Some things just go together. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Cereal and milk. Those are good, but it gets better!
You and I are better together, too! Welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for joining me because I do this for you!
I spent about ten hours alone in the car yesterday. I was driving across three states so that I could be here for some meetings over the next couple of days. I must have called my wife half a dozen times as I drove! She and I are better together. She has skills and insights that I do not, and when she shares them with me they help me do what I do better. She’s taught me the wisdom of Henry Ford’s observation that coming together is a beginning; staying together is progress; working together is success.
Today’s verse says IF ANYONE IS IN CHRIST HE IS A NEW CREATION
When you become one of the people who has decided to follow Jesus, it begins by putting your faith in Him as your savior. When we say that Jesus is our Lord with our mouth and believe in HIs resurrection from the dead with our heart a transformation occurs inside of us. We become the new creation that our verse today speaks about. THEN WHAT??
Well, God’s plan for His new creation is very much like what we see when a new baby is born into the world. In the physical realm, the best thing for a new baby is to be received by a loving family that can care for its needs until it has grown up enough to care for itself. That’s a process of growth that one the one hand takes time and on the other hand never really stops. There are always challenges to be overcome, of course, because no family is perfect. But the goal is clear – grow to the point of independence. And then, for most of us, repeat the process.
This plan is an example for us in the spiritual realm, too. The best thing that can happen when someone comes to faith in Christ is for them to become part of a family that loves God and loves them. This is called a church. It’s a place where spiritual needs can be met while you’re learning and growing, while you’re coming to the place of spiritual maturity. But just as you never outgrow your family, your role within the family simply changes as you grow and mature; you never outgrow the church. You always have a role to play because God has made us to work together.
There are different families and there are different churches. There are no perfect examples of either one, by the way. If you think you’ve found “the perfect church” it’s similar to thinking you’ve found “the perfect family.” Some of them may look that way, but it’s really just a matter of getting to know them better. I’ve heard preachers jokingly say, “If you ever DO find the perfect church – PLEASE DON’T JOIN IT!! You and I would ruin it if we did, because neither one of us is perfect.”
As these NEW CREATIONS, we need to be part of a church that is faithful to His word (the bible) and will teach us how to grow into our calling as part of His body. Following Jesus will always involve some sort of service, because He has gifts and talents He has placed within us. He intends us to use those to do the good works that He created for us to walk in. As we do, we will find that our faith grows and becomes stronger and stronger within us. We were created to be part of His Body and to be His hands, His feet and His voice.
We are all connected. Every person who has placed their faith in Jesus and has become this NEW CREATION that today’s verse describes is connected to one another. Jesus says that He is the vine and we are the branches. There may be a bunch of different branches producing lots and lots of fruit, but in the end they are all connected to Him. To bear fruit, we have to STAY connected — to Jesus and to one another.
Our life and our growth are a function of these two connections. We are part of a body, and we need the rest of the body to function. Christ is the head of the body, and we need to stay connected to Him, too.
So let me ask you some important questions. First, are you connected to Christ? Have you made the decision to follow Him? If not, what’s holding you back? If there’s a question you have about following Jesus or an issue that’s stopping you, use the comment section or even a direct message to let me know what it is. Second, if you are following Jesus, have you found a good, biblical church that can help you grow in your gifts and become all God has intended? If not, what’s holding you back?
The thing about a living faith, significant growth and doing the works that God has created in advance for us to walk in is this — It’s All Connected.