As Christians, we understand that we are each part of the body of Christ. We understand that the Church is comprised of many parts that each has a special function. The Church is people. Each of us are different. Each of us are part of the body of Christ. We also know that Jesus Christ spoke of unity and prayed for unity. This is important.
Paul wrote that “we all belong to each other,” as translated in the New Living Translation. I love this translation. We all belong to each other. I think this helps us to get a better picture of unity. If we belong to each other, it should mean that we care for those who belong to us. Don’t you care for your belongings? If we belong to each other, it should mean that we treasure those who belong to us. Don’t you treasure your belongings? Don’t you treat what you own nicely because it is of value to you? If we belong to each other, that means that not only does a person belong to you, but you belong to the person. This speaks of humility, connectivity, loyalty, and so much more.
One of the biggest areas we struggle with is unity. Jesus spoke a lot about unity because He knew of the struggles we would have with harmony as a body. When you take a group of imperfect people and join them together, there will be problems. But what links us together is the Holy Spirit. If we allow the Spirit to move freely and guide our steps, we can live as if we belong to each other. We can seek out the best interests for our brothers and sisters. We can think more of our fellow believers. We can treasure those God puts in our lives and ask Him how we can bless, encourage, and strengthen them on their walk. We can live within the unity instead of trying to break out on top. Remember today, we all belong to each other.
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” – Romans 12:4-5 [NLT]
Grace is amazing. It has a sweet sound. We read that, “In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10 NLT). This is GOOD NEWS! Jesus died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are called children of God. We are “called to share in His eternal glory.”
Yes, we will suffer. Yes, everything will not be smooth. But this is for “a little while.” Then we can trust that “He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” God pours out His grace upon grace. Peter notes that everything we “are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for (us).” He encourages us to “stand firm in this grace.”
Today, stand firm in this grace. Understand that there is grace that is for you. Yes, God’s grace for you! It exists. He continues to pour it out to you. Show yourself some grace and stand firm in His grace!
“I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.” – 1 Peter 5:12 [NLT]
These past two weeks, I continue to be reminded of floods. As we continue our series through Genesis, we were discussing Noah and the Flood, and the aftermath. As well, Facebook has reminded me of the flooding we had in 2011, with photos of local areas flooded from Tropical Storm Lee. I cannot fathom the view Noah would have had from the Ark as the earth was destroyed by flood waters.
When I look back on these flood photos from Tropical Storm Lee, I still cannot believe the area was flooded. I remember seeing photos of Knoebels Amusement Park underwater and thinking I would never again get to take a family visit to the park. Two years ago, I found myself walking around at Knoebels as if the place was never flooded. Some of the photos of the roads flooded by Lee I have driven on just last week. It was as if nothing ever happened.
All of this talk of flooding these past few weeks reminds me of the restoration of God. He is Jehovah Rophi, God who heals, Who restores. In Exodus 15, God proclaims this to the Israelites as they cry out because of the bitter water at Marah. Still today, God restores. Yes, we will suffer a little while; however, “He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” Keep pressing forward. Restoration will come!
“He said, ‘If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, obeying His commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.’” – Exodus 15:26 [NLT]
“In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:10 [NLT]
It is very difficult to deeply immerse yourself in the world and expect to live a godly life. It is important to spend time in good company because these people will help you to “keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.” Hang around those with integrity, those who are honest, those who will help build you up and equip you, those who know and love God and who are devoted to studying God’s Word and who regularly worship the Lord.
When you spend a lot of time in bad company, it wears off on you to the point no one can tell the difference between you and the worldly. Imagine a cup of water. The cup of water represents the godly life. The water is clear. However, if you take a tea bag (bad company) and dip it in the water, slowly the water changes color and taste. Little by little, you can add more tea bags or simply allow the tea to soak through the bag in time. The water changes. It’s no longer water. It’s tea. It is the same way with bad company.
We are to interact with sinners, to spend time with sinners. Each of us is in fact a sinner. Plus, if we were to isolate ourselves after being saved, then how would the Gospel be shared? Still, we all need a great community of godly friends to walk with us through life. I thank God for my mentors, my friends, my good company. They have helped to strengthen me, to pray for me, to point me in the right direction, to share Scripture, to comfort, to encourage. Join the company of good men and women.
“So—join the company of good men and women,
keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.
It’s the men who walk straight who will settle this land,
the women with integrity who will last here.
The corrupt will lose their lives;
the dishonest will be gone for good.”
-Proverbs 2:20-22 [MSG]
We so often focus on our own strength—what we can do on our own. In Exodus 4, Moses pleaded with God because he wasn’t “very good with words.” He told the Lord, “I never have been” (NIV). Those four words touch home. I could say I have never been one with good penmanship. I have never been one who could do math in my head. I have never been….
A few verses later, Moses gets a promise from God—a promise that we all receive. God says,” I will be with you” (NLT) or “I will help you” (NIV). We aren’t alone. We are not supposed to consider things with our own strength in mind. We were never meant to do life alone.
So God has left us this promise. He is with us. He will not forsake us. He will help us. He will strengthen us. He will uphold us. He will provide for us. Therefore, do not focus on the “I never have beens” in your life—focus on Him. Focus on what you can do through Him. Remember, you are not in this alone.
“But Moses pleaded with the LORD, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.’” – Exodus 4:10 [NLT]
A few days ago, I made a horrible mistake with my laundry. It was laundry day and my last load of laundry was the bath towels. When I put the towels into the dryer, I continued onward. We had dinner. We took the dog for a walk. I did the dishes. There was a moment when I considered checking on the towels, but I figured that it wasn’t a high priority. I’ve left the towels sit before and everything was fine.
Two days went by and I remembered that I had bath towels in the dryer. I opened the dryer and it hit me—I never turned the dryer on after I shut the door. The smell was horrible. The nice, clean towels that simply needed dried now needed to be rewashed. Everything that was done before now needed done again.
We are like those bath towels. After we accept Jesus, we are washed clean; however, we cannot just sit there after we are washed. We still have an issue with sin and a need for repentance. We still need to continue on our walk with Christ. If we don’t read and actively study the Bible—if we don’t participate in prayer daily—if we don’t continue to repent for our sins—if we don’t follow God’s will for our lives—if we don’t belong to a church community and serve—we are then wet towels sitting in the dryer. Today, continue on your walk with Christ—read, study, pray, repent, follow, belong, serve. Life isn’t lived standing still.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:6-7 [NIV]