How To Live for the Plan of God!
If you are not in fellowship with the people of God, then your place in the body of Christ will not be real or important to you. Because you are not doing your part in a church family, you cannot see or understand your contribution to the body of Christ at large. You may not realize it, but not participating in a church causes you to live for yourself and not for the plan of God. Why? Jesus died for the Church! He is building the Church right now. If you aren’t in church, you aren’t in the place He has for you; and if you aren’t in your place you cannot do your part.
Believers who go to church only when they feel like it really don’t get the big picture. I’ve seen it happen many times — they gradually stop giving of their time, their gifts, and their finances. Bible study and prayer times are few and far between. Eventually, they quit going to church at all, and without the influence of a pastor and church family, they may even stop believing altogether. And if you’ll remember, unbelief is what kept the older generation of the children of Israel out of the Promised Land (Hebrews 3:19). Separated from the body of Christ, their commitment to Jesus and His church hangs by a thread — it’s a dangerous place to be.
I heard on the news one day that the reason so many military service men and women re-enlist today is because they are trained and deployed as units, they do not want to be separated. This is in contrast to the Vietnam War, when service people were deployed as individuals instead of units, and there were fewer re-enlistments. Back then young men were drafted; today we have a volunteer military and more re-enlistments. I believe it is because military personnel understand the importance of being a member of a group. Each soldier is trained for and assigned individual tasks, but they function together to reach a common goal: defeating the enemy.
When I heard that report I thought, “That’s what happens when you understand you are a member of the body of Christ. You don’t go AWOL because you’re not going into battle alone — you’re going as a unit.” Someone once said that the Church is not a cruise ship; it’s a battleship. It’s where you grow deeply anchored in God’s Word and everyone does their part because all their lives depend on it. That kind of commitment makes it an honor to lay your life down for your brothers and sisters.
The way you view God’s people reveals the way you view God. God loves His people and He wants you to love them, too. He created you to be a part of a family and a member of a body. Those are both very intimate relationships, and those relationships happen to be the key to your understanding who you are and where you fit into God’s strategic plan for today: the Church.