Tag: church

You’re NOT Alone!

We are not meant to be alone!  God created us, as social beings, with the ability to intelligently interact.  (Much of human interaction is NOT very intelligent these days, though!)  Even with the proliferation of social media and the many different kinds of groups and activities that are available, we are isolated and lonely.

This is not only true among those who don’t profess faith in Jesus, it seems to be a reality with many who do profess faith in Him.  Why is that?

We can blame lots of things… a culture of individualism, busyness, misplaced priorities, and so on.  All of that is true to some extent. HOWEVER, for true followers of Christ, there is a reality that overrides anything that would isolate us from one another!

We begin to see that reality in John 17.  That chapter contains what is known as the “High Priestly” prayer of Jesus.  It occurred on the night before His death on the cross.  Listen in as He prays, in verses 20-21. “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

Jesus’ prayers are always answered!!  Here He prayed for unity among all who believe in Him, not just those that were with Him that evening, but for all of us who believe through their word.  He was not just praying for practical, day to day unity, for getting along with each other, but for something much more significant.  I would call it “organic unity”.

“Organic unity” is best understood by reading I Corinthians 12 and related passages.  There, we are introduced to the concept of the Body of Christ. Every true follower of, believer in, Christ, is baptized by the Holy Spirit into that Body at the moment of conversion!  We are members of that Body.  Just as our physical bodies have many different members… eyes, ears, inside organs, etc., so the Body of Christ has many members.  We are supernaturally, organically, connected as believers!

Jesus said He would build His Church in Matthew 16:18.  That Church is His Body. He is connecting each of us together.  He has made us interdependent. That reality is fleshed out in two ways.  First, we draw mutual strength and support from each other, through Christ, of course.  Second, we each exercise our unique, God given function as a member of the Body.  My thumb on my right hand could not survive if it was detached from my body. My thumb also has a unique function that my eyes could never fulfill.

When we, as followers of Christ, understand the reality of our organic unity in the Body of Christ, and act on it as described above, we will reap the benefits intended by Jesus!  It is a matter of being involved in a good local church, interacting with other believers regularly.  As followers of Christ, we were never intended to be alone!

For more on this subject, check out podcasts 127-139, begin with #127 by clicking here.

This Is Not Easy!!

Have you ever heard the expression, “Hard on the front end, easy on the back end; easy on the front end, hard on the back end!” There is so much practical wisdom in that statement!

When we are willing to make the hard decisions, take the tough actions up front, it tends to make things easier in the long run. If we take the quick and easy way out up front, many times it leads to heartache on the back end.

This is true in every area of life… our health, our finances, our child rearing, and our relationships. It really applies to how we get along in the Body of Christ, in our church relationships!

Jesus desires unity in His Church and has given us a clear roadmap to get there and stay there. It does require doing the “hard” thing on the front end, but the sweet harmony it brings on the back end is so worth the effort!

The “roadmap” can be found in the New Testament in the form of the “one anothers”. These are commands, not suggestions, that have been given to every follower of Christ. They tell us how to feel, act, and not act toward one another. Obeying them is not always easy, but it is the right thing to do.

I am taking a look at 33 of those “one anothers” on my Sharing Real Hope podcast, beginning with Podcast 173 through 176. They can be found at iTunes or on my ministry website, sharingrealhope.org. Click on the Podcast button to access them.

The overarching “one another” is obviously, love one another. It is repeated several times throughout the New Testatment. It is the divine, giving, self sacrificing love that Jesus displayed by coming from Heaven to earth to become a man, and by dying on a cross for our sin. What love that is! Jesus said to us “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34

All the other commands, the “one anothers”, happen because we love like that. It is only possible as we yield ourselves to the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

It is not easy, but it is definitely worth it!!  Take time to listen to those podcasts!