In an earlier entry, we talked about the importance of family. This extends further than just our blood relations or our close friends. Human beings are built for relationship. The way we interact with God, Jesus, the people around us, and even ourselves has a defining effect on our destiny. If we are out of balance in any relationship in our lives, it tends to have a ripple effect on other areas as well. We should always be in a proactive assessment state with our relationships to ensure that we are in a healthy, balanced, active state. When we prioritize relationships and their importance, it better equips us to fulfill our calling in the Body of Christ.
Family is a concept we were created for, and it’s actualized in practice in the Body of Christ.
Not all Christians always feel that close connection within the Body. Like any family, there have been schisms, division, disagreements—the awkwardest of awkward “holiday dinners” with enough hate and insults flung to scare off any newcomer and even convince some of the siblings to remove themselves from the family.
But when it’s walked out in the healthy way portrayed for us through the epistles, like in Ephesians where we’re told about the “unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”, the Body of Christ provides safety, shelter, support, love, community, connection, and a sense of purpose—the core of relationship and family.
Maybe you’ve been holding the Body of Christ at arm’s length, burned by one too many arguments at the family table. Maybe you’ve felt you can do it better just you and God on your own, that you don’t need relationship or family. But we are called into more than just a commission to God; we are called to be in relationship with each other, conducting ourselves in the manner of Christ, walking in love and building one another up, urging each other to greater and greater works and a deep understanding of our purpose in God’s purpose.
If you’ve walked away, I invite you to pray for and seek a holistic, healthy Christian community to invest your heart in. With all my heart, I ask you to return, to be with your brothers and sisters, to seek the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
I invite you to come home.
What is Our Relationship with The Body of Christ?
The Body of Christ is our family. Christians of every denomination are our brothers and sisters. We were each adopted into this family when we accepted Christ as our Lord. In Galatians 6:10, Christians are instructed to be “especially good to the household of faith,” and to do things particularly for “one another”—like bear one another’s burdens, be subject to one another, be devoted to one another, speak truth to one another, and love one another. We are also tasked with maintaining the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
We are fellow-laborers and fellow-ambassadors spreading the Gospel message and reaping the harvest of that work, and we strive in tandem with one another under Christ, who is the Head directing members of his Body. Each of us is called to a different role, or “function,” within the Body, and we’re called to encourage, uplift, and help one another fulfill those roles.
What Does the Bible Say About Our Relationship with The Body of Christ?
Ephesians 4:2-3 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.
Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider one another, to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but exhorting one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Ephesians 9:19-21 – So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow-citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together by means of the spirit into a dwelling place of God.
How Can I Become Closer to the Body of Christ?
While the reality of our place in the Body of Christ is constant, we may still feel adrift or alone at times, particularly if we have no church or fellowship to attend. While having those opportunities certainly helps us feel closer to the Body, it’s more our actions when we’re present with one another that fosters a sense of community.
A few ways we can become closer with our fellow Christians in any setting are:
Speak Well of One Another: As members of Christ’s Body, we do a disservice to the whole Body when we speak poorly about each other. We are all told that, having learned Christ, we should not let defaming speech come from our mouths. This is in regards to everyone, but particularly to fellow Christians. We may have arguments with certain denominations or the practices within them, but the loving and Christlike thing to do is not to go around slandering them to anyone who’ll listen! It’s to confront the problem where it arises. When we tell everyone but the person we have an issue with about that issue, we tear down the Body of Christ rather than healing it or bringing about necessary change.
Speak the Truth In Love: When we do confront our fellow Christians, it needs to be from a place of love. Our words must be full of grace, seasoned with salt—which means they’re pure and intended to encourage change or reformation as needed, not to just to air our grievances and get them off our chest. When we speak to our brothers and sisters in Christ with the truths we know, but without the love of Jesus, then Jesus himself tells us we are ineffective. We strengthen the bonds within this Body when we speak in love.
Seek Unity: We will never have unity in the sense that we will find other Christians with whom we share 100% of the same values and beliefs and that will make life perfect. What we have and what we are told to maintain is not unity in doctrine, but unity in the spirit. That means recognizing we are all saved by the same Jesus, who is our peace, and we all have the same holy spirit, which is our common ground. That’s what unifies us. Rather than arguing with our fellow Jesus-followers, we should be doing everything in our power to maintain unity. Jesus tells us people will know we follow him by the love we have for one another; we need to live and walk out the unity of the spirit in a way that makes the Gospel message and the family of God attractive, not repulsive, to others.
Live With Agape Love: This is the kind of selfless and other-centered love God holds toward us. Agape love equips us to do what is necessary for the wellbeing of others. While we are also told to have brotherly and familial love toward the Body of Christ, these are “feeling” loves; at the same time, we should be loving toward those in the Body of Christ with whom we do not “feel” kinship. That is the agape, the “doing” love.
What is a “one another” action you can do for a brother or sister in Christ this week? Go out and boldly accomplish it!