Too many Churches nowadays have become what is called a Spiritual “Pipeline.” In other words, the staff/leadership delivers a product, and the membership/visitors receive said product. It’s not done on purpose, but is a reflection of the culture in which we live. We follow preachers and personalities, and (by and large), neglect scripture reading and following Jesus. We’re a product of consumerism, and so in the same manner, we’ve attempted to package up church, discipleship and Jesus in an easy to process package. That’s the problem though, nothing about following Jesus is easy. As we read the scriptures, we see that everyone who tried to live a life righteous before God had trouble doing so. And Why? Because this world is broken and in rebellion against God, and jealousies abound when God’s blessing or favor fall on someone. Broken people continue to do broken things, even to people who are in God’s favor, and at times, brokenness comes out of those who follow Jesus.
So what can we do? What is it that will help in this walk? How can we all be a part of the body, as opposed to following a few personalities? We surrender. We forfeit our rights and privileges to Jesus Christ. This doesn’t mean signing a contract at church between you and the Elders. It means that in the New Covenant of Christ, we’re all His subjects, and He is our King. We give our lives wholly to His will, and, thus use the gifts the Holy Spirit gives to us to give Him Glory, and to build up His Body. And we are that Body, each one of us a member with a unique purpose and function in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Every one of us has a purpose and a part, and if one of us suffers, so we all do. It is, then, our duty to use the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us to glorify God and build up the rest of the Body of Christ. Not everyone is gifted in teaching, but each has something the Lord has imparted on us that may be used by the Spirit to bring Christ’s life and light wherever we go.
We need to talk about this with one another. Church is not about sitting in a pew once a week. WE are the church. We are Christ’s Body, with Him at our head, and so in this world, we have Jesus and one another. We’re all we’ve got until we meet Jesus in Glory. We need to, then, use our gifts to build up, edify, rebuke and exhort, as the scriptures say. We need to use our gifts to strengthen the weaker believer, humble the prideful, feed the hungry, lift up the sick, the prisoner, and the downtrodden. Our gifts make us the hands and feet of Jesus, and bring hope and healing to a sick and dying world. Speak of them to one another. Use them FOR Jesus and one another, and, though persecutions, trials and tribulations will come as we walk closer to Christ, watch the fulfillment in Christ fill you to overflowing. Romans 12:1-21
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.