This is the Gospel: Day 11

The Gift of His Word and Body

by

Today's Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Hebrews 10:23-25, Galatians 6:1-2, Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“The Christian life is personal, but it’s not private.”

I sat in my pastor’s office, trying to work through the scope of some of Paul’s letters in the New Testament a couple of years ago, and this was his exhortation to me. He was speaking to me as a fellow leader, but as my brother in Christ and as my pastor even more.

If your relationship with Christ is not personal—if you aren’t in unique communication with Him on a personal level of belief and worship—you are missing a critical part of the Gospel.

Likewise, if your relationship with Christ is not made evident in your life—if it is not a part of your daily coming and going and relationship with others—you are missing a critical piece of the Gospel.

This idea felt abstract at the time, but the more I thought about it over the days and months and years that followed, the more I have come to understand it isn’t simply an isolated idea, but a unifying relationship between God’s provisions of His Word and His Body, the Church.

God’s Word makes the Christian life personal. Because it is living and active, and through the work of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word comes to each of us in unique ways at different times. It is always true and that truth never changes, but the Bible is an extremely personal book. As the only written revelation of God to His people, it is a lavish gift of story, love, instruction and promise.

God’s Church makes the Christian life public. My pastor also commented that the Church is a completely perfect institution… until you add people to it. And it’s true—adding sinners to any equation makes things messy (sometimes very messy!), but Jesus never, ever promised tidy. And messy should never be a reason to give up on God’s gift. We’re called to live life with one another, reminding each other of what we already profess (because we are so good at forgetting, aren’t we?). We’re supposed to gather often, rejoice and mourn together, forgive each other and work alongside each other. God’s Word tells us to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), restore each other from our transgressions (Galatians 6:1), and hold fast together to the confession of our faith (Hebrews 10:23).

None of this is tidy, all of it is messy.

None of this is private, all of it is public within the body.

Friends, the Christian life is personal, but it is not private. God provided us with His holy Word and His Church. Let’s hold tight to these lavish gifts and trust the Lord to provide us with all we need to live messy and purposeful lives for His glory.

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  • I don’t have the words to express how much this meant to me. I was crying after seeing videos of a hateful group protesting in my city, heartbroken by the presence of people who seemed to completely lack love and goodness. I turned to SheReadsTruth for some comfort, and this reminded me to be emphatic and loving myself, because we’re all a part of the body of Christ.

  • We can’t be Christians in the comfort of our own home. We have to actually step outside and engage with people because Christ called us to serve each other.

  • The idea of clothing some parts but not others, and the covered parts being more honorable- I am struggling to relate that aspect to apply to members of the church.

    • Ellie

      I agree with you 100%

    • Natalie Jeane

      I have a feeling it has to do with serving in secret. Or more so, how much honor we ascribe to positions of “power” in the church. Speaking and singing on Sunday are wonderful gifts from the Holy Spirit, but real discipleship happens in the nitty gritty of life. When someone is willing to just sit with you while you grieve the loss of a loved one or they clean up the house after everyone has left from the small group they host. These things don’t get announced for the whole church, but they make the body of Christ work.

  • Julie Park

    I really needed to hear/read this today as I am in dire need of forgiving a friend. We are all one body. Thank you Jesus!

  • I love looking at different people and finding the amazing individual qualities that God gave them and wondering what specific purpose he designed for them. God is just so amazing!

  • We’re all different, but should care for each other as one !

  • Thank you Lord for blessing us with the body of the church and your personal but public word❤️ they are incredible gifts that we have received from you and we are fortunate to have been blessed with such things!!

  • Lyndsey

    Even though these two things are opposites (personal and public) they affect each other. My personal life with Christ has suffered lately (not making enough time for him) and after reading this I’ve realized my “church” life has suffered as a result. Instead of going to church less, I’ve barley been going at all. Union and fellowship are extremely important, there’s a lot of power in corporate worship and prayer, that I’m missing out on, as well as the intimate, personal connection with Christ that is so special and unique to every believer. Thanks for this, God really spoke to me through these scriptures today :)

    23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

  • Jocabeth

    This is a beautiful reading, that touches on something I have struggled with for w long time in our church
    Slowly different groups have decided to congregate on theme it own and it saddens me to see people leave. Our church is not perfect, and. Our leaders have made mistakes, as well as our members. I myself have been distant from my church. I hope the Lord can restore the relationships we once had, and that we may forgive one another like he has. This topic is not talked about often, and not in this sense either. We are sinners, every single one of us, in a single body. And that will be messy, and sometimes painful, but we shouldn’t let that get in the way of our relationship with God. Thank you for this reading, and I pray to God I can bring this into my congregation and bring some words of hope and community to us all.

  • Help me Lord, be willing to be public in the church and tra

  • BlessedandFavored

    I will always strive for that ultimate personal relationship with God

  • I’ve been feeling discontent in my small group, feeling like my husband and I don’t belong there. But if meeting together for fellowship is a gift, maybe it’s being attacked by the evil one. May I remember to pray in all circumstances, so that I can enjoy the presence and wisdom of The Lord.

