By Taylor White
(originally printed in the CRBC Women’s Blog)
It’s hard not to constantly think of ourselves. Or is that just me?
We live in a culture that worships selfies, is always looking for the next best self-help guru and often values the rights of self-expression and self-governance above all else. It seems that our Christian culture is becoming increasingly “me” focused. We want to listen to the podcasted sermons we choose—those we deem to be most interesting or relevant. We gravitate like flies toward books that will help us find our purpose, overcome our personal anxiety and help us reach our goals. And while this has a place in a believer’s life, could it possibly be that “self-help” isn’t really helping us at all? Does it even have the potential to compound our problems by causing us to turn our eyes more inward?
In contrast to our self-absorbed and thus increasingly isolated world, Scripture shows us that God has a unique plan for us to live in community. I am so thankful that He knows us personally and pursues us intimately, yet He often instructs and relates to us as a community—giving us responsibility not only for our own lives, but also for our fellow believers.
Ephesians 2 says we are “built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone...you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” He is using us, uniting us together as believers to build His Church, His dwelling place, through which His glory is being made known to the world! Each of us, then, should deeply desire to see the Church built up, even more than desiring for Him to build us up as an individual.
Do we desire our own glory or for God’s glory to be made known to the world through His Church?
If it's God’s glory we’re after, then each and every one of us should be an active part of edifying (building up) the Church. So how exactly do we edify?
1. Use Your Gifts
1 Corinthians 12 tells us that each gift of the Spirit is given to us for the common good. He gave us different gifts to work together as one complete body, and each part is an important part of the whole. The body needs you, just as God has created and gifted you. What might be holding you back from using your gifts?
2. Encourage Others
Hebrews 10:24 NLT says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” We must be intentional to encourage fellow believers—looking for ways to spur them on. Thank them for serving, share with them what godly characteristics and fruit you see in their lives. Affirm their gifts and encourage them to use them. Remind each other of God’s love, goodness and faithfulness.
3. Disciple and be Discipled
The book of Titus shows us how our church should function as a community of discipleship. Put yourself under the instruction of older men and women from whom you can learn. Be intentional in setting the example for and guiding the younger generation.
4. Handle Conflict Well
Living in true community means that conflict is inevitable. Colossians 3:12 tells us to first clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We’re also to speak truth in love. Refute false gospels. Refuse to receive or pass on gossip. Go straight to the source, bringing the truth to light. Don’t flatter. Give the benefit of the doubt. Forgive fully. “Make every effort to keep unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
5. Give Generously
God is the ultimate example of generosity. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all...” As we receive His generosity, we should be compelled to extend that generosity to others. When we trust that He alone is sufficient, we are free to give our money, time and talents to God and His Church, with open hands and hearts.
Let’s desire and pray to see God’s church “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).” What a beautiful thing!
Taylor is the wife of Council Road's Groups Pastor, Micah White, and mother to Navy and Foster. She works as a PA in Oklahoma City and is also passionate about serving and edifying the local Church. She most enjoys time with her family but can also be found reading, teaching, making music, hand-lettering and hosting gatherings. She loves a friendly debate and a good laugh.