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Attachments 17

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Attachments 17

(I believe what God is doing in this series is pivotal to what He wants to do for each of us individually and corporately to prepare us for the New Season of God’s miraculous movement in our church and the final manifestation of the Kingdom of God.  I believe that the book of Acts is still being written and what we are doing will be a part of the eternal record that testifies of God’s grace, covenant love, and power!!!

      We have been working on understanding and beginning to earn a secure attachment style.  You can follow along with me in your Attachments book on page 154.)

Attachment and Spirituality

“Research shows, and our time in counseling confirms, that these stress-induced interactions lay the groundwork for how we respond in the future to God.  They answer the questions, Is He present?  Is He accessible?  Will He welcome us into His lap for comfort, or will He trivialize the pain and send us with a bony, accusing finger from His throne room?  They answer the question, Is God trustworthy and dependable?”[1]

First, an Awareness

We believe a core aspect of spirituality is an awareness of our vulnerability.  As we become increasingly aware of our need and how truly vulnerable we are, our attachment system flips on.  And when the ‘on’ light begins to glow, we’re motivated to seek His presence.

       Think about the events of September 11, 2001, a horrific day by any standard.  Terrorists intended to throw America—our beloved country, a country God gave us—into chaos and fear.  But it had the opposite effect.  The attack was a boundary event for the entire nation.  It peeled away the veil of impenetrability and stripped away the robe of safety so many Americans wore with pride.  But as we became aware of our susceptibility, our helplessness, and our apparent fragility, we sought refuge in God.  In our distress we sought refuge and ultimately found comfort.”[2]

       I assume the authors are talking about genuine, born again, Spirit-filled believers, because America—as a whole—certainly hasn’t responded that way.

Attachment and the Fear of Death

“Ask children about what scares them, and you’ll get answers like monsters under the bed or in the closet, and answers like losing their parents—separation anxiety.  The thought literally terrifies children.  From the moment their lips touch the breast, their parents are a part of them, the part that comforts and satisfies them…

       As children develop, separation anxiety turns into a fear of death—death anxiety.  What are they afraid of?  It has to be more than the sense that we’re all going to die.  We all have that sense.  Anxiety about it means we’re afraid of something on the other side of the divide.  For example, we know a wonderful Christian woman who at age eighty-three is afraid of death.  She wars against it.  Why?  Because she senses that she has lost her ability to control her life.  She is coming to the end of self—her safety.  And now she faces an unfamiliar future…

       Many people try to defend against death anxiety by denying its existence.  They rarely or never attend a funeral, never talk about loss and death.  They press on in their Reeboks, looking for the fountain of youth.  But the boundary situations of life, among them, illness, accidents, rejection, and tragedy, can cause death anxiety to seep to the surface.  When it does, the various attachment styles activate as a defense against it:

·         The avoidant attachment style avoids intimacy and dampens emotions in personal relationships.  For these folks, closeness brings fear of rejection.  So, they remain on the periphery of intimacy and instead attach themselves to things and success.  This defense ultimately destroys the true bond of love that can exist between two people.

       Through counseling and some soul searching, I have identified the source of my anxiety and anxiety attacks that come when I am overstressed or I have to fly.  It has to do with an abandonment situation in my childhood.  Please hear me say that anyone purposely abandoned me, but the impact was the same.

       Yet, through the grace of God, I have chosen to move towards relationships and not away from them!!!

·        The ambivalent attachment style does the opposite.  These people seek intimacy but grab for it too tightly.  They may exchange ‘addictive attachments over genuine involvement, love, and concern.’  They may deeply believe that if they can hold on tightly enough they can avoid separations and ultimately even death.  Unfortunately, this defense can lead to the same outcome as the avoidant defense:  feelings of alienation and aloneness.  As Otto Rank powerfully points out, the fear of death is frequently translated into a fear of life:  a fear of living and investing in relationships, in ministry, in meaningful existence.

·        The disorganized attachment style may use the avoidant or ambivalent response or even a mixture of both.  These people also tend to go numb, feeling as if the world around them is not real.

·        The secure attachment style can consciously and courageously invest in close relationships, but these persons ‘hold them with an open palm,’ realizing that wile relationships provide comfort and safety, they can, and ultimately will, end.  Death will always be the great separator.”[3]

       “Mankind’s greatest fear is separation, with death being the ultimate form of it.  If you have an insecure attachment style, this fear and an unwillingness to face it directly can deaden you to living life to its fullest.  Crippled by this insecure attachment style, you shrink away from fully investing yourself in meaningful, intimate relationships and fail to be motivated to carry out God’s purposes.”[4]  Can’t you see that this is what is wrong with many of us?  We are shrinking away from the full, exciting, delicious, dangerous life that God has for us!!!

       “On the other hand, if you have a secure attachment style, you know it is this very fear that the Scriptures say Jesus came to conquer.  Through His death and resurrection we are given the promise of everlasting life with Him.  He promises we’ll never be separated from Him.  The writer of the Hebrews said, ‘Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death’ (Hebrews 2:14-15).  (The more intimate we are with Jesus Christ, the more He lifts us above the fear of death!!!)