  • Agyzabelle

    Help me Lord God to not keep my Christian Life private but personal

  • I love that saying, the Christian life is personal, but not private. Lord, help me live you out and encourage others to do the same!

  • Love this!

  • This was probably the one of the best readings I could have today. Everything was so fitting for where I am in life right now and just further affirming of what I know I need to continue to grow spiritually and perhaps help loved ones do the same. We need that community and that is yet another gift we’re given through christ’s initial sacrifice, messy though it may be it is still wonderful!

  • I love the description that none of this is tidy, all of it is messy. I try so often to have the perfect relationship with God, do the right thing, be perfect in my actions and thoughts. It’s a hard task. But that’s why we have God by our side. To pick us up when we start to slip and to help us sort out the messiness.

  • I want my life, no matter how messy, to still show I trust in God to get me through the mess! May I always rely completely on him and not myself or my spouse.

  • about five years ago I felt that my only friends mostly lived faraway, so prayed for good community of friends locally. now God has truly answered that prayer and provided a group of women right here whom I fellowship with regularly. praise the Lord. ..he can and does provide friends when we ask.

  • Being content in a mess is hard, but knowing that He’s perfect. Makes it all worth it :)

  • Taylor Earle

    Need to pray for the courage to live a messy life for Him

  • Meghan Sawtelle

    Need to remember to let my love for Jesus go beyond private and allow it to be bold and noticeable!

  • “The Christian life is personal, not private” I needed to hear this today. No more keeping my burning passion for the Lord inside

  • Kaycie Grace F. Hilado

    thank you Jesus for your words today :)

  • Just because I am different from others doesn’t mean I have less worth. I am made with unique gifts to glorify the Lord in a specific way. Needed this reminder this morning. Thank you.

  • Information that is very helpful and very useful for everyone, thank you for sharing the article. If deign turning please visit our website, in order to broaden or beneficial for his fellow man. Thanks also to the author of the article “The Christian life is personal, but it’s not private.”

  • Love this!! Recently in my church, several people have died. It has been very encouraging to see the church “mourn with those who mourn.” I am especially thankful for my church family today!

  • Good reminder that I can’t walk through my day at work guarding & keeping my relationship with Christ a complete secret from those I work with.

  • Thank you so much for this. I was feeling discouraged today about what I perceive as my many shortcomings as a woman, but today is a beautiful reminder that I can be a friend, an encourager, someone who can “do life” with others. That is a gift I can give and it is so very needed.

  • “On the contrary, parts of the body that seem weak are indispensable;” — this verse got me thinking! I have a good friend who is very sensitive, always feeling, perceiving each situation and processing it very deeply. She is a feeler…Her son is the same way! & she has told me she feels “weak” for being so sensitive, for feeling so much, but MAN she is indispensable as a person!! Her sensitivity lends itself to being a beautiful listener, a wise advice-giver, and such a true and kind friend. She’s also the first to feel out OTHERS’ feelings and regard them as Christ would, even when nobody else will. So I’ve come to calling her the “heart” of our friendship….how interesting that the human heart is also a sensitive vessel, one that needs constant guarding & protection from our ribs to do its very indispensable task of sustaining life in the body! The heart might seem weak from a skin-and-tissue standpoint, though it’s anything BUT replaceable — Lord, that we would all see each other for the gifts and abilities you’ve put inside us, never once thinking we are dispensable! Instead realizing that, because of your purpose for each of us, we are so valuable and each have such a place in your body.

  • Worship and fellowship with God is such an ultimate blessing! Christ gave us the freedom to praise Him in each of our ways, and gave us people of whom he loves and value to put in our care to walk hand in hand, in rough and smooth road on the way to His Word, on the way to His Kingdom. And it pains my heart, when I think about all the people I cherish in my first spiritual family, in our Catholic Church (Youth Ministry), I remember I'd always wept whenever I try to pray for them. That I want what you had with your disciples Lord, I want a genuine relationship that is deeply rooted in your word. I want them to understand that above all, a personal relationship with you and the public testimony of it is both essential. I want to serve them just as you have served your disciples, I want to love them fiercely and deeply, just as you have shown with your friends, but to be honest, and this honesty is such a pain in my chest, we don't talk about You when we walk in the street, we talk about more of ourselves, we don't talk about You or praise your glory when one of us reached victory, we don't talk about you in our weakness, we don't talk about you in our strengths, we don't pray for each other when one badly needs a prayer, we're shy to preach your word and open the bible because of our busy schedule, we only know you of what we heard and not what we have learned through you. It hurts, because we only worship when it's convenient for us to worship, it hurts, because your calling is different from what we're doing. It hurts, because they are my first spiritual family and I loved them, and I want them to know your love too. I don't want to give up on them now that I have found another spiritual family where I have come to know you even better, where I have seen your grace reflected in their lives. We're God is the center of my new spiritual family. I have joy in my heart for I know you have placed me in their care. But it is still painful knowing my first spiritual family have been stagnant in their spiritual growth.

