I recently had an opportunity to be with a rich and varied community of believers who represented churches and faith communities from many different areas in the U.S. and abroad. I was struck, anew, by the beauty of that glorious creation of God: His church, the body of Christ. To belong to something so much larger and beyond myself is simultaneously awe inspiring, comforting, and provoking.
In Philippians 3:12, Paul says, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (NKJV) I am reminded, of course, that He “laid hold” of me for Himself, because He loves me. He also “laid hold” of me for a purpose: to be in His family, to be part of His church, part of something so much bigger than myself.
I press on, lean in, learn. Little by little, day by day, I am being transformed by obedience and intimate dependency on Christ, my Redeemer. As I press into Him, He enables me to press on, persevere, steadfastly committed to witnessing the power of His love for all people. I’m with Paul on this: “I’m not an expert.” Here’s the good news: a child, a member of the family, doesn’t have to be an expert in the matters of family in order to belong to the family.
The unity that is ours in Christ is as real as it is mysterious. We are unified because we belong to the same God, who is spirit and love. These invisible attributes are miraculously tangible in a community of believers who are learning how to live as those who are in the world but not of the world, those who know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. In Him only do we live and move and have our being.
There is a sweet joy in the fellowship of saints (believers). Because, as they live life in the world together they truly know what is the height, depth and breadth of the love of God that continually pursues His creation. He laid hold of us, so we could lay hold of Him and all that is His, namely all those He calls by name and welcomes into His glorious family.
Father in heaven, Your great love has pursued me. Here I am, Lord, I have let You lay hold of me. Teach me how to lay hold of You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Take some time this week to meditate on 1 John 1:1-7. Think about the connection between walking in the light of His love, having fellowship with one another and being cleansed of all sin. Make a list of the believers in your life who actually live life together with you. Write a prayer of gratitude for the reality of belonging that is yours in Christ Jesus.
Until next week, dear ones, lean in and press one. He is with you.