Here’s what we’ve been talking about: we can come to God’s family with a lack of commitment and a sense of judgement. Then we wonder why church doesn’t feel like a community.
But stop and think about it. It doesn’t matter what community we’re part of – a family, a football club, a workplace – there are always going to be some negatives. There are always going to be some people there who we don’t naturally get on with, and still others who drive us nuts! Yet in the middle of that reality, God’s plan is for you and me to flourish in His house – His church.
So now that we’ve identified the problems, it’s time to start thinking about the solutions. It’s all well and good to talk about trees, roots, pots and all the rest, but exactly how do we connect as part of God’s family and genuinely flourish together?
First, we need to recognise that we each bring gifts and weaknesses to the table. And mine are different to yours! If we can only open ourselves to the Holy Spirit to work out His love in us, what a wonderful place church will be.
Second, we need to use our gifts to reach out to each other. We can over-spiritualise this idea sometimes, but there are so many little things we can do to exercise our gifts in church, which help us put down roots and share the goodness of God in our lives with other people.
It’s the little things – the phone calls, the words of encouragement, the prayers. If you believe that God has planted you in this church family, will you also believe that He will lead you to people for whom He has custom-made your fruit?
Third, we need to be committed in order to flourish. We need to have the courage to stop judging, in order to set ourselves free from the weaknesses of other people. We need to share practical acts of love according to the gifts, abilities and desires that God has given us.
No, it won’t always be convenient, and we’ll most likely get hurt along the way. But will you be part of this community, this fellowship…for His sake?
Will you go to the house of the Lord, put your roots down, and flourish where God has planted you?
I invite you to join me in this prayer:
Father God, it’s such a blessing to know that You know the deepest parts of our hearts. You know the hurts. You know the fears. You know the things that drive us nuts and You know the struggles we have with church.
Father, I pray right now that You would pour out the healing balm of Your Spirit upon us. I pray that You would still our hearts and heal our souls, and I pray that You would speak to us through Your Word and guide us into the place where You would have us be. For some, perhaps for most, that’s about flourishing right where we are. And maybe for others, it’s time to find a new fellowship, the place where You would have us be. Show us your will, Father. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.