Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coffee Talk: Community VS. Isolation

As I write this week's coffee talk, I am literally floating in a bathtub full of ice cold coffee.
Awkward pause.
No I'm not. I am in a Starbucks by the mall, watching it slowly wintry mix outside as I wait until it is time to go teach violin lessons for 5 straight hours without stopping. (sobs)

This week I have been thinking a lot about what it means to have community in Christ and how we are truly missing out if we find ourselves alone. You have heard it said that no man is an island, and this is especially true if we are believers in Christ. There are many metaphors used in the Bible, but one of the most prominent in regards to the church is the Body.

"Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." -Ephesians 4:15-16

And then of course the classic: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

This idea of being joined together in everything we do with Christ as the head is not only practical and encouraging, it is Biblical. It pains me to see relationships weaken more and more with the rise of social networking. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong in themselves with Facebook and Twitter. We just need to be careful as a church to not forget about the people behind those pages.

A personal struggle I have had for the last 5 years (college and post college) has been loneliness. It is so easy to become separated from the body when we get busy, and in that we suffer. With Christ as our head we grow TOGETHER, building each other up in love as we each do our part. Read the Ephesians passage again.
What does it mean to grow together, building each other up in love? Let us define scripture with scripture.

"There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." - 1 Corinthians 12:25-27

I'd like to focus in on the phrase where it says "each part should have equal concern for each other." And this doesn't work if only one person does it. No matter what kind of person you are- what kind of mannerisms, personality, love language- that you have, we ALL need to be encouraged in the LORD. If someone is having a bad day, go out of your way to show them some love! It doesn't have to be much, just reaffirm that you see them as a fellow member of the Body of Christ and that you love them. If someone is having a good day, go out of your way to rejoice and praise God with them! Show them that you see them as a fellow member of the Body of Christ and that you love them!

I Corinthians 12:27 says "You are the body of Christ, and EACH ONE OF YOU is a part of it." If we are a part of Christ and He resides within us, then if we are isolated from the body, then we are isolated in a sense from Jesus himself. Jesus says that whatever we have done to the least of these, we have done to him. We often forget that He is with us, and we forget (or ignore) that the church is His body! People of God, we need to wake up and start loving one another the way He loved us! If we continue to neglect each other, then we are going to wither and fall! It is through this accountability and family relationship with Christ as the head that the church thrives. 

This relationship is also the way that non-believers in Jesus will see Him. I John 4:7-12 (and the rest of this awesome book!) says this- 

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."

The last verse says it all my brothers and sisters. Our love should simply be an overflow of God's love. We don't love the crummy sinner, we love the Christ within. No one has ever seen God, but if the Christ in me loves the Christ in you regardless of what I've done or what you have done, then perhaps the world will see that Crazy Love that Jesus has shown us. "God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." Wow.

I hope this post has encouraged you. I love all of you and hope that our relationship in the Body of Christ is strengthened. I hope to be able to serve you more and unconditionally love you with the love of Jesus and I hope you do the same to all those around you.

In Christ,
The REAL Bowman

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