The Beautiful Bride - Week 3, Day 5

The Body of Christ

IF… “ Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.  And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 (NIV)

IF… we are told to “think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)

THEN… I will belong to a local church family that I will learn to love and appreciate. When necessary, I will hold others accountable to the commitment they have made to Christ, encouraging and strengthening them. 

Christianity was never meant to be just an insulated, private enterprise between you and God.  In the book, The Hole in Our Holiness, Kevin DeYoung describes Christian life without the church body like this: “The man who attempts Christianity without the church shoots himself in the foot, shoots his children in the leg and shoots his grandchildren in the heart.” God created us to work together. Without a church body, we will fail to thrive.

Below are some of the reasons that God expects us to belong to a local body of believers:

  1. We need the support, encouragement, motivation, and accountability from other believers.
  2. Our faith is strengthened as we learn from others who are more mature in their faith.
  3. We grow in character as we learn to be gracious and forgiving to our brothers and sisters in Christ who try our patience.
  4. We experience God’s power and presence when we worship corporately with other Christians in unity and solidarity.
  5. We learn to love complete strangers because of the bond we share through Christ. 
  6. The local church is a recruiting station and training ground for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. 
  7. The church as a whole is a powerful testimony of love and hope to unbelievers.
  8. We are called to use our gifts to support the body of Christ.

To expound on the last point, as you use your special gifts to serve the body of Christ, you will not only glorify God and his Kingdom, but you will also experience the fullness of life He has designed for you. However, if you are not using your gifts for God’s purposes or if you are working for God in an area that He has not gifted you for, you will feel empty! Your flame will go out. Christians are often busy doing things that fill their calendars, but not their souls. 

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying that God will never ask you to do something that is new or uncomfortable for you, because He most definitely will. Growing pains are a necessary consequence of spiritual growth.  But if we are tired and burned out with our service, then we are either serving in the wrong area or we are not fanning the flame of God’s Spirit in us to empower us for the work he has called us to do.  Are you using your gifts to serve, and if so, are you finding fulfillment and blessing there?

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