    Pray with me sisters, that God will use his power to reveal His glory and mighty deed to every person and churches on earth. That we'll align ourselves, through his calling, pointing to the perfecter of our faith to his Son Jesus Christ. That God will melt our stony hearts, that He will call us back to His love,in mercy, in forgiveness and in grace. AMEN AND AMEN. May we become united as one church in the body of Christ, not judging one another, that no religion could ever separate His love for us, that may we become one in spirit and truth with the Father. In Jesus name. Amen!

  • Antimony

    Life is messy! And I keep wanting to just pull away from it completely. But I can’t really do that. I have to live with and interact with people. And they have to live with me. So I’ve got to figure out how it all works.

  • Thank you for what you do to encourage all of us with The Word.

  • Kasey Summers

    Our faith in Christ should be personal but not private!! Love that!! We are to be acting as THE BODY of Christ! Praying we will be the hands and feet of Jesus to all we come in to contact with!

  • jill-smiles

    The passage from Hebrews and the devotion today were particularly helpful to me today!!! I am leading a new Sunday School class for college age/young adults and my lesson is following Rob Bell’s Nooma video “Sunday”. Part of the discussion questions delve into why do we go to church. This reading today felt like God reinforcing what I should be sharing with my new young friends. Feeling very blessed!

  • purpleslobinrecovery

    I never click over here to your blog, I always just read in my email. I apologize, for never leaving a comment before. I love your studies. You constantly draw me back to the Word.
    Melinda

  • Sarabeth

    This spoke to my very soul. I have been without a church for quite sometime, and I become really hesitant to talk about my personal relationship with Christ (the work he is doing, my struggles, etc). I used to be rather vocal and publicly excited about stuff, but after several years I realized how judgmental and arrogant I was pointing out faults of others and such. Now I try so hard to steer clear of that mindset and pride that I dampen the personal and public part of my life to prevent being judged and becoming judgmental. Christ loves us even the messy bits and calls us to be apart of his body. I pray to be courageous to show the work Christ is doing even if it is messy. Also I pray we find a faith family who will do the same.

  • I especially love the last paragraph.

  • …”The Christian life is personal, but it is not private”…. This really hits me hard. I can talk the talk pretty well but my life is so messy. The last few years of marriage have left me angry, bitter, resentful and down right question my faith. Is God really listening, does He even care, when will the pain become redemption?…..around other Christians I can pretend my life is on the straight and narrow but in private all I do is wonder if the Lord will be faithful in healing this mess.

    This was a good reminder for me that there are resources out there who I need to reach out too and ask for some help and prayer. I want so desperately to forgive my husband but I’m finding it difficult and wonder if I even forgive will I ever be able to move past it all….(end vent) :/

    I want others to see Christ in me, especially my child. I want him to grow up to love the Lord and become a faithful believer and follower of Christ. That is why I know I have to not only be in his word but to live out Gods word. I need and am called to forgive. So here’s to putting forth more effort at forgiving and seeking God and making my faith known and my heart yearn for more of Christ each day.

  • stacykilcup

    Thank your for this today. it is exactly what I needed to read today.

  • Recently, it’s been my prayer to have others see God through me. This fits in with not letting our faith be private. It’s also a good source to keep me accountable. I rethink my actions and words and ask myself: will others see God in me today if I do/say ____? Grateful for this reminder today and praise to Him who won’t relent on pulling me closer to Him each day!

  • My mom suffered a massive stroke on Friday. I have witnessed through her church family just how real the body of Christ is and how vital each part is to the other. Through their individual outreach and collective outreach to mom and our family, I have seen just how public our faith is when we put it in to action. I have watched the impact on my Mom as the faith of the people in her church family became public in their visits to her and in the assistance they have provided. When our Christian walk becomes public, that is when it most assuredly impacts others.

    • Sarah

      Sheila, I am so sorry to hear of your mother's stroke. I pray for healing for her. I thank you for coming to this space and sharing how you have seen the impact of the Church. Amazing.

    • Alexis C.

      Prays of comfort to all of you.

    • Candice

      Praying for a quick recovery and comfort for your mom and family.

    • Joanna

      Praying for all of you!

    • JessHH

      Praying for you and your family Sheila. My family has dealt with stroke too… There area lot of unknowns in the first few days. Praying that your mom makes a full recovery, and thanking God that you have a faith community to support you!

  • Really loved this. I’m new to this community. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

  • churchmouse

    Having been in a church that underwent two church splits, I am church hesitant. I loved the folks in that church and loved the ministries and even the building. But there were unaddressed toxic elements and my husband and one daughter choose to attend a different church. Our other daughter and I were active in the Church and so bing in there longer. But it was not healthy for our family to be divided and so we are all attending together at the second church. I am reluctant to be involved because of the critical spirit of some Christians and their level of expectation. I have a small group that meets in my home and they are my life line for authentically learning and living my faith. I attend church but I live it out of the small group fellowship. Friendly fire within the church is deadly.

