture of the effect of the love of Christ. When we place the love of Christ between us, the friction goes away. To test this, have a discussion with someone on a topic you disagree on. Later, after you’ve cooled down, talk with the same person about the love of Christ. The difference is night and day.

    The life lived in Christ and in His Body will bring friction. I am convinced, though, that loving everyone with the love of Christ, which is the expression of Christ’s life, will always break down the friction and lead to peace and unity. The love of Christ extends life; without His love, life is destroyed.”

    Looking forward to your next post.

  9. I love how you shared that this is a mystery. Just as the building together “cannot be done by human effort, good intentions, or external methods”… neither can truly seeing, experiencing and freely expressing the mystery. Looking forward to part II!

  10. Unless the LORD Builds the House

    A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

    Unless the LORD builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
    Unless the LORD watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain.
    It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
    eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives to his beloved sleep.

    Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
    Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children of one’s youth.

    Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
    He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

    Ps 127

  11. I never cease to be amazed by what people sincerely believe or by what the nutritionlessl spiritual “fast food” that is fed to God’s children by self promoting apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. I have recently been skewered (again) for daring to suggest that following men (inclusive language) is dangerous unless you first possess the truth and know the Masters voice who said, “If the blind lead the blind BOTH will fall into the ditch”

    What I hear here is I call it, is it Ella or is it Memorex. Is the Spirit of our Lord speaking through this person or a donkey or are they presuming to speak what they consider “truth” for Him. Is it Him or does it just sound like Him (imitation).Truth is not bible stuff or spiritual ideas or great insights or illumination of “natural principles like “friction” and building techniques….truth is a person. To recognize truth (Jesus)one must possess and be possessed by the spirit of truth.

    • I meant to continue say, it seems sad that so much time has to be spent refuting such nonsense. I hear teachers teaching analogies as if they are illuminations. Principles as if they are commandments and their own insights as if God breathed. Let the listener beware.

      I’m sorry so much time must be spent today refuting false, in accurate or silly teaching because babies are so gullible. In my head I always hear: “Be no many of you teachers knowing you shall receive a heavier judgment.”

      Thanks to all those servants of the Lord who must occupy themselves with dispelling all the foolish notions which embedded in the heads of God’s people.

  12. Jamal I can’t wait for part II and wait in eager antici……………………………..pation 😉
    But as for this one I don,t think I have been taught this teaching explicitly.
    Tell me how it has been taught to you or was it implicate?

    • I’ve heard it taught many times, Vinny. I’ve heard the tree analogy that Pam mentioned used to describe it, as well as one about how we grow through the “friction” of rubbing elbows with the brother/sister next to you while “rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem” (this was supposed to describe believers working together for Christ). The last one always baffled me, because each time I heard it I would think that working together for Christ and having His love for one another should be what binds us together and helps us work through friction, and not be what causes the friction.

      • Thnx Catherine 😉 btw Luv Ya ! 🙂
        I guess I didn’t understand. Glue not really BUT as for pain and perseverance in relationship bringing growth and Love ABSOLUTELY ! In my personal life every major growth in the Lord was preceded by excruciatingly painful situations that drove me to Him and all of them relational. How else would I be able to love as He does and share in His glory if I did not share in His sufferings 🙁 🙂

  13. Jamal, looking forward to the rest. I’d say that Friction is an evidence of a poor Relational experience that happened during a past interaction or ongoing ones. The only thing it proves out is that 1, there was/is a relationship between two people for good or bad. 2, as long as the potential for more interactions are possible there is hope for the relationship to be driven by Jesus’s own spirit where His Love is invested. So a Bad relationship can become an amazing one. If however there is no likely interactions there is no hope for a change in relational status because that relationship is in fact dead. Dead, like a Body without a soul, is a relationship apart from interactions. As I had a multiyear dry spell in interacting with you Jamal, you could say I am resurrecting our relationship from the dead by interacting with you now. 🙂 (The location I am posting this from makes this ironic)

  14. I have heard this taught and repeated, especially when going through difficult times. It becomes a mantra of sorts that is shared with well meaning intent to encourage one another through the conflict. As months pass and the conflicts that breed incredible relational tension remain… it often seems that practically speaking the myth IS all that is holding you together, even though we cognitively tell ourselves it is Christ and theoretically try to experience this, we keep meeting and telling ourselves that it is a good thing because, after all, this friction is a sign that we are living stones being held together, right? 😉

    Just to restate the myth for clarity sake: Friction (pressure / conflict) holds the living stones together in the house that the Lord is building. 

    However, the heart I hear in this post is not to debate who has said what or who has or has not believed this, but to shine light on a deeper matter altogether. Part 2 of this post places handles on real practical questions that have surfaced recently and gives that spirit breathed life to many who have been desperately trying to stick it out through the friction filled with heart ache, much relational tension, and incredibly unfortunate circumstances. Again, thankyou for sharing this!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Relational Love or Friction… What Really Holds Living Stones Together In Community? Part II | Jamal Jivanjee - 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)  […]

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