Outside of my love for my Lord and my family, I have no greater love on earth than Body of Christ. And with each passing year, I come to appreciate evermore, the pure genius of God in establishing His Church as well as the growing realization of just how desperately I need Body of Christ for my ongoing spiritual growth.
During my forty-five years of pastoral ministry, I have been saved from myself and the church has been saved from me, by a timely and needed exhortation from a brother or sister in Christ. Someone who speaks into my life when they see an inconsistency between my profession and my actions. Let me explain with the following example.
When I was growing up, the women in my home, my mother, and my sisters, wore slips under their dresses and skirts. Because they could not see whether or not their slip was showing, they would often come into the living room, make a pirouette, and ask, “Is my slip showing?” If it was, they made the necessary adjustments to the shoulder straps and were on their way.
The fact of the matter is, we all have blind spots in our spiritual lives. We have a hard time discerning when our “spiritual slip” is showing. That is why we need brothers and sisters in Christ, who can see those inconsistencies and lovingly speak into our lives when our slip is showing.
Sadly, many professing Christians see no need for the Body of Christ in their lives and are like those mentioned in Hebrews 10, who forsake the assembling of themselves together with the Body of Christ.
Over the years of my career as a pastor, the writings of Eugene Peterson have served to mentor me along the way. He too had a great love for the Body of Christ and recognized its value in regard to our ongoing maturation as believers. The following is a quote that I always shared with our church’s new members classes.
“In worship, the community of God’s people assemble to hear God’s Word spoken in scripture, sermon, and sacrament. The faith that is created by the proclaimed word develops responses of praise, obedience, and commitment. At no time has there ever been a biblical faith apart from such common worship. By persisting in the frequent, corporate worship in which God’s Word is central, God’s people are prevented from making up a religion out of their own private ideas about God. They are also prevented from making a private individualized salvation out of what they experience, by separating themselves from brothers and sisters with whom God has made it clear His saving love is to be shared, both in receiving and giving.”
Fellow believer, if we are to grow into Christlikeness as is the will of God for each one of us, the fellowship of other believers is one of the main shaping tools that God uses to complete that work. We separate ourselves from the Body of Christ at our own peril. Proverbs 18:1 says, “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom.”
I’m so glad that I’m a part of the family of God.