Unity in Christ Alone

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! – Psalm 133:1

All throughout the New Testament we read about unity in the Body of Christ. In the fourth chapter of Ephesians, Paul urges us to walk with humility and gentleness. He tells us to bear with one another and to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. David in Psalm 133 tells about how great it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity. We are called to be one body, one corporate man with Christ as the head. But how can we do this? How can the Body of Christ dwell in unity when we have so many differences?

You and I probably have different tastes in music, sports and even food. We like to spend our time doing different activities and we may even disagree theologically and doctrinally. How can we possibly dwell in unity when our personalities are so different? By setting all those things aside. We cannot do it in our own power. Apart from Christ we can do nothing, even dwell in unity. What do we have to do then to dwell in unity and be a true body? We must make Christ the center and main object of our thought and lives. This means to set aside our interests for our own personal lives. We’re no longer just individuals, we’re one body that stems from one head, that is, Jesus Christ.

If Christ is my all and Christ is your all then do we not have everything in common? True unity in the Body lies in Christ alone, not agreeing on some doctrine or tradition and not being a part of the same movement.

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Stirring Up One Another

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25

How good are at this? In our individualistic society and a Christianity that tends to push the term “personal Savior” rather than focusing on the Body as whole, I would say most of us aren’t very good at this. I know that I’m not. I feel like I use to be but since God started teaching so much truth about Christ’s true centrality, church life and God’s eternal purpose there’s been more study than experience over the last two years. Don’t get me wrong. There’s been experience and there’s been Body life but overall I see that what the writer in Hebrews 10:24 states is an area in which I now find myself lacking.

Encouragement and stirring one another up goes hand in hand with meeting together. These people are even instructed to do this more and more as time goes on. Does getting together once a week, whether in a church service or in a house church meeting accomplish this? No. It’s not enough. The only way to truly accomplish this is to become part of each others’ lives, a true family. To share meals together, watch movies together, pray together, study the Bible together and encourage one in another in all of this daily.

So let us consider ways to stir one another to love and good works. Let us show one another the portion of Christ in us so that we may all grow in the knowledge of Him. And most importantly, let us seek God together and discover ways that allow us to do this more and more as time goes on.

How do you and others that you’re close with stir each other up in Christ regularly?

Are We Too Connected?

We live in digital and technology-driven age. This is obvious considering that rather than reading this as a printed article or pamphlet, you’re currently reading this post on a computer, smart phone, tablet or maybe even your TV. Technology is everywhere and some even say that technology is actually making us dumber and that human evolution is reversing. I’d like to share a few of my thoughts on our technology-driven lives and why it’s important to intentionally unplug.

I would like to say that I’m very grateful for technology. I love it. I love my iPhone, my iPad and my Mac that sits in my office at work. As a web designer, I wouldn’t even have a job if it wasn’t for technology. Computers, phones, apps and social media are all very useful in our lives. However, there is one question that we need to ask ourselves…

Are we too connected?

We have the ability to be in constant conversation with people all around the world and right down the street through texting, Twitter, Facebook and the other countless social networking outlets. It really is great. We can have our questions answered at any given time and we can also encourage one another instantly with a thought or verse. The trouble though is that we can also neglect the face to face fellowship we’re having with one another by interrupting a conversation to reply to a Tweet. This is where our connectedness can affect and even harm true human interaction. We can be with people in person but yet be miles away as we sit in silence fumbling through our phones. We should make it a point to ignore our phones, tablets and computers so that we can have true interaction with our brothers and sisters. To put it bluntly, we’ve become enslaved by our phones and computers.

Our face to face fellowship with people isn’t the only area of our lives that can suffer. As a follower of Christ, it’s in our new nature to desire Jesus. Because of Christ in us we pray and spend time intentionally seeking God one on one and apart from distractions. I don’t know if we’re simply afraid to be alone or what exactly the problem is, but we’ve lost the art of being alone. Being by ourselves with the Lord is something that Jesus spoke of in word and in action. He would frequently leave His disciples and crowds to go off by Himself and pray. Jesus even said that when we pray we should get alone in a closet. It’s clear that being alone with God is important. This is a practice that we have to retrieve if we hope to be able to encourage and build up each other and if we hope to simply know Christ deeper. For this, we have to learn to how to unplug.

The point is this: Being connected to loved ones is great. There’s a handful of people who I consider real brothers in Christ that I have only conversed with through this blog and on Twitter. I appreciate it all and thoroughly believe that God uses technology. We have to be careful, though, so that we don’t get distracted from God and authentic fellowship with our brothers and sisters.

This is something that I’ve dealt with and am still dealing with now. I’m a Twitter addict. I don’t care about Facebook as much but I’ve spent lots of time Tweeting and scrolling through my feed on my phone. We need to learn that it’s ok to have unread emails, messages and tweets. We need to begin intentionally unplugging and recover the lost art of being alone with God and being with people.

Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts?

Exhorting One Another and Why It Matters

Sometimes, actually, a lot of times, I really suck. You may be thinking, “Sure, we all suck in ourselves.” This is true, but even though we’re in Christ we’re faced with a challenge to actually walk in Him, which is only done by His grace, rather than to rely on the natural man that is in reality, dead. Seclusion from the body of Christ is something that’s really harmful for a believer. Whether we’re deceived into thinking we can serve and seek God all on our own or we get too distracted and simply don’t have time to fellowship with each other, it’s not good. I’ve said this in other posts before, the Christian life is a corporate life, one lived in community centered around Jesus Christ. In this community we’re all equal. Regardless of race, gender, culture, interests, social status, we’re equal and one. In the community of God there is no hierarchy and we have Christ as the head. We’re all priests and we therefore all have a responsibility to share Christ and His riches with each other. Check out what the writer of Hebrews says:

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. – Hebrews 3:12-14

This excerpt goes right along with the many “one anothers” found in the New Testament. Reading this, it seems that if we aren’t exhorting each other all the time, everyday even, then we run a greater risk of falling away God altogether. We may not come out and publicly say we no longer care about God, but perhaps we’ll become deceived into thinking we’re living ok when in reality we aren’t walking in Christ. We can become deceived because there is no accountability and no encouragement. I know from experience that it’s far too easy to get caught up simply living our lives and in turn just keep God in the back our minds when He Himself should be living this life through us to His glory. We need to constantly be challenged, encouraged and pushed toward Christ by our brothers and sisters.

This whole corporate life thing has to be intentional. It takes sacrificing our schedules, interests and hobbies as a result of loving Jesus and His body more than ourselves. The Spirit of God will bring us to this place, He will accomplish it. But we have to let Him do it and stop ignoring the truth. Let it all be done by Him and to His glory.

Thank you for sharing your church life

I usually don’t blog on Sundays, for no reason other than that’s just the way it works out. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to the few people that shared with me what  their what their Church life is like this past week.

In case you missed it, I asked the readers of this blog, including yourself, to share with me what your Church life is like. You can read the original post here: What does your church life look like?

Your responses are still more than welcome, I would love to learn more about  you guys and where God has you.

Again, thank you so much for your participation and interest in this blog. I’ve got a few post ideas started for the coming week so be sure to keep checking back. Don’t forget that you can sign up to be notified by email about new blog posts by using the signup form in the right sidebar.

What does your church life look like?

The body of Christ is one of the most diverse groups of people that I can think of. We all have different talents, occupations, interests and are spread out all over the world.

We’re even diverse in the ways that we gather with each other to pray, study and build one another up in Christ.

Some attend weekly services, some lead small groups, others meet in a home and share regular meals together.However, many of you may not be a part of any type of church life….maybe you don’t even consider yourself a Christian but still find yourself checking out the posts on this site. Church life or no Church life, I would love to hear from you.

I’m curious to see how diverse the readers of this blog are. With no judgements or hatefulness I would like to hear from all of you in the comments section about what your “church life” is like.

Please, no negative comments or bashing of each other’s views and beliefs. We’re part of one body, regardless of how that body life is lived out.

So, what does your church life look like? Please respond below in the comments section 🙂

Learning to love the Church

Over a year and a half ago my wife and I left the church that I grew up at to find a deeper relationship with Christ and His body outside the four walls of the institutionalized church. Since then, to my surprise, we have had very few encounters and conversations to where friends, family and other believers tried to get us to go back or find another church that better suits our needs. At the same time there have been some. I’m thankful however that most of these conversations have been out of love rather than offense and were very respectful.

I have recently noticed that my feelings toward the Church (Christ’s body, not a building) have grown over the last year and a half. I’m far from perfect and apart from Christ I am unable to love or understand love but I’ve noticed Christ’s love in me. Since starting this journey I have noticed that I’m often less judgemental of other believers. It’s much easier for me to have a truly Christ-exalting conversation with another believer regardless of what their “church life” looks like.

When we get together with other believers our discussion is more centered around Christ Himself. Rather than talking about a service we recently attended or what’s going on with the worship band we’re in we talk about truth that reveals Christ to one another in a deeper way. I am able to see Christ in my brothers and sisters in a way that I never saw before. I’m also able to see the junk in their lives that I never saw as well…and it’s beautiful. I’m able to hear from Christ through believers’ voices in a greater way.

I’m simply thankful for the many brothers and sisters that God has surrounded my wife and I with. Without them I wouldn’t know Christ the way I do. The Christian life is a corporate life, not an individual life. I’m simply thankful.