Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Showing Concern for the Body of Christ

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of:  Melissa Askew

 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others."

~Philippians 2:3-4

We are taught throughout Scripture about the reality of our call to initiate friendship and community. We are told that we must serve others, love them, visit them, and bid them welcome. There is nothing said in Scripture, however, about the virtue of sitting around and waiting for other people to do those things for us. No, if we want to have friends and keep them, if we want to grow community and cultivate it, then we are actually going to have to be the ones to do the initiating.

The deeper reality here is that we have been specifically called and equipped by God to initiate and pursue friendship with others. This is part of our role as ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). As we see throughout the Word, God Himself is the initiator of His friendship with us. God created man and woman in order to have fellowship with them. Even after the fall when sin entered, and God'perfect design was tarnished, the Lord still relentlessly pursued mankind. He made covenants with them, they broke those covenants, and He went after them yet again. 

The Old Testament is replete with examples of God continuously pursuing His people and initiating a relationship with them again and again and again. Fast forward to the New Testament, and we see Jesus doing the exact same thing. The twelve men who would be among His closest disciples and friends were men that Jesus walked up to and welcomed to follow Him. It wasn't the other way around. Jesus pursued them and initiated a close, three-year-long fellowship with them. And we as image bearers of God and ambassadors of Christ are to do the same.

We see a glimpse of this in Paul's words in Philippians 2:3-4. It goes directly against both our God-given call, as well as our new nature in Christ, to sit around and expect others to come to and initiate friendship with us. It is, however, completely in line with our calling for us to view ourselves as those who have been tasked by God to be initiators of friendship and then go out there and live that out. 

It may seem overwhelming at first, it may not come naturally. But by God's grace, it is something we can and should do. 

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