Have you ever heard the saying, "there's no "i" in team?" So it isn't about the individual, but the group as a whole. That is one way the culture teaches us to not worry about the recognition for the hard work we do as individuals, but to work hard as a team.
God calls us to work on His team. He calls it the church. Hmmm, I wonder which church He means?
St. Luke's Presbyterian
Centennial Bible Church (they get my vote...hee hee)
The answer is none of these, but rather, ALL of them!! God has a bigger picture. He calls us to be united as the entire CHURCH. His body of believers.
So while our individual sanctification is important, we need to focus on others and the body of Christ.
Think about the Lord's Prayer. It is how Jesus taught His disciples to pray - and the model for how we are to pray now.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
There is nothing about "me" in there. There aren't any singular pronouns. It is all about we and us. So even as we pray in solitude, we are a team. We are in this together. We are the body of Christ. We are here to support and encourage one another.
That is how we glorify God. The selfish world has to scratch it's head when it is faced with selfless sacrifice and unexplainable forgiveness in the name of Christ.
I am encouraging you (and myself) to get out there and be a team player. Support your church family members. Visit someone who might be lonely. Pray for those who are hurting. Take a meal to someone who might not have the blessing of a home-cooked meal. Send a card to your pastor and tell him thank you for all he does (he does a LOT ya know).
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
And the most important thing (in my humble opinion) you can do is to forgive. It is easy to harbor hurts, wallow in misery, indulge in self-pity. It is hard and nearly impossible to forgive, that is without the Lord's strength. But God commands us to forgive and to not let bitterness take root in our lives. Bitterness is the opposite of love. So as we love and forgive others, we will be building up the church - the body of Christ.
Think of it as exercise. If you are active (as you should be) and work to keep your physical body strong, you sweat, grunt, moan, and sometimes hurt from the work.
It is hard!
But it is good for your body. It will make you stronger.
In the same way, loving, forgiving, and bearing one another is work.
It is hard!
It will make you hurt and may even make you cry. But it is good for the body of Christ. It strengthens the church.
It glorifies Christ, the head of the church.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17