    • Alexis C.

      “Friendly fire within the church is deadly. “OH how I know that! I was without a church family for 20 years. I gave it another chance, absolutely loved it then was burned yet again. This time though I didn’t let these women take away a church family from me. I did leave that church (still miss it) because it was the spiritually healthy thing to do but I found a new church and a new community. I don’t want to be without a faith family again.

  • The distractions of the internet, social media and our phones gets quite a bad rap these days. And I get it, I do. I get how we sometimes prioritize and idolize these things. How we overuse and abuse and miss out because of them.

    But this devotion makes me thankful for them as well. I'm thankful that the body of Christ can be more connected because of them, that I can bear the burdens of a mama struggling thousands of miles away from me, that I can be on my knees in prayer for a sister I will never meet in my day to day.

    I'm thankful for the SRT community and pray that we will continually use these "distractions" for His glory, being the body of Christ in a brand new way.

  • Shirley Burkenpas

    Constantly in war with 'tyranny of the urgent"(flesh), @ times going through heavy conviction…Thank God He gives' us His Grace with accountability… in His Love through His Word & others…

  • I have just spent the week end with all my children, son in laws and grandchildren. What a blessing it was but as I think about different parts of the body, we are all different and yet we (as a family) all love Jesus. He has called us to different service so we can't be the same. That is a struggle at times because each of us tend to think he or she is doing it right. Praise God , just maybe we are all doing it right for their household. Hummm
    thank you Jesus for the reminder. Each of us are different for a different reason, may each of us encourage each other in love. Thank you SRT.

  • I used to think I could do this Christian thing on my own. I'm in college, and most of my friends don't really have a relationship with Christ. Which has obviously made me falter during college… But I asked a good friend to church with me on Sunday right before starting my quiet time and this was the topic…… What a nice encouragement from the Lord :)

    Praying that I can continue to reach out to my friends, pray for and with them, and create a fellowship with them! So thankful for all of SRT for being my encouragement towards Christ daily.

  • Caroline

    yes and yes!!!!!!!!!

  • I came to SRT this morning with exactly this on my heart: my relationship with Christ is not personal. It was at the very beginning of my walk of faith, when I was a young girl (I grew up in the church!), but it wasn't been for a long time. I have no idea what's changed. I pray daily, I read scripture and good spiritual reading. I never miss church. But I don't feel like I know him, like I know his voice or like I'm walking with him in my daily life. The truth of that feels so bare when I write it out:/ I'd love prayer to change this, but even more, I'd love to know if you have ideas for me, things I could try to grow closer to Jesus? I'm only now realizing how profoundly sad and frustrated I've been about this. Grateful to have been led to read this today.

    • Sarah

      Glad you shared, Angela. Your words resonate with me. I love how you ask for ideas or suggestions-my heart and head move in that same direction! I too want to hear ways to find that personal component. However, I think too that you sharing that sadness and speaking that truth to God could lead to that personal element. To say that it grieves you to know that a personal element is lacking when the pieces seem to be in place. I pray that God speaks to you and brings a personal component to your relationship with Him. And I thank you so much for sharing where you are-you are not alone there:)

      • Alexis C.

        I find my connection to Jesus is closest when I find a quiet, comfortable place, close my eyes and just talk to Him. Not a formalized prayer with all the “words” we hear others or ourselves use, but just a pour out my heart talk. And then just relax in the quiet. There is a sense of release and re energizing when I open my eyes and continue with the day. I pray that you find your way to spend personal time with Him.

      • Alexis C.

        Oops posted under the wrong spot. :-/

    • Hannah

      I know I’ve found my walk with Christ grow when I entered into community within the church. Is there a Sunday school class or small group you could attend during the week? These environments provide a place to be yourself, hear other people’s testimonies that challenge and inspire you, plus make Christian friends that hold you accountable to your faith. Usually these settings allow people to go beyond the superficial conversations (hi, how are you? How was your weekend? Glad it’s Friday!) that so permeate human encounters in our culture. My husband grew up in church but when both of his parents passed away, he had a very hard heart and did not have a personal relationship with God. He would go to church but mostly out of what he felt was moral responsibility. My prayer for him was that he would be embraced by strong Christian men within the church who would help him grow in his personal relationship with Christ. Long story short, some men took him under his wing and now my husband has a growing and personal relationship with Jesus. If you ask him how he got there he would definitely say it was through the prayer and friendships with others, along with bible study and worship. However, you never “arrive” so to speak. We moved across the country away from our strong Christian friendships. Both of us are trying to get plugged in so that we don’t become stagnant. Every day we need the strength and love of the father, and we need accountability partners.

    • Alexis C.

