PJ’s Daily Devotional for Monday, January 23, 2017
How important is it be in love with your church? It is enough to just have a church building you sit in once a week? Is it enough to tolerate going to church once a week or once a month or once a year?
What’s the big deal about the church anyways!?!
Paul lays out his goal for writing at the end of the letter, stating, “For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down” (2 Corinthians 13:9, 10).
Paul ends his last letter to the Corinthians with a warning written in love. He wants each of them to be found true in their personal faith as evidenced by their corporate church fellowship: “Finally brothers rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (verse 11).
Paul exhorts in verse 5 to test ourselves to see whether we are in the faith. What would such a test look like?
According to verse 11, there would be 4 questions to determine whether or not Jesus Christ is in you, and they all include how you are interacting with the people in your church:
- Are you rejoicing in the Lord with your brothers and sisters in your church?
- Are your relationships “restored” meaning they are healthy and gracious (filled with forgiveness and grace) as evidenced by the presence of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23)?
- Are you comforting one another in hardships, grief, and loneliness?
- Are you living in peace with one another throughout all circumstances?
Paul teaches us that our personal maturity leads to the building up of the body of Christ. And a built-up Church (the body of Christ) manifests the presence and power of God to bring peace to our families, communities, and the nations. Only the church has the power to do this!
God designed us to be dependent on Him and mutually dependent on one another; that is scary business, but God designed us that way on purpose. Peace and wholeness in this life is found when we come in agreement with our Creator in how He created us and God created us for relationships and intimate belonging in community.
Only then are we proclaimers of the promises of God; holy and wholly His to “go” and evangelize those outside the Church to come in and be a part of God’s ongoing work to the restore the world unto Himself. In other words, the great restoration project of Creation has a beginning point in culture—the church! Christians can’t restore culture until the culture of the Church is restored for Christ. And that begins with you and your relationships in the body of Christ.
I asked earlier, “What is the big deal about the church anyways?” Well, I guess you could say it’s your capstone project here on earth. How you love in the church proclaims the authenticity of how you love the Lord Jesus Christ. The implications are tremendous…
Are you passing the test laid out before you?