Proverbs 3-16-23

To build or not to build, how to build, and in what order? These are questions that our church is having to answer.

Building projects are exciting times. There’s an air of anticipation and expectation of newness in all areas, not just in the physical building. Much of this newness comes in the body itself, but not like they might expect. Building projects call for us to practice loving each other in ways and to extremes that are way out of our comfort zones. We’re not often called upon in such a manner, so here we go!

As we do, I would like to establish some biblical ground rules for how we talk to each other, the manner in which we refer to each other, and even when it is appropriate to talk about certain aspects of the building project with each other.

  1. Our priority as the body of Christ is to exhibit His love to our community, to our families, and to each other. If we do not demonstrate this love and aren’t careful to build each other up, then we have failed before we even begin work on a physical building.
  2. Our church has a structure that we follow, much like our government, but also like a family. We must work within that structure if we are to honor the Lord by honoring each other.
  3. Christ has given us specific protocols to follow when we discuss matters. These protocols are non-negotiables toward implementing our church’s motto: “Loving God, Loving Each Other.”

What are these protocols, you may ask. Let’s look at one of them today:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Humility. Philippians 2:1-5a

  • We need to be encouraged and encouragers; that encouragement comes from the Spirit of Christ in unity, which is oneness of spirit.
  • We need the comfort of His love and to be comforters, which happens when we are one in the Spirit.
  • Our common sharing in the Spirit comes when we realize that nothing is actually ours individually, but part of a whole that is Christ’s.
  • Our joy is made complete when we prioritize being like-minded, having the same love, and are one in spirit and mind (even when we might not agree on some details).
  • How do we attain such joy? By doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. We cannot hold ourselves higher than our brothers and sisters. In fact, we must do the opposite by humbly valuing others above ourselves. We cannot look to our own interests and look to other’s interests at the same time.
  • Christ’s mindset was humility; ours must be the same.

I heard an interesting perspective today. A fellow was talking about the metaphor of the church being a hospital. He said that this analogy tends to lead people to believe that the pastor is the doctor. Not so. Jesus is the Great Physician; if anything, the pastor is the chief nurse, and we his staff. When it comes to making plans for building, we must all seek the guidance of the Chief Architect and Builder, Jesus Christ. He framed the universe and hung the stars; He holds every molecule together by His power. Surely, He knows what we need and how to achieve it. So, we begin in prayer asking for His leadership.

Abba, we come to You in humility. We acknowledge that we do not know everything, and we admit our tendency to insist on our way. Even when we think our plan is altruistic and is for the benefit of everyone, we still need to step back and allow You to work Your plan in everyone. The building project is important, but even more important are the lessons in humility and self-sacrificial love that we are about to learn. May we excel in them! In and with Your Spirit, I know we will. Thank You in advance. Amen.

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