      I find my connection to Jesus is closest when I find a quiet, comfortable place, close my eyes and just talk to Him. Not a formalized prayer with all the “words” we hear others or ourselves use, but just a pour out my heart talk. And then just relax in the quiet. There is a sense of release and re energizing when I open my eyes and continue with the day. I pray that you find your way to spend personal time with Him.

    • Andrea J

      Angela, I totally understand. I grew up in church and did all the same "right" things. Yet, I hardly ever felt that God was speaking to me or changing me. I didn't feel I knew him, and honestly I didn't. My husband on the other hand, never went to church growing up, but when he got saved before we were dating, he began to change and he would talk about Jesus with such passion and express how God had been speaking to him. It irked me because I wondered HOW? How do you feel God, know God, hear God? Im not sure why but things completely changed for me when I began walking in COMMUNITY. Yes going to church is great & needed, but I love and wholeheartedly agree with Hannah's suggestion of a small group. There's something about being vulnerable, accountable, being able to express even these things and know others understand and are praying for you, hearing others' struggles, insights, and their growth with God. Im not sure what it is, but it changed everything for me. (maybe it was that it caused me to humble myself, to lay down my pride, and realize I wasn't meant to do this on my own) Find a loving, intentional, interactive, small group! Praying God would help you find exactly what you need <3

      • Andrea J

        ^ oh to add to what was different about my husband: he was always in community. as soon as he gave his life to God, he put himself in the shadow of one man of God after other and modeled them, opened up to them, and he was always involved in a group of Christ loving men.

    • Channing

      I totally understand where you’re coming from. Most Christians go through a stage where they feel like their relationship with Christ is lacking (I know I did). It seems like you’re making sure you are filled up, but remember that you have to pour out as well. As followers of Jesus, we are designed to be funnels, not puddles. This means that as we grow in Christ and fill up on him, just like a funnel, we should let that flow out of us as well, only to be filled up again the next day. A puddle just continues filling up and remains stagnant, never letting that living water flow out. Letting this living water flow out could mean something as small as volunteering in your church body or something as large as going on a mission trip across the world. Know that to make that relationship personal and growing, you have to live your live out for Christ every single day. Praying for you, Angela!

    • Pam B

      I’ve experienced a lot of growth through the SRT community. Small group Bible studies and Sunday school classes can really help too.

    • Amber

      Angela I completely understand how you feel. I would suggest whole heartedly asking Jesus to reveal Himself to you! On purpose look for Him to do it all throughout your day. I pray Jesus speaks to your heart and reveals Himself to you in the mundane. That you can see Him in tangible ways and live expectantly. You ask….He will answer!! Our God is so good!

    • Lavy

      Prayers for you Angela! I know how that feels. Keep reading here and know that we are all rooting for you. A relationship with Christ is a journey and there are always ups and downs (on our part–he never changes) and you keep learning and growing in him.

    • angelakobel

      Thank you all for prayer and your inspiring ideas. I will keep reading and coming back here, and I'm hoping that I can feel truly connected to Christ once more. It's my biggest, deepest desire.

  • This was convicting. I feel that my faith is neither of these elements. I keep God at arm's length, feeling that 'it is enough' to attend church and read books by Christian authors. I am fiercely private regarding my faith, and I feel awkward speaking about Christ since my post-college life completely shunned the Church. So, I pray. I pray for unbelief to be helped-in all of this that I do and feel, I reflect a ck of belief in God and who He says He is. I pray to let go of that desire for control. I pray to feel and find freedom in Christ and His love instead of seeing and feeling restricted. I pray for truth-to live this out in all of the ways God desires I do.

    • Brittney

      Praying for you Sarah <3

    • Rachel

      Sarah, Cry out to the Lord to take the reigns in your life and don’t think about the way you see other Christians living. Everything doesn’t come in a perfect package wrapped in ribbon when you follow Him. It’s a small token that you receive daily to keep you going. Christ moves differently in every person’s journey with Him, and comparing your walk with others is Satan’s tool to pull you back and make you feel inadequate. Keep seeking Him only and ignore the rest! He loves you & He will give you baby steps for each day to grow! Much love & prayer!

      • Sarah

        Thank you, Rachel! I love this encouragement! I pray to focus on this-that God loves me and I should seek Him in all that I do.

    • A PEACH IN ITALY

      Sarah, I so relate to you about speaking to unbelievers about my faith. It feels so awkward and unnatural when I try, so when I am asked questions, I am never sure what to say. Or I am afraid of speaking about it. So I keep it very private. I was reading a passage last night 2 Kings 7: 3-9 about the four lepers who found the camp of Syrians abandoned filled with food during Samaria's famine. They started to enjoy it for themselves, then felt convicted and shared what they found with the men at the gate thus saving the Israelites from famine. I feel like the gospel is the same way. We have this great gift and we need to share it; we can not just keep it for ourselves, ya know?
      So I pray for us all to be able to live Christ out loud and share without fear the gift God has given to us.