       The apostle Paul echoed this fact when he wrote, ‘Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gaves us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).  In the next verse Paul said that because the fear of death has been doused, we can experience what amounts to a secure base, a solid foundation from which to boldly and fully invest in life, in ministry, in relationships.  And we can know it is all meaningful:  ‘Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain’ (v. 58).

       Those with secure attachment patterns also know that though they’ll be separated from current earthly relationships, death unites them with the supreme heavenly Father—eternally.”[5]


Building A Secure Base with God

       “God is our principle attachment figure.  But we still need others.  In fact, we know that God has brought relationships into our lives to provide, in an earthly setting, what God wants us to have.  But when we’re in trouble, we know to turn to God first.  He is the One ‘who sticks closer than a brother’ (Proverbs 18:24)—One who will never leave nor forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5).”[6]

       When we have a secure base, and God and heaven are our ultimate secure base, this perspective frees us to live boldly and relish our sense of meaning and direction.  Paul lived in this newfound freedom.  And some verses from Romans 8 echo his confidence:

Romans 8:1 (NLT), “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:15 (NLT), “So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves.  You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family—calling him ‘Father, dear Father.’”

Romans 8:17 (NLT), “And since we are his children, we will share his treasures—for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too.  But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”

Romans 8:23 (NLT), “And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering.  We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us.”

Romans 8:28 (NLT), “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Romans 8:32 (NLT), “Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?”


Romans 8:35-39 (NLT), “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?  Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? [36] (Even the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’) [37] No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. [38] And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love.  Death can’t, and life can’t.  The angels can’t, and the demons can’t.  Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. [39] Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“As we embrace our relationship with God in Christ, we seek intimacy with others, knowing that in the end we will ultimately be with both God and the ones we love who know and love Him.  As Peter Kreft so aptly points out, God’s ‘Love is stronger than death.’”[7]

How to Experience God’s Presence and Peace

The heavenly kingdom provides refuge for our souls in times of trouble.  But do we have to wait for death to experience it (i.e. the Kingdom)?  The Pharisees asked Jesus this question, to which He replied, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, “Here it is,” or “There it is,” because the kingdom of God is within you’ (Luke 17:20-21, italics added).

       Jesus told the Pharisees, and He tells us today, we don’t have to wait until we reach heaven to experience its peace.  It resides within us right now!

Acts 1:8 (NASB-U), “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Luke is talking about the power of the coming Kingdom being available at work in the hear and now!!!  This power can give us peace now.


John 14:16-18 (NASB-U), “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; [17] that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. [18] I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

·        The fact that that God has given us another Helper;

·        The fact that the new Helper will be with us forever;

·        The fact that that we know this Helper—who is the Spirit of truth—;

·        The fact that this Helper abise with us and in us;

·        The fact that God will not leave us as orphans;

·        The fact that He comes to us now and;

·        The fact that He will one day come to us and for us, and that forever;

should give us peace!

So, the burning question becomes, How do we embrace it (i.e the Kingdom of God)?  How can we experience God’s presence and peace in our everyday lives?  Do we have to go through traumatic suffering?  Do we have to lose someone to gain access, to realize God’s place in our lives?

       God is eternally present; there’s no question about that.  But that doesn’t mean we’re as aware of His presence as we should be, even in times of severe crisis.  But how do we become aware?  How do we know when we look up, look to the right and left, look before us and behind us, we’ll always sense Him there?  Experiencing God’s presence is a skill that must be developed and then sharpened.  Just like carpentry or sewing.  And it’s a skill we can use anytime, anywhere.  We don’t have to wait for tragedy to find Him.  In fact, in the midst of such exceeding pain, we may not find God as quickly as we’d like.  Not because He’s unwilling, but because at those times we’re often tangled up in confusion.  The time to hone our awareness is in our day-to-day journeys, the times when we’re confronted by small challenges—difficulties at work, troubles with your parents or children, results of your own sins.  If we haven’t learned to find Him in the small episodes of our lives, it may be painfully difficult to find Him when we’re thrown into deep troubles.

       So, how do you do it?”[8]  We’ll will find out in the next section.

Homework:    Attachments (pages 160-170).


God’s Word for you tonight:  “I will never leave you, nor forsake you!  Lo!  I am with you always even until the end of the age!”

Isaiah 43:2 (NASB-U), “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”

I will be your God and you will be my beloved child!!!  I want to walk intimately with you, so when you are in trouble call unto me and I will show great and mighty things which you do not know.  I will confirm my love to you and you shall bask in the sunlight of my love!!!

(Now is the Day of Salvation!  Come to Jesus, Now!)

Invitation

Call to Discipleship


----

[1] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 154.

[2] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 154-155.

[3] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 155-156.

[4] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 155-156.

[5] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 156-157.

[6] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 157-158.

[7] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 159.

[8] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 159-160.

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