Community: How the Church Includes us
Please see my previous post on Christ Satisfies.
Growing up, I wasn't good at meeting people or making friends. My community was my extended family, they were mostly Christians. I really thought that was enough, that I needed nothing more. Eventually we moved to a bigger city to be with our parents. I moved there when I was twelve and so all those years until I graduated from high school, I began to learn people skills.
No doubt, I had a circle of friends. Yet no matter how close we were, I always hesitated to tell them the inward troubles that I had concerning my Christian walk with the Lord, my family issues, and so on. Most people thought I was friendly but very reserved.
Until one day, our family was hit by a major crisis. Everything seemed to be okay outwardly but inside, I felt quite devastated. The problem was I could not find a single person to go to. At that time, I didn't want to talk to my family about the matter lest I'd cause more troubles in their hearts.
It was shocking considering I already had family and friends but I told the Lord that I would like to go home. I distinctly remember walking around the neighborhood, asking Him: who am I, where do I belong?
Around the corner, I saw my mom standing in front of the house so I asked her, "Who am I?" I know it probably sounds quite dramatic or rather absurd to you, but I really did ask the question to my mom.
Her answer was "you are a child of God."
If that answer was spoken in another context, maybe I'd say, that was random. However, I truly believe her answer was the Lord's answer to my questioning because those words immediately scattered away my confusion. There was a response within me, a ringing of absolute trueness in my being that indeed I am a child of God and I belong to His household.
You know what's so striking about this experience of mine?
1 Timothy 3:15 says,
"But if I delay, I write that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and base of the truth."
What's so striking is how this experience shows that the Church, which is the household of God, does not include us by virtue of our signing up to be a member of a church or a church community. The church includes us because when we received Christ into our being, we were begotten of God to be a child of God (see John 1:12-13). According to 1 Timothy 3:15, we are included in the Church because we are part of the household of God.
I then realize that yes, the Church includes us and it is our community because we share the same Christian values, and yet there's more! The Church is practically our family because we all have the same life, the same Father. One thing for sure, the Church is not that brick-building down the street, but this aspect of being the household of God is just one of the many functions of the Church.
Do you have any experience on how the Church includes us in other aspects or functions?
I don't have a response to your question but I definitely enjoyed reading about your experience. In high school I wandered around asking the same question, "who am I and where do I belong?" I found out when I came to college that I am a child of God and I belong in the Church!ReplyDelete
It is so satisfying to know where we belong. I liked how you said we aren't in the church because we signed up or we chose it but because we have Christ living in us. That's marvelous.
Wow, I wonder if this kind of questions have been asked by many others. I really believe that the Lord is arranging everything to lead us to be saved.Delete
You know not just be saved eternally, but be saved in our going on as Christians still living on this earth. Saved from our worldliness, our temper, our passivity, and so forth.
God exalted Christ as Leader and Savior so that we may have a turn of heart, a repentance, a change of mind, from everything else unto Him. So that He may forgive us of our sins (Acts 5:31).
In my experience, the church is different than any other communities because it is something spiritual. The church does not only meet my human needs but also my deepest needs. It all goes back to Christ Himself, how we are related in Him, by the divine life.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the response, Dana. I appreciate your response of how the Church becomes more than a mere social circle. It's so true that we can never separate the Church from Christ Himself. The only relationship we have in the Church is that of Christ and in Christ.Delete
My experience in meeting with the Catholic church was just like signing up to be a part of brick-building. The people there were already in their tiny groups and when me and my family came we were just persons in the crowd. It is not until I actually began to have a close relationship with the Lord that I began to realize that we are already part of church which is the church of the living God! It was not until that time that I actually felt and experienced being a child of God. What a feeling I must say!ReplyDelete
I'm very touched by the sharing of your personal experience. You cause me to realize further that the Church is by far more than just a community.
I mean even if we are part of a church people community, the reality of living IN and AS the household of God depends upon our personal relationship with Christ.
Thank you for sharing a finer experience being in the Church, Jenni.
I grew up with the same group of very close friends since childhood. We shared everything with each other. But it wasn't until I received the Lord in high school that I felt like there was anything lasting to our relationship. Sure we had many shared experiences, but sharing the Father's life far surpasses any other bond.ReplyDelete
I'm glad that this experience is real, Caitlin. We do need an "eternal bond." And I think we all know, Christ is the only One who's eternal and satisfying.Delete
Hey you still look the same! :PReplyDelete
:) Thanks! I take that as a compliment, Rebs.Delete
This was so touching! I remember being asked that question or even asking myself that question and I had no idea what to answer. Some people say that as you grow older you realize who you really are...what you like..what you don't like..etc. Well, most of the time the people you spend time with are a strong influence to this. By the Lord's mercy I've met believers in Christ and have pursued the Lord with them while in college. I've realized and have been reminded daily that I am a child of God before anything else. There's a Person living inside of us! We are not only growing in Him but we are being built up together in Him. What a blessing it is to be a member of the Body :)ReplyDelete
Amen, what a blessing to be a child of God, part of His household and member of the Body.Delete
This is our true identity, isn't it?
I too had this question! I remember when I was with friends and we would do things together for fun that we all had in common, yet I remember still having the thought that I was not fulfilled still. It was not until I realized that my only fulfillment was Christ & the Church was I truly satisfied! Hallelujah! - ViriReplyDelete
Amen. May the Lord capture so many more wandering and seeking ones, so that they would find the true solution to their questions: Christ and His church.Delete