      • Sarah

        Thank you! Thank you for sharing this! What an amazing passage. I pray for both aspects of this. God, I pray to know you and love and relish the gift of Your Son. I pray to seek and see you and abide in that love. Thank you, A Peach in Italy!

  • I am an introvert. I enjoy and gain energy in being by myself. But I also enjoy being around others. I have a handful of close friends who have been in my life for decades. But when it comes to building fellowship and friendships in my present – I’ve learned through big moves – that’s it’s really, really tough. Moving can leave me feeling uncomfortable and out of place. The newness and excitement wear off and the longing for what I have known sets in. If there is anything I have learned about building a new life, it’s to be patient. And I think the same is true of friendships and a faith community. It takes time. And hard work and effort. It’s less about fitting myself in a group and all about belonging, embracing who I am in Christ and sharing that with others. And prayer. Praying that God would bring grace-filled people into my life. And He is faithful.
    Grateful for the reminder that my faith is intimately personal but also meant to be shared with strangers and in community. I’m thankful that personally knowing and experiencing that deep desire for connection encourages me to reach out and help others feel that they are welcome and belong too.

    • Melinda

      Beverly thank you for sharing this. It really resonates with me as I am just in the very new and exciting stage of a big, big move. I crave and long for meaningful relationships for me and my family. My husband and I have a deep desire to live out these scriptures and live in community with others in this new place. Thanks for your words.

  • “Let’s hold tight to these lavish gifts and trust the Lord to provide us with all we need to live messy and purposeful lives for His glory.” Ah, a much needed reminder this morning!! The Christian life is messy, and that is OK because God loves and provides- how validating, affirming, to be reminded of this today. !!!

  • So intensely personal, but not private. He speaks to us just as we need, and we are to share just as He desires.

  • Kelly_Smith

    This is such a pivotal piece to our walk with Christ! Personal but not private. Some may check off the "Christian" box through church attendance. Without that personal aspect of a relationship with Christ, there is no growth. Likewise, we need others around us to encourage, instruct, and challenge us. Thank you for sharing, Raechel!

  • Ester Rudnäs

    Hi everyone! Im sending out a prayer request. I would be glad if I knew that someone is praying with me on this. I’ve been depressed, but thanks to God and my friends I’m now free from the evil sickness. But along the depression-journey I lost quit a bit of myself and my connection with God and the Holy Spirit. I’m trying to find the way back, but it’s hard.
    Thank you for your prayers!
    Stay blessed!
    ❤️

    • KC Blessed

      Ester, I thank God for your freedom from depression and I’m praying for you.

    • Megan Elizabeth

      Praying for you Ester!

    • JessicaLoves___

      You are absolutely not alone in this Ester. Praying with you. May you feel the Holy Spirit’s presence, as he is absolutely there – expectantly waiting for you to hear his gentle whispers to your soul.

    • anne

      Praying for you Ester, know that God welcomes you back, is celebrating you finding your way back and he has loved you all the time. I have been far away and known I chose to actually ignore Gods calling me back for a while. We are so blessed He loves us during all of this journey.

    • Cassandra

      Ester,

      God is still with you and has not left you. No matter how good or depressed you feel He does not change. Depression is real and can even come and go. I pray you recognize Gods love for you today. You must be in His word and pray/talk to Him. This is necessary to be close to Him and learn Him. Be blessed sister.

    • Deb Black

      Praying for you this morning Ester! I also have been in depression in my life but God is faithful and delivered me from that. There were many times that I felt alone as I, like you, tried to find my way back. Jesus never leaves us, He never forsakes us but sometimes I walk outside of His plan. He gently reminds me during those times that He is still there, waiting and nudging me back to a deeper fellowship with Him. Jesus loves you and as a sister in Christ, I love you as well, even though we have never met! I’m praying Philippians 4:7 for you today – that the peace of God will guard your heart and mind as you journey back to a place of deep fellowship and great joy in Christ.

      Sisters in Christ, Deb

    • Amanda

      Prayers for you Ester.

    • Stacy

      Praying for you Ester, that God would wrap His arms around you and you would feel His comfort and presence today.

    • Joanna

      Ester, what a beautiful name. I am struggling with depression myself so I completely understand what you’re going through. Is it permissible to exchange personal information on this site? Would love to reach out to you further. Praying for you this morning. What a close friend of mine and some lovely ladies here told me yesterday is that when you are being taken to another level spiritually, the devil will attack you at every cost. I pray for your peace and strength.

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Prayers lifted this morning for you <3

    • scootermae

      Ester, praying that today God would reveal Himself to you in mighty ways. that you would see Him with fresh eyes and wit h childlike faith. as you go trough your day, find the small things you can praise Him for. I find doing that can bring Him to the forefront and keep my mind focused on Him. Find a worship song you like and get it stuck in your head. he wil be found by those who seek Him.

