Last week we talked about the 5-2-1 as it pertains to us personally.
We talked about it beginning with daily personal time with Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and His Word. This is a relationship like no other you will have in your lifetime. In this we will find our new identity in Him and through Him. This new identity will begin to replace the old identity that we once had. This is a conscience choice by the believer to think of himself or herself as a new creation loved by God and eternally secure. Through daily-ness with Him, I begin to unlearn the ways of living and loving that my family, my friends, my society and myself have taught me. Basically, I have to unlearn what I learned. I begin to learn to respond out of the love that He has given to me and requires of me for others. We also build intimacy with Jesus Christ and He begins to reveal to us, in more detail, in our daily lives, who He is…and who we are in Him. As I begin to understand Him and know Him better, He reveals to me who I truly am and what He requires of me and empowers me, by His love and grace, to be transformed.
In this daily process, He begins to transform us in His image. Our identity and value in Him is revealed and we find ourselves irrevocably changed. Freed from our old nature, we are empowered to live and to love as Christ has commanded. Who we are touches the lives of those that we love the most first, and then to those that we come into contact with on a daily basis, whether that is friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. God will do a work in you to do a work through you. This will move us beyond the self-interested isolation of private lives and beyond the superficial social contacts that pass for “Christian fellowship”. This enables us to love one another, forgive one another, regard each other more highly than ourselves, pray for one another and bear each other’s burdens.
The mark of Christ on a man’s life is change. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, all things are become new.” Jesus said to his disciples, “My commandment is this: Love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) As we begin to love, we must start with those that God has given to us first - our family. These are the ones that see us at our best and at our worst. Family relationships are the most transparent (besides our relationship with Christ) and so they can become the most difficult…but, they can also become the most rewarding. (again, besides Christ!) If we can love these that are closest, it will enable us to love those that Christ brings to us next. See the ripple effect? First Christ starts with us individually, then those closest to us, then our community.
What are some Biblical strategies for loving your family?
What are some Biblical strategies for loving those in your community? (Your sphere of influence.)
The Biblical idea of community challenges us to commit ourselves to a life together as the people of God. Our Christian community is the place of continued growth, that we mature and embody the very “fullness of Christ”. Ephesians 4:16 says, “From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each ones does its part, the body builds itself up in love.”
In community we also learn to strip away our self-interest in order to serve others. It is here that we learn to share what God has given us, whether it be goods or spiritual gifts. It is also here that we learn to be served, though we are sometimes prideful and reluctant like Peter, who balked at Jesus washing his feet. (John 13:2-10) Sometimes we are the washers and sometimes the washees, but in many ordinary ways we can learn what submission and service truly mean.
There are so many things that bless, and yes, challenge us within our church body.
How has God enriched your life through Christian community?