Saturday, January 28, 2012

Starting 2012 Right Pt. 2


Starting 2012 Right Pt. 2

Continuing our study.


Next:

We Focus on Building Relationships
 
None of us can survive in this world alone. We were not created to live in isolation. There are no spiritual superheroes who can live isolated and insulated lives. There is no such thing as an army of one. We all know that the loner who needs no one else and saves the world single-handedly, is the stuff of movies only. To think that you do not need other Christians supporting and helping you is mere fantasy. To think you can survive emotionally separated from family and friends is a destructive illusion. The Bible says, “For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone” (Romans 14:7). The reality is that we need each other, and because we need each other, we need to build relationships. This is what the church is all about. The church is not so much an organization as it is an organism. Church is not a place, it is people. When we are together, God meets with us.

The Bible knows nothing of Christians apart from the body of Christ. Imagine a hand or an eye trying to exist alone apart from the body! It is ludicrous. It does not matter how important the part is, it cannot exist away from the body for which it was designed to be a part. But not only do you need the body, the body needs you. What happens to the body when it is robbed of the eyes? What happens when an arm is lost? The whole body suffers. The body of Christ needs you. You offer something that no other part of the body can offer in just the same way. By thinking you have nothing to contribute; you rob the body of something very important. 
See 1 Corinthians 12:13-27.

This leads to the third area on which we need to focus:

We Focus on a Life of Service

One of the great tragedies of the world is people who live only for themselves. Their whole world centers on them. Everything is measured on how it affects them. The only effort they put forth is on things which will benefit them. Their focus is on getting instead of giving. They want to be served rather than serve. But the mark of true disciples of Jesus Christ is people who want God to use their lives. They want to serve God by serving others. They have an outward focus rather than an inward focus. They want to express God’s love to the world around them, and have their lives make a difference.

When you allow God to build up your personal life, the whole body of Christ is built up. When you are working to build relationships, other Christians benefit. When you decide to let God use your life in service, the whole world profits. God’s plan is that we all use our special gifts for his kingdom. Our lives can mean something if we choose to live for something besides ourselves. There is a place for all of us, for the Scriptures says, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-14).

Is your life being prepared for works of service? If not, you are missing God’s purpose for you as outlined in this scripture. You are missing God’s will and God’s blessing. J. H. Newman says, “God has created me, to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission — I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. I shall do good, I shall do His work. Therefore, I will trust him, whatever, wherever I am. I cannot be thrown away.” 


You have a part to play in God’s plan for the world. Don’t miss out on it.

Here are some questions that if answered, will help guarantee spiritual growth for you in the new year. 



QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY AND MEDITATION (January 2012)

1. Read Ephesians 4:10-16. Why did God give his people gifts?

2. What do these verses say about the purpose of our lives?

3. What does Paul mean when he talks about “maturity” in verse 13? Why is this necessary in the church?

4. What are some ways that I need to develop my personal life? What are some specific ways I plan to do this?

5. What happens in the body of Christ when an individual fails to grow?

6. Why is it important to develop relationships? How does this build the church?

7. Can a person be a Christian without relationships with other Christians?

8. What are the “works of service” that Paul is referring to in Ephesians 4:12?

9. What is the purpose or purposes of these works of service? How do these build up the     body of Christ?

10. Why is it a tragedy when a person, consciously or unconsciously, decides to live only for themselves?

11. How will my life be different this year? 


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