    • Heather

      Ester, a few years ago I was lead down dark path. One that took me away from what I knew to be truth. I still read my bible but was filled with untruths. People I didn’t even know personally prayed for me. Once I repented and asked for forgiveness my life changed completely. God welcomed me back and my faith is stronger then ever before. I believe sometimes you have to be broken completely before you can truly understand God’s love for you. My prayer is for you today. I pray that you find a personal relationship with our Savior and find the joy and love that comes with it. Many blessings to you.

    • A PEACH IN ITALY

      I will join you in prayer!

    • Honored to pray for you this morning, Ester!

    • Alexis C.

      Welcome home! My prayers are with you.

    • Amber

      Lifting you up in prayer Ester!

  • Hi Lynn,
    Please do not feel alone! As a mother of three young children, and a tendency towards shyness, I also struggle with making friends. I have tried to make some friends, but like you said- life with kids is busy. It's hard to find the time to be consistent enough to develop friendships. However, I do have a group of Christian women that I meet together with twice a month for bible study and fellowship. We are blessed to have a woman in the group that enjoys hosting us for dinner at her house, followed by reading in the Word together. My husband stays with the kids (I still bring the baby), but sometimes one older one has to tag along to (at this point I have no problem plopping them down in front of a movie with a big bowl of popcorn!).

    Perhaps you could try to organize something like this within your church or Christian community? I'm not suggesting you necessarily host it- in fact, you can even be explicit in saying that you can't host it, if that's the case. But maybe suggest a potluck? And you don't necessarily need to meet at someone's house (although there is an aspect of closeness and getting personal in that), but it could be at your church even. Maybe you will find a woman in the church who is beyond her child-raising years that would like to take this up.

  • Lynne, I can understand exactly how you feel. I think sometimes God does not want us to be friends with many but maybe just one. When you start to feel lonely thank God for the friends he is sending. Be open and realize that friendship comes in different packages.

  • I like the fact that God gave us community. The only problem for me is I never feel like I fit in wherever I go. The Bible says"One who wants friends must show himself friendly." I truly try to do this but I still struggle to make friends. I feel sometimes like I have a third arm growing out of my head. I also have 7 children and life is extremely busy so I can't always go to the events at church and hang out with the other woman. I feel alone a lot and sad. I want community so badly that I ache inside. How do we get fellowship when everyone else seems to be friends and you are like a third wheel?

    • Chris

      Lynne, I understand, I feel the same way. Ten years ago I moved to Boston and it took me 2 years to develop friendships. I moved to Philadelphia 2 years ago to be close to family . Developing friendships, even going to church is complicated between work and family needs. Yet God continues to richly bless those season in my lif.e I will pray for God to provide you with deep fellowship!

    • Candacejo

      Prayed this morning for God to send you a kindred spirit. Let us believe and agree together! ♥

    • Allane

      Hi Lynn,
      Please do not feel alone! As a mother of three young children, and a tendency towards shyness, I also struggle with making friends. I have tried to make some friends, but like you said- life with kids is busy. It's hard to find the time to be consistent enough to develop friendships. However, I do have a group of Christian women that I meet together with twice a month for bible study and fellowship. We are blessed to have a woman in the group that enjoys hosting us for dinner at her house, followed by reading in the Word together. My husband stays with the kids (I still bring the baby), but sometimes one older one has to tag along to (at this point I have no problem plopping them down in front of a movie with a big bowl of popcorn!).

      Perhaps you could try to organize something like this within your church or Christian community? I'm not suggesting you necessarily host it- in fact, you can even be explicit in saying that you can't host it, if that's the case. But maybe suggest a potluck? And you don't necessarily need to meet at someone's house (although there is an aspect of closeness and getting personal in that), but it could be at your church even. Maybe you will find a woman in the church who is beyond her child-raising years that would like to take this up.

    • JennyBC

      My heart aches for you this morning. I completely understand. Standing with Candacejo and believing for a kindred spirit.

    • Joanna

      Lynne, I understand how you feel. Have you heard of a site called meetup.com? You can join a group based on your interests (and if you wan, age). I’m sure there are some faith based ones on there, and others as well. Worth a shot! Praying for you.

    • scootermae

      Lynne, I am right there with you. I met up with a friend last night I had not seen in over a year. She asked me how I liked church. I told her the older I get it is so hard for me to connect with others. Not sure why. As a single I had an amazing set of friends and as a married women, I really struggle. (A messy marriage does not help…my husband does not like to socialize, so after 14 years of marriage, we have no couple friends either.)
      However, it has drawn me closer to The Lord and I find I take more of my lonely to Him. I wonder sometimes if my expectations are too high. He has brought a few non Christians friends into my life but I so miss the spiritual component.
      I think the society we live in doesn't help either…always busy, blowing and going. The saying, if satan can't make you bad, he will make you busy (thus feeling isolation).
      Not sure how things work from a technological stand point, but even if here are others in thi thread that could use some encouragement, maybe we could form a 'group'. Probably not one that met face to face but skyped, IM, etc. I have often thought it would be cool to somehow track where everyone lives so those close to each other could hook up. I have never checked out SRT facebook, so maybe there is a list there???

