There is no greater institution that God could have created than the family. Because, in a true family, people not only live life together, they “learn” to love each other, as my mother used to say, warts and all. In other words, a true family is made up of people who see their frailties and insecurities and whatever else may be part of their personalities and weaknesses, as well as strengths, and are honest with themselves and others, so that those areas can be benefit the whole group. Every person has his or her unique areas that are designed for the glorious benefit of every member.
Unfortunately, the flesh or sinfulness of man often gets in the way. So, instead of working together and learning to function as a part of the whole group, or family, people push the group aside and live life on their own, believing it is better to not be around others instead of learning how to function together. When that happens, everyone suffers. Oh, it may not seem like suffering because the person who has decided to leave the group or stay away from the group, never wanted the group anyway, so they are happy as a lark.
But the truth is, each of us have gifts and talents and abilities that are designed by God to benefit each other. For example, the Church of Jesus Christ was created to first, give glory to God but secondly to live life in Christ as His body. 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NASB) 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And in any body, human of otherwise, understands that for a body to function in a proper way, it must utilize the various parts or facets that are critical for its functioning. The Apostle Paul said it this way, 1 Corinthians 12:14-26 (NASB) 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
The whole purpose of a family is to operate like a human body. Each member of that family has his or her unique function and is to be used in that way, otherwise the body dies. Or at least that part becomes unusable. For example, when a part of our human body becomes sick, it must be treated or in the worst scenario, taken off the body or out of the body, so the body can survive. In other words, the sick part becomes a detriment to the rest of the body.
I have known many, many people who never want to be a part of the body of Christ. Oh, they certainly want the blessings that God offers them, but they don’t want the body as a part of their lives. For them, it is just too hard to deal with the idiosyncrasies of other people. So, they exit, and end up worshipping God on their own, away from the very group God intended for them to be a vital part.
If you are struggling with the church, the body of Christ. Can I encourage you to remember something? We are all broken, all messed up, all in need of a lot of help, or let’s use the biblical word, grace. We all need grace. Grace from God but also each other.
Would you remember that God created the church for you too? It is in the church, we learn patience, kindness when it’s hard to be kind, continuation when its hard to continue, stamina, because it’s hard to keep the energy level going sometimes. We learn oneness of purpose and focus. In other words, the body was not designed for each person to go off on their own and do their own thing. It takes all the parts.
Also, we learn that people are just plain messy. They have lots of needs and lots of pressures and lots of years of bad decisions, etc. But this was God’s design and His plan for His church. Because in the middle of all that messiness. Jesus is glorified. He stands out. Why? Because it takes His work in each of us to make anything worthwhile. Again, that’s the way He wants it. If we could live life together like we would like it to be, we wouldn’t need Jesus in the church. We would just figure it out.
So, can I encourage you to take one more chance and start being a part of the church? The physical group who meets weekly to worship and serve Christ and each other. If you approach it correctly, with Christ as your focus, you will find others who need you and depend on you but also people with whom you will also depend and you will ultimately find great joy in life, because we all need each other. That’s God’s plan.