“To dwell above with saints we love, that will be our glory. To live below with the saints we know, now that’s a different story.”
That’s a humorous quote but one with lots of truth to it. Learning to get along as people has always had its challenges. Even in the church.
That’s why we strive to grow more like Christ not only individually but also corporately — as a community. And that takes effort for all of us. In fact, Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
We work at staying in agreement with the Holy Spirit’s desires as we endeavor to live at peace with others. That’s what creates a bond that allows us to do more together than we could ever do alone and enjoy it.
It sounds a little easier than it actually is. Why? Because we can tend to let pride live in us instead of humility; we can let the imperfections of people divide us instead of making us more patient. It’s easier to give up rather than find the grace to be with others.
Community takes intention and commitment. But the rewards are so worth it.
How can we embody and extend God’s presence well as his church? Paul gives us three ways.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received,” Ephesians 4:1.
The Greek word for “calling” means an invitation from God to be used by him. That’s what every one of us receives when we choose to follow him.
God has a place in his body that fits the gifts and abilities we have to give. And living in that place creates bonds that bring both fulfillment and fruit.
We know what happens when two atoms unite. They form something together that they could never have been alone — water. That’s something needed to refresh and sustain us. Let’s live like what we have to give is worth something — because it is.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles; the prophets; the evangelists; the pastors and teachers; to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature,” Ephesians 4:17-19.
A ministry leader’s role is not just to minister to us but lead us into ministry. It’s to help us find our purpose and place in God’s family so that we mature and help mature others, too.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ,” Ephesians 4:15.
God doesn’t want us saying, “Oh they need Jesus,” but rather “Oh they need us to be God’s church.” That’s why we pray, give and serve as part of God’s body. None of us can do on our own what we can do together to help and heal our world.
Let’s allow God to do infinitely more through us as his church.