“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:23-25,
Have you ever wondered, Since Christ is my source of sufficiency, does this imply that I should be independent of other Christians? How does my relationships within the Body of Christ relate to my experience of Christ as my source of living?
The Scripture assures us that we are complete in Christ (Col. 2:10), yet we have also been placed into a spiritual organism–the Church. Christ promised, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:16). His redemptive work involved uniting His people into a spiritual family. So we are exhorted, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).
This spiritual fellowship is compared to the interdependence of members in your physical body: “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Rom. 12:4,5). God intends that abundant life in Christ be expressed and encouraged through the fellowship of His people. Healthy personal relationships with fellow believers should be part of our spiritual development. We are told that in His youth, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Growing in favor with people describes wholesome, loving relationships. The apostle Paul counsels us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”(Gal. 6:2). The believer need not try to be a Lone Ranger (and even he had Tonto!).
In His insightful book, The Father Heart of God, Floyd McClung Jr. emphasizes the grace of God which should flow in our Christian fellowship. “As we love and accept and forgive one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, God’s love flows through us to heal one another. Through our brothers and sisters in God’s family, God provides the kind of love and acceptance that frees us from our fears and allows us to experience greater wholeness as people. We can be committed to others without fear of rejection. We can accept others in spite of their weakness. We can forgive others even when they hurt us … All this is true because of God’s grace. It is His grace, His undeserved love, that does this for us. We don’t have the ability in ourselves to be so loving, but God enables us to love. We don’t have have the ability in ourselves to heal one another, but through us God heals others. Every Christian has this ministry. Each of us can be a grace-giver.”
This snap shot may sound idealistic. When we experience disappointments in a local church, however, we can still seek to be a blessing to others. Christ’s sufficiency is our safety net. When Paul had a lapse of Christian support before his martyrdom, he wrote “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me … (2 Tim. 4:16,17).
Our Lord Jesus was disappointed in his sleepy prayer partners at Gethsemane, but an angel was sent to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). As a child of God, know that the Lord will never leave or forsake you! (Heb. 13:5).
Will you express God’s grace to your family? your small group Bible study? your fellow church members? Let us abide in Christ so as to reveal His edifying grace to our brothers and sisters in the faith.
We thank You Father, for welcoming us into Your forever family through faith in the Lord Jesus. Give us the sensitivity to be Your instruments of blessing to our fellow believers, for we are members of one another. Amen
Copyright 1998 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to copy for non-commercial use. Biblical quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson.