Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.
Many times, we as Americans read the Bible and interpret Christianity through the lens of our Western mindset. We approach Christianity with an attitude of individualism–it is about my needs, my purpose in life, my relationship with God.
But Christianity is not just about me; it is about us. In 1 Corinthians 12:27, Paul wrote, “You are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” Yes, we are individually related to God through faith in Jesus Christ, but the synergy that comes from Christians being united together is far greater than the sum of the individual parts. An eyeball or a hand by itself is absolutely useless; the life comes when those individual body parts are joined together. In the same way, a local community of believers joined together provides a more powerful witness for Jesus Christ than the lives of individual Christians out there in any community.
Let me illustrate that for you. A few years ago, we were designing our new worship center, and one of the line items in the budget was for emergency lighting–specifically, those little lights at the end of each pew. If we lose power, those lights remain on and help us find our way to safety. I was astounded by how much they cost. I thought, “Couldn’t one light at the end of row fifty do the trick?” But the city building code would not accommodate my cheapness. I was told, “One light is powerful, but think how much more powerful five hundred lights are.”
It is the same way in the body of Christ. Philippians 2:15 says Christians are “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.” Yes, one light–one life–can point people to Jesus Christ, but think about how much more five hundred or five thousand lights united together can do to point people to Christ. Together, we are a more powerful witness to the world. That is one of the benefits of church membership.
Chuck Colson once wrote that the function of a church is “to care for others out of obedience to Christ, to heal those who hurt, to take away fear, to restore community, to belong to one another, to proclaim the Good News while living it out. The church is the invisible made visible.” When you put it that way, being a member of a church is not just a responsibility but an indescribable privilege.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good-Grace Churches” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Charles W. Colson, “Loving God” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 197.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org