January 11, 2017
Not My Tribe
I was saved in the Jesus Movement. The Jesus People were a countercultural group who lived communally, grew gardens, and ate off the land. Their motto was, “Come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.”
(2 Corinthians 6:17) It was an isolationist mindset which, it turned out, was not me. Personally, I loved the Jesus People. We shared a heart for holiness and passion for God, but what they shouted (metaphorically speaking) I whispered, and what I shouted, they whispered. Although I admired them, and many of them are still my friends today, they are not my tribe. I wilted in the shade of their isolation-from-society tree. Their lack of motivation to transform the world drove me crazy. It was a constant point of conflict in our relationships, until I finally decided to move on. It’s important to recognize that one leaning is not necessarily better than the other, but you must identify which way you do lean when you are searching for your people.
8 Kinds of Tribes
Scriptures help define us; many of us find ourselves resonating with verses that mold and reveal our attitudes. Here are a few perspectives that may reveal more of who you are and who your people are. If these are the kinds of scriptures you dream about, then find people with the same heart and collaborate with them.
It is fair to say that we are all called to be childlike. But for some, childlikeness is more than an attribute, it’s a gene that defines them. Do you connect with the humility of the Lamb of God when He proclaimed, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (Luke 18:17)? Is your heart’s motto, “Why can’t everyone just love one another and get along?” If you are the kind of person who never really grew up but instead grew in—into Jesus, into His nature, into His virtues— then maybe you will find your people among this tribe: the people who have simple, uncomplicated faith.
Maybe you are driven to step out and meet the needs of the broken and hurting in a community. For you, responsibility is job number one! You understand that “love suffers long” (13:4 nkjv), and you feel fully actualized when you are in the fray, mourning with those who mourn and rejoicing with those who rejoice. If this describes you, then you are more likely to find your people in the cornfield than at the ball field, in the workplace than at the bowling alley.
All believers are royalty and, simultaneously, servants of all. Yet some believers are more servant-minded in their natures than others. They feel fully alive when they do practical things for people. The Kingdom has a high value for the attributes of servanthood. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Your seat of servanthood is your throne of destiny. Is your passion activated through service? Do you naturally think about meeting the needs of people? Do you envision yourself joining others in coordinated efforts to touch the poor or help the broken? If these things are true about you, then these values must be resident in your people in order for you to resonate with them.
Some of you just reek of royalty. You carry yourself nobly and come across as if you work in the White House. The apostle Paul said, “You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you” (1 Corinthians 4:8). Do you envision yourself leading in some arena with a team of top-tier advisors? Do you see yourself more like King David or King Solomon than Joseph or Daniel (who advised kings)? If this is you, you are more likely to meet your people in the community than in the congregation.
The Song of Solomon is the story of two lovers who are so passionate about each other that they make their readers blush. Are you a hopeless romantic? Are you so constantly caught up in romancing the Bridegroom that it seems the rest of life is a bother? Do you value feelings and experiences above tasks and accomplishments? If you answered affirmatively, then passion is the hallmark of your tribal DNA. You probably approach life as the bride does and express yourself through creativity; it’s common to find your tribe in a community of artists, musicians, or dancers—people known for being sensitive, intuitive, prophetic, and creative.
I really admire this next tribe. These folks are the Holy Spirit Olympians! For these folks, a minute wasted is a race lost. Paul summed up this lifestyle when he wrote to the church at Corinth, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Is this you? Do you feel that life is a competition waiting to be won or an obstacle course that must be conquered? If so, your people will probably be found at a basketball court, gym, or in the outback somewhere climbing a mountain—in any environment with activities requiring intense discipline.
The battle-ready are as intense as the disciplined athletes, yet for them life isn’t a race, it’s a war! They view the world as a battlefield and see themselves as soldiers who are engaged in an intense struggle against the devil for the souls of men. The apostle Paul was definitely the personification of a soldier and required those who accompanied him to enlist in his “armed forces.” We see this in his exhortation to Timothy when he wrote, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3–4).
While some people are soldiers, still others are hardworking farmers. Farmers are plodders; they are consistent and patient people who, through prolonged labor, receive their rewards in harvest seasons. Skilled farmers must be visionaries because they plant trees that yield no harvest for several years. Perhaps this resonates with you? You love to work hard, and you exhibit great patience, knowing your effort will be rewarded in time. You enjoy doing life in different seasons. You love to chill in the winter of life, aware that “He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully” (Proverbs 10:5).
Putting on Your Tribal Glasses
I want to challenge you to put your tribal glasses on when you read your Bible. Look for the kingdom attributes and attitudes your heart resonates with as you comb through its pages. Pay attention to the DNA within you so you can discover your people in the world around you. Remember: until you find your people, you can’t fully apprehend your divine destiny because your destiny lies in your people! For more on finding your tribe check out my new book, Destined to Win. Which group do you resonate with? Give a shout out to your tribe in the comments below!
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