      • Diana

        Hi scootermae, I have been married for many years and my husband also doesn't like to socialize. I'm very outgoing and we only have one set of couples friends who live out of state and who come here every couple of months. The only reason he tolerates their visit is the wife and I have been best friends since we were 12. He doesn't mind if I go to church or bible study or lunch with women at church or even clients from work but he never wants to make friends which is very difficult but I've learned to adjust and the Lord has brought me a new friend because one of my dear friends went home to be with Jesus. I know what you are experiencing and I will pray for you. I think you had a great idea to get us all together on Skype. Will also pray for Lynn and Carlybenson.

    • Susan

      I gave the exact same thoughts. I so want friends in the church but it seems everyone already has their friend group. I’m praying it to change.

    • Amber

      Lynne, I know exactly how you feel. I’m joining the others in prayer for God to send you a few women to do life with! He hears and answers our prayers, as we keep our eyes focused on Him!

    • lynne

      Thanks everyone for your kind words and prayers. I know that Jesus is my friend that sticks closer than a brother but sometimes I ache for someone with skin on. A lot of my friends moved away and now I am here to make new friends. I have made a few but I don't truly feel close like I want to. Maybe Jesus just wants me and all of us to be closer to Him. He truly is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. I will be praying for you gals too. Thanks again for your prayers, advice, and kindness.

    • Annie

      I can totally understand how Lynne feels, I’m 19 and I’m having a hard time making new friends. I really feel the need of a female friend that can encourage me in my belief in God and that I can talk to, because I hardly have any Christian friends my age. In my church there are mostly fully grown-ups like my parents, but not as much teenagers my age. I really long for community and than I see/hear from Christian girls my age that have beautiful, empowering friendships and I feel so lost and alone. In September I also might be going to Canada for 9-10 months and I’m already frightened I won’t make any friends. (Sorry about the mistakes, I’m not a native English speaker)

  • carlybenson

    1 Corinthians talks about the members of the body living in harmony, and, as a musician, that has really helped me to understand what church and Christian community is meant to be like. Harmony means people are playing different parts- a piece of music would sound really boring if everyone was playing the same. Instead there are contrasting lines with different rhythms and characters- each of them sounds good on its own, but is so much better as part of the whole. There are times when the parts don't move together, and their rhythms seem to be completely against each other, there are times when the notes clash and it sounds dissonant but then they resolve.
    Sometimes you have a part that seems really boring and insignificant but actually it's vital, filling in a crucial piece of harmony. You might have a solo line- a really prominent part that everyone notices, but it's not nearly as good on its own as it is with the harmony supporting it underneath.
    Playing in an orchestra means it's not all about you- you have to listen to one another to stay in tune, maybe to hold back or move forward to follow the solo line and support them. And crucially you have to follow the conductor- the one who is in charge and is holding it all together.
    This helps me understand what community is meant to be like. Of course in practice it's messy, but God can use that too. There are things we can only learn through community's like patience, love, forgiveness, compassion and mercy- that we could never learn in isolation.

    • Kenesha

      Love this! Well said. Thank you for your thoughts Carly!

    • JennyBC

      This is lovely. Thank you. A beautiful expression of the wisdom of God to make us all one body

    • Nancy

      Carley, what really hit me was "Playing in an orchestra means it's not all about you…" This is really the true for our everyday life whether at home or work or play. God doesn't want our lives to be all about us, but with Him as our "conductor" we can live in harmony. Thank you for this insight.

    • Nicole

      Thank you for sharing! So good!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      This is possibly the best illustration I have ever seen for all being part of one body of Christ…….absolutely love it! Thank you!

    • Shelia

      What a great analogy!

    • Kelley

      Thank you carlybenson for your beautiful analogy….loving your "lessons of community"…

    • Pam B

      Really beautiful analogy. Music is such a great example to use because I feel like we can all relate to it in one way or another. Your story also made me think of my former dance days. It’s not just you out on that stage. There are other dancers too, and we all have to work together and each do our part to make the dance work. Sometimes we all dance at the same time; sometimes we don’t, but we all have to know how it’s all supposed to work in order for the dance to come together.

    • Cindy J

      that was a wonderful Grace of insight! another morsel of bread to make it through another day! thank you Lord for your Spirit! Carly, thank you for sharing. every day I ask where do you want me Lord? listening and being part of the whole. bloom where ever you are is harmony, salt, life through Christ or Lord who gives all we need. faith a given gift, produces love of self and others, giving us and others hope because of Jesus and all his glory! love this study and all you my sisters!

  • german_janne

    Yes, this messy Christian life is reality. This is why he came – not for the clean and perfect, but for the chaotic, failing … This truth has currently dawned on me and your devotion is another piece in the puzzle. Why, oh why do we make non-christians believe, everything will be perfect as soon as they turn to the Lord?

  • Alexis C.

    I love every part of today’s readings and the devotion! Illustrated so basically and simply. We are individually reliant on the whole!

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