Corporate Nature and Service

Description

In this world, we are part of a community of pilgrims who are traveling toward God. As such, we are meant to assist, nurture and encourage one another along the way.

One of the primary purposes for believers to assemble together is to create a meaningful context in which they can mutually encourage and edify one another through the exercise of the spiritual gifts that have been given to the body. In Spirit-filled spirituality, we discussed the purpose and dynamics of the gifts of the Spirit and saw that they are other-centered graces “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). The rich diversity of gifts and temperament types in the body promote maturity and wholeness when they are empowered by the Spirit.

The more we realize that we are allies on the journey rather than independent agents, the clearer we will see that personal spiritual growth does not take place in a relational vacuum. In this world, we are part of a community of pilgrims who are traveling toward God, and we are meant to assist, nurture, and encourage one another along the way. Commitment to a local community of faith enhances personal growth by providing a corporate context for identity, involvement, and ministry. This commitment to mutual nurture and service is most clearly expressed in the New Testament reciprocal “one another” commands.

Biblical servanthood can be expressed in a variety of ways. It is seen in a concern for other people as individuals, e.g., praying for them by name. It is communicated in helping with another’s physical or emotional needs. It is visible in a real concern for the spiritual condition of others. It is manifested in words that convey love and encouragement. And it is demonstrated in a gracious and gentle correcting of those who are in error.

We have seen that in Christ, all our deepest needs are fully satisfied. This is a liberating truth, and the more we embrace it, the more we escape the natural bondage to selfish pursuits. Believers who grow in this understanding become less inclined to milk and manipulate relationships in order to authenticate their security and significance. They do not need to compare, dominate, and compete with others because their worth is based on a timeless and unwavering relationship with the living God. Instead of grabbing, they can unconditionally give to others.

Just as Christ never lived for Himself but emptied and humbled Himself for others (Philippians 2:5-8), so we who are significant and secure in Him can follow Paul’s injunction to focus on the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4). Jesus summarized His earthly mission in Mark 10:45: “even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” As His life is displayed in us, we become true servants of God and others.

Fellowship with God should produce fellowship with like-minded followers of Jesus. Holiness does not thrive in isolation—we need the environment of a body of believers bounded by love and mutual servanthood. When unconfessed sin creates barriers in our fellowship with God, it distorts our relationships with others. Sin leads to pretense, a lack of transparency, and a desire to be served rather than serve. Walking in God’s light leads to humility, openness, and a desire to give rather than grab.

Taken from Ken Boa’s Handbook to Spiritual Growth

 

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