Community is a vital aspect of the Christian life. It was Kierkegaard who elegantly noted that man must realize their solitary future day of judgment with God – on that day, man stands alone with his heart revealed. How true this is, yet we must not break this to its extreme and distance ourselves from the church. The beauty of Christ’s bride is at stake, and it is a glorious thing for one to lose. To clearly speak, Jesus did not save isolated worshipers; He saved His church – a unit and body (Jn. 10:15,11:51-52; Eph. 5:25-27; Col. 1:24).
I find myself entranced by personal discipleship and the establishment of spiritual habits. This is good, but must rest in its place. For one to be consumed with the ministry of his own soul is certainly beneficial, but must be completed in the edification of the body as a whole. Get poured into as to equip yourself to pour into another.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Pause here and beware, for it is easy to study only for the sake of having something to say to others. Remember that the intention of study is not topical disputation or christian-status elevation, rather practical obedience and heart-felt worship. Here is the propulsion to edify the church – through one’s worship.
Moreover, God has equipped his called with spiritual gifts. To what end does one think God has purposed such a blessing? – Alongside the worship of God, they are to be utilized for the encouragement and establishment of His bride! (Eph. 4:16; 1 Cor. 12:7) To stand idly by enthralled with Christian consumerism and spectatorism is to mock God and reject His gifts. Another avenue is the misuse of gifts, whereby one performs according to their placement rather than equipped calling. A good friend of mine once said that a need does not constitute a calling; excel where you are equipped. One of the greatest treasures of the church is that it is a balanced group of imbalanced people: diverse unification (Eph. 2:21, 4:16; Rom. 12:4-6; 1 Cor. 12:1-31; Rev. 5:9). Embrace what God has burdened in your heart. Pursue your holy passions. If it is of the Spirit, you can not be led astray.
We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Practically, get involved with the body of Christ whether you see a need or not. Move on your giftings and burdens, not your shallow observances. I am mostly speaking to myself in response to a great sermon I heard last week at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, VA. My biggest hindrance was not my desire to do ministry, but my self-dismissal by surroundings. I did not see a need for my gifts. What a grave folly to myself and the church. Mobilize church! Ignite God’s work in your life with His grace and abilities (Ps. 127:1).