“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I Thessalonians 5:14-18 NKJV
I am a little nervous this morning, as I ready myself to return to church for the first time in more than four months. The body of Christ can be a wonderful, calming place for the Christian, as we meet others in fellowship, rejoicing in the common bonds. Sadly, it can also be a place of testing as people from different stages of spiritual development come together.
Some come with eyes squarely focused on the Lord, others come with agendas, having nothing to do with the worship of Jesus Christ and the preaching of the Word.
Still others come with eyes and hearts focused on matters in their lives, distracted from the things of God. With the convergence of so many people, with so many concerns, there can be unruliness, or disorder in the pews.
It’s funny how the Lord always seems to give me the right Scripture passage at just the right time. I have been alone for so long, that I have not had to contend with anyone. But today I will. As a member and a leader in the congregation, I am charged with being one of those who must address the unruly, comfort the fainthearted, and uphold the weak. I have to admit it, but I will have some of those characteristics today.
It is crucial to address those who bring tension into the church, as they create a distraction away from the presentation of the Word of God, which is the priority, as one must have a laser beam focus on it.
I am reminded daily of the fact that God holds us accountable for what we bring to the local church.
He has provided those in authority gifts to assist in ministering to the body.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”
Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV
All gifts are appropriately applied to build up the saints. In all of this, the priority is love, as it is the tie that binds. I will be praying much this morning, as become reacquainted with my spiritual family. There will be those moments when I am reminded of the things I love about some, and things I don’t like about others.
I will approach all with grace.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:30-32 NKJV
Through my morning, I will be praying for the Lord to work in my life, and through my life, as I bring my gifts to the body.
Brothers and sisters, make the most of the fellowship that we are able to have today, as there may come a time when such opportunities are rare.
Endeavor to love like Jesus does, as we build each other up by the power of the Holy Spirit. May we love and also hold each other accountable with gentleness, as the road is long and treacherous as we move through this sinful world.