May 24: “The Church, a Place Where We Were Meant to Thrive”

5 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

2 Samuel 4:1–6:23
John 13:31–14:14
Psalm 119:17-32
Proverbs 15:31-32

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

John 13:34-35 (CSB): “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Can I let you in on a little secret?

Good!

As a pastor, it has been my observation that far too many people show up to their place of worship, smile, shake hands, engage in trivial banter, and eventually go home … empty.

I’ve seen it time and time again. They had previously come to my office and bore their heart. Sometimes, they wept.

  • Maybe they were filled with anxiety over losing their job and their inability to pay their bills.
  • Maybe they were filled with grief over a recent round of bad news from doctors about a loved one.
  • Maybe they were filled with guilt over their inability to get the victory over a sin that so easily ensnared them (Hebrews 12:1).

But, then they showed up to worship with their church family and they left feeling worse than when they showed up. They realized that they were carrying a huge weight but that no one else knew about it. In fact, they may have been afraid to share their deep-seated problems with their church family.

  • They were afraid that others wouldn’t care.
  • They were afraid that others would judge them.
  • They were afraid that others would marginalize them.
  • They were afraid that others would reject them.

So, they suffered in secret. They showed up to the place where the ultimate healing should take place … but they left sad, disheartened, and empty.

How do we fix this? How can the church be the “hospital” where hurting people are healed?

The answer is found in the verses I have chosen as Today’s Bible Verses.

John 13:34-35 (CSB): “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus didn’t simply encourage us to love others. He commanded us to love other believers!

And He set the bar high. He told us to love each other just like He loves us (remember, He loved us so much that He went to the cross to pay our sin debt).

Further, He said that our love for each other would demonstrate that we really are Jesus-followers – because we love each other like He loves us.

What might it be like if our churches were saturated by this kind of love?

What would it be like if our churches were places where people were growing in their knowledge and application of God’s Word but also were growing in their reception and administration of grace? So, they spoke the truth to each other but they also lavished grace upon each other as well.

What if people who were struggling with sin could be honest with other believers who would acknowledge the seriousness of the sin but would also administer grace, patience, and a commitment to help them overcome the sin?

What if people who were struggling with anxiety could be honest and open with those in their church family of friends who would rally around them to provide the security and whatever is necessary to help them through that trial?

What if our churches were filled with people who genuinely loved each other like Jesus loves us? In that context, it would be easy to imagine that people would feel much more able to be open and honest about what’s going on in their heart so that they could be helped and supported by their family of friends.

Friends, our churches need to be safe places. They need to be places where we speak the truth of God’s Word and lavish the healing grace of Jesus upon each other. We need to take sin seriously but we need to take grace just as seriously.

Romans 5:20-21 (CSB): “The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I suspect that human flourishing would be experienced by so many who were a part of a church like that.

Commit to being the kind of church that loves the truth and loves each other. Don’t let people suffer in silence. Be a safe place where honesty and healing can take place.

If you do, you won’t be able to keep people away. People are longing for a place like that!

Posted by

I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

3 thoughts on “May 24: “The Church, a Place Where We Were Meant to Thrive”

  1. I so love this post Matt. I can totally relate in a very personal way. We need community in the church. We need openness and accountability. I was one who suffered in quietness years ago. A facade as big as the sun. When I prayed for God’s healing, openness came with that. I no longer was the perfect church member, I was flawed like each of us. Releasing and forgiveness is real freedom and I could only accomplish this with God’s Grace. Thank you for the post. I hope in the future our church can have community groups.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have always strived to show my love to others, not just my church but all people. I am sure I have left off a few. I try hard not to let my own frustrations impact my true love for The Lord and others! Without God in my life I could not handle most of what I have been dealing with. This week, I unloaded 50 bags of mulch & spread them also. I have mowed, trimmed and done things I thought I was not even capable of doing as a short weak kneed 74 year old. I believe God held me up with His strong right hand! Amen!
    Yezerski had to give me a shot in the knee, then Steve Compton had to do it again a few weeks later, since I can’t have the second knee replacement right now while my husband is recovering from 5 heart by-pass surgery. Planned for August 1st. I’ve still got lots of man jobs to do…. like garbage haul off and bush-hogging. A couple people have said let me know if we can do anything, but I just can’t ask! Jay’s temperament is on edge being cooped up so much, and I am taking some hateful words that I know he wouldn’t say in ordinary circumstances! Being coupled up not able to drive or work or even eat certain thing has taken its toll on him and me. I know these things are nothing compared to what others are dealing with, like cancer and death, but we are getting old and everything is challenging! I still visited some sick this week and called a few to check on them. We can’t disregard our duties to love and care for others just because we have a burden ourself. I pray for our Church, that our love for each other grows and that we just don’t say “let me know if I can do anything”, but show up at their door and do something!
    Actions speak louder than words! I love you and your family! May God Bless you always! Love your blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

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