2001-12-07 - Our Christian Family
The Christian's Toolbox, Part 3
This week we continue our series on The Christian's Toolbox by looking at the support system the Lord provides us.What comes to your mind when you hear the word "church?" A small, simple building where your family has worshipped for years? A huge, beautiful edifice with Tiffany stained glass windows? A place you haven't visited in a long time? It's true that one meaning of the word is the building where we worship,fellowship and study God's word, but for the purpose of this devotional, by the "church" I mean all believers. While God's ideal for each of us is that we be involved in a local church, the "church universal" includes all our Christian brothers and sisters around the world. The "church" is our Christian family. They are in our local churches, in our former churches, in other churches in our community -- and sometimes even online.
Sometimes we need a place to go when we have a prayer request that's dear to our hearts, who won't consider our requests or worries "silly." It helps just to know someone cares, understands and is lifting up our prayer requests. That's why God gave us our Christian family.
James 5:16 (NASB) Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much
Sometimes we need a safe place for us to go when we feel weak, and need accountability and strong Christians to lean on,as we struggle. That's why God gave us our Christian family.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NASB) Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
Sometimes we need people who truly care about our deep pain, and who care about what's going on in our lives. People who really want to hear an honest answer, when they ask "how are you?" That's why God gave us our Christian family.
Romans 12:15 (NASB) Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Reguarly, we need to study the Bible with other believers, so we can learn from each other and get fresh persepctives that we would miss on our own. That's why God gave us our Christian family.
Colossians 3:16 (NLT) Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
Maybe you go to a church or are in a group of Christian friends, with whom you are not free to share-where you will be judged if you let them know the real you. A place where you don't feel safe being vulnerable. A place that is the last place you would turn if you were in trouble. If so, this is not a real church, not the church as Jesus wants it.
If you are in a faith community that is not providing what the church should, go to your pastor and elders, or other leader, and see what can be done. Perhaps God even wants to use you to make a difference. If that leads to a "dead end," seek out another church, one which is truly a family of faith. God put us in Christian families, and if we are not actively involved in supportive Christian relationships, we are not fully fulfilling God's plan for us. Our Christian families need us as much as we need them.