Inspiration

Don’t Just Believe. Belong!

"God's family is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15b GW)

You are called to belong, not just believe.

Even in the perfect, sinless environment of Eden, God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18b NIV).

We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God's purposes by ourselves. The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits.

While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. In God's family you are connected to every other believer. The Bible says, "In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others" (Romans 12:5 NIV).

Following Christ includes belonging, not just believing. C.S. Lewis noted that the word "membership" is of Christian origin, but the world has emptied it of its original meaning. Stores offer discounts to "members," and advertisers use member names to create mailing lists. In churches, membership is often reduced to simply adding your name to a roll, with no requirements or expectations.

To Paul, being a "member" of the church meant being a vital organ of a living body, an indispensable, interconnected part of the Body of Christ. We need to recover and practice the biblical meaning of membership. The church is a body, not a building, an organism, not an organization (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 6:15; 12:12-27).

Talk About It

- What does it look like practically for every member to "belong to all the others"?

- How are you practicing the biblical meaning of being a member of your church?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © Copyright 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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