Wednesday, June 04, 2008


As I'm preparing to speak on June 22nd, as part of a joint service between The Mission and Soul Survivor, I've been doing a little study lately on the Church.

Just the other day I discovered something about the Church, and our identity in Christ, that I'd never seen before. This week's [Subversive Underground] article will explore this yet-to-be-revealed insight more completely, but until then I wanted to share something else about the Church that inspires me.

It is not God's plan for us to be alone. He has designed His Church to operate as a Family, and as a Body, where each part depends upon the others. (see 1 Cor 12)

Whenever Satan wants to attack one of us, he always starts by isolating us from the rest of the Body of Christ. Because Satan knows that if he can separate us from the Body, he can cut off our source of strength, encouragment, love, and the rest of those God designed us to be in fellowship with.

It's very true: United we stand. Divided we fall.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." - Hebrews 10:25

God has purposely designed His Church to be interdependent and connected at the molecular level. We've each been given different gifts for the purpose of helping one another to grow to maturity in Christ. Each of us has a spiritual gift (yes, even you) and it only works when we use it for the benefit of others within the Body.

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." - Romans 12: 4-5

Look at that. It says we belong to one another. We need each other. We cannot survive alone.

I've counseled several people over the years who get wounded by someone in the Body, or fall into a pattern of sin, or give in to depression, and feel that they must retreat from the Body in order to heal or to think or to "take a break" from Church.

Whenever we do this we are allowing ourselves to play into Satan's hand. Our Enemy knows that if he can isolate us from the rest of the Body (which was designed by God to strengthen us and build us up in our faith), he has already won the battle.

We need one another. We were desgined by God to love and to help and to serve and strengthen one another. If we remove ourselves from fellowship I have to ask, "Whose will is being done?" Certainly not God's will.

If you find yourself in a place where you're drawing away from the rest of the Body of Christ, you need to remember that you belong to Jesus and it's time to return to fellowship in obedience to His Love for you.

Sometimes people in the Body of Christ will hop around from place to place and church to church, visiting here one week and there the next week. By doing this they avoid accountability and embrace anonymity which is just as dangerous as staying home completely.

Again, God designed the Body to be relational. If we refuse to allow others to know us, if we avoid intimacy in the Body of Christ, we are denying our own spiritual DNA as members of God's Family. When we embrace anonymity we are opening the door for the Enemy to draw us away from God and His people.

God designed His Church, that's you and me, to operate best when we are sharing openly and loving one another intimately. We can't do that if no one knows us - our pain, our doubts, our hopes, our fears, our dreams, our joys, our sadness, our tears.

I understand that some have tried this and they've been severely abused by some within the Body who were not trustworthy or loving. Sadly, we are a broken people and some of us are still manipulative, angry, bitter, frustrated and selfish. Don't allow those people to make you like them. If you have to find another group to fellowship with, feel free to seek out people who will really love you as Christ intended. Don't give up. There really are people, just like you, who long to be known and to know and love others within the Body of Christ. Seek them out. Find them. Love them. Committ to them. Learn to "Be the Church" with them, and discover what it means to be part of the Family of God.

Lots more on this subject to come...


1 comment:

Julie said...

Thanks Keith

I have felt God calling me recently to get back involved with a local church. Obviously as I have been so very badly treated and abused I'm scared. Scared of what I will do if the Pastor dissuades me from reaching out to the poor, scared if again I'm not included or valued, feeling vulnerable as a single mother with no husband to protect me.
God didn't protect me from the abuse before....will he this time?!

But nevertheless unfortunately the call remains. Can I ask you and your fellowship to pray for me as I return. I really do want fellowship, but I really do not want abuse or to be told I can't 'do' anything and function in the gifts God has given me because I don't have the right credentials. It's nerve wracking for me.

In Him