Saturday, February 21, 2015

God or Others?

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We all know that our individual relationship with God is of prime importance.  Studying scripture is essential in bringing us closer to our Lord and Savior.  In the same way, prayer is also crucial.  Perhaps some of us are faithful in such spiritual disciplines; more likely is the fact that we still have a lot of work to do in that area.

But what if I told you that bible study, prayer, and other individual disciplines are not the most important part of a Christian’s life?

Sure, those things are necessary – and we should take joy in them!  But if all of us spent the entirety of our lives with our faces in a book or our heads bowed, who would be living out that faith?  We can mature in our knowledge of the Heavenly One as much as we want, but if there is no evidence of that knowledge in our lives, then our efforts will have had very little purpose.

We seem to have the idea that our relationship with God comes first, and our relationships with others come second.  But this is simply not true.

Don’t get me wrong; no one in our lives should be equal-status with the Lord.  However, our relationship with Him and our relationship with others are not separate.  As 1 John 4:20 explains, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

If, in our relationships with others, we are not showing evidence of the One Whom we claim to know, then our knowledge is of practically no value.  But if we truly are growing in the knowledge of the Holy One, it will be absolutely unmistakable to those around us.

Our problem is that we tend to have an individualistic mindset with our faith.  We are taught that we owe nothing to other people; our faith in God is all that matters.  While there is some truth in this, do Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 resemble such an attitude?

As Christians, we are called to serve others, putting them ahead of ourselves (Philippians 2:3).  We cannot continue to isolate ourselves, thinking that we’re choosing that which is most important, even if that "important" thing is a noble pursuit.

Like I said in last week’s post, balance is the key.  If we spend no time with the Lord, yet try to live out His word in our lives, we will face a contradiction.  But in the same way, if we live our lives being more concerned about what we’re getting from God than what others are receiving, we will neglect Christ’s calling.

Let us pursue Christ and allow the two sides to fall into perfect balance, growing as individuals and strengthening Christ’s body as a whole.