by Pradha Chakravarthy
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers (sisters) to dwell together in unity!… For there the LORD commanded the blessing — life forever” (Psalm 133:1&3).
There is a blessing when we live in understanding and love for one another in the body of Christ. As sisters sometimes it is very hard to build that core fellowship with one another since we are usually occupied with the responsibilities of our own families. Hence, we can easily settle down with a superficial friendly relationship with other sisters in the church. Though fulfilling our purpose in our own home is our primary responsibility, we can also seek to fulfill our responsibility in the body of Christ. “One who has isolated himself seeks his own desires; he rejects all sound judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1). We can have a taste of heaven on earth when we live in love and unity with one another. It might feel like we already have so many things to do, that we won’t have time to spare for others. But when we ask God in prayer, He will give us wisdom, strength and grace to organize our day in such a way that we can take care of the needs of our own home and also bless someone – in prayer or deed.
It is hard to run this race by ourselves. That is why God has placed us in the body of Christ so that we can encourage one another. It is such motivation when we hear from other sisters their word of testimony about how they faced similar trials and how God helped them. It is very important to first have fellowship with God, and through Him with one another (John 15:4).
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).
In Christ-centered fellowship:
• We seek to love one another just as Christ loved us (John 15:12). “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
• Our fellowship with one another draws us closer to Christ. We don’t try to make others dependent on us, but help and direct them to depend on Christ.
• “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
• We treat others just as we would treat Jesus. When we talk to any sister, we keep in mind that Christ dwells in her heart (Ephesians 3:17). This helps us pour out love and compassion on others easily, even at times when it appears that they are not reciprocating that love in the same way.
• We do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). When we consider others more important than ourselves, we learn to respect each another’s opinions, and not overstep boundaries in our relationship with them. In that way we treat them with dignity.
• We seek to not be prideful, because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Perhaps we see some sister not having light in a certain area, and instead of judging her in our heart (prideful), we pray for them and speak kindly and graciously as the Lord leads us (humility). Jesus chose to forgive the woman caught in adultery, and no one could throw a stone at her. Let us always remember how Jesus forgave our sins and not be quick to judge others. The kindness of the Lord has led us to repentance (Romans 2:4), and we should show the same kindness and tolerance to others.
• We remember this warning about condemning others in Romans 14:10-13: “So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.”
• Just as Jesus came to this world to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28), we also seek to serve others – as the Lord puts the burden on our hearts for them – rather than always wanting to be served.
• We are merciful to others and quick to forgive. “Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:13-17).
• We don’t argue with one another. “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong” (Romans 14:1). When the Holy Spirit convicts us of any wrong, we apologize, and continue to love and live in peace with others instead of avoiding them. “If I take offense easily; if I am content to continue in cold unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love” (Amy Carmichael).
• Whatever we do, we do it to please God, and for His glory, not to get recognition or please others. This attitude will help us avoid unhealthy competition and jealousy. We do good without expecting anything in return because our reward is in heaven and we are the children of the Most High (Luke 6:35).
• Our fellowship with one another isn’t “locked in”. Instead, we always make room for others in need to be able to approach us.
• “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Praying for one another brings us closer to each another, and causes us to rejoice in seeing God’s power working among us.
• Each of us has different personality traits, so we accept each another and not allow those differences to be a barrier to fellowship. If we have any misunderstanding, we talk it through instead of building up bitterness in our heart. In that way we do not allow the enemy to bring division among us.
May the Lord teach us each day to be more like Him, and be built together in our local church. We can therefore taste heaven on earth by living in unity with one another through Christ, and thus be lights in this self-seeking world. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). Amen!