Here I'd chit-chatted with this woman for about 15 minutes, and these deeper issues never surfaced, it appeared that her life was perfect. But in our second conversation, the floodgate was opened, and she was able to share how she was really doing. I was so thankful that God had led me to initiate that second conversation, which enabled me to pray over her, right there in the parking lot. That simple act of obedience on my part resulted in a lifted burden on hers. I was able to encourage her, and now I know to continue to pray for her and her family. I also know that she needs a friend.
As she thanked me for taking the time to talk with and pray for her, we started talking about what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. Far too often, I am afraid that we settle for that initial chit-chat, that surface level conversation, and never get to the deeper issues which are plaguing us. As a result, we are not able to encourage one another as we should, and we don't know how to pray as we ought. We are all broken and wounded, yet we hide our gaping wounds with niceties and pleasantries. We're too busy, or too afraid to really care.
We talk about the weather, while the body of Christ suffers.
It should not be this way!!!
The New Testament is full of instruction on how we as the body of Christ are to behave toward one another:
- be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Rom. 12:10)
- give preference to one another (Rom. 12:10)
- love one another (Rom 13:8)
- pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another (Rom. 14:19)
- accept one another (Rom. 15:7)
- through love, serve one another (Gal. 5:13)
- bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2)
- be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another (Eph. 4:32)
- with humility of mind, regard one another as better than yourselves (Phil. 2:3)
- bearing with one another (Col. 3:13)
- with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, (Col. 3:16)
- comfort one another (I Thess. 4:18)
- encourage one another and build up one another (I Thess. 5:11)
- live in peace with one another (I Thess. 5:13)
- always seek after what is good for one another (I Thess. 5:15)
- encourage one another day after day (Hebrews 3:13)
- stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
- confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)
- pray for one another (James 5:16)
- fervently love one another from the heart (I Peter 1:22)
- be hospitable to one another (I Peter 4:9)
- clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (I Peter 5:5)
- love one another (I John 3:11, 23, 4:7, 11, 12; II John 1:5)
If you were to read each one of these in its context, you would not find caveats. They do not read, "if you are comfortable doing so, pray for one another." NO!! We are simply commanded to pray. I Peter 4:9 does not say, "If you have the gift of hospitality, and a beautiful house that could be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, then be hospitable." NO!!! We are all commanded to be hospitable without complaint.
It's time to stop making excuses. I couldn't have anyone over, my house is too small. I don't feel comfortable praying out loud; I'd be too embarrassed to ask if I could pray for them. I'm too busy!
It's time to stop expecting others to do what you've been instructed to do. She's so much better at that. He's the pastor, that's his job. They've been to bible college; they're much more qualified than I. I'm sure they have many friends who they can talk to and pray with.
These "one another" passages are not directed to specific, uniquely qualified, individuals, who've graduated from seminary or bible college, but to every member of the body of Christ. Every believer needs to be doing these things for the building up and edification of the body! Every. believer.
When every believer does his part, the church can accomplish the wonderful purpose God intends for it. When these "one another" instructions are neglected, the body suffers, its growth is stunted, and we miss out on the blessing God intended the body of Christ to be.
Are you longing for something more?
Do you want something deeper?
Are you dissatisfied with the current state of the body?
Begin to apply these one another passages through the power of the Holy Spirit, and you will slowly and surely begin to experience the blessed riches of life in the body of Christ. I guarantee it. There is no better feeling than to walk away and know that you did what God wanted you to do, to know that you blessed and encouraged another person. Obedience yields peace and joy. Start yourself, and do not lose heart in doing good, for in due time you will reap if you do not not grow weary. That's God's promise; you can cling to it!
I Peter 4:10 says, "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
Are you being a good steward of the manifold grace of God?
Do you really want to stand before Him and say you weren't?
Surrender yourself to Christ, yield yourself to the power of the Holy Spirit, and begin to walk in Him. You'll be amazed at the amazing things HE can accomplish through you, if you are willing to allow Him to do them.
It's time to be the Body.
Grace and Peace,