Verse 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
Paul may have been in prison thinking about his Christian friends but he didn’t think only about the chains. He understood that living the life of faith and loving fellow believers was a way of confirming the Gospel.
We have a tendency to think of our faith in a solely personal way. When we talk about how much we are growing spiritually, we list the things that we are doing like how many devotionals we read a day or how many times we go to church on Sunday. We may even list the good deeds that we do on a daily basis.
These things are good in helping us grow but if we are thinking we are going to grow without growing in the Church and helping the Church grow, we are missing the truth of our work in confirming the Gospel. While the internal work of the Gospel is the work of the Spirit, part of His working in our lives and through our lives is the growth that reveals Him in our lives externally.
Paul knew that lives lived through the work of the Holy Spirit would confirm the Gospel. The Good News is made known to those around us through our lives. By living like Christ, as all Christians should, we are proving the truth of who He is. Could this be a reason that many don’t understand that God is real?
So what does it mean to grow as a Church? This, of course, doesn’t mean just the growth of numbers, although that could very well be a result. There are very intentional ways that we can grow spiritually as a Church and each one of them takes a commitment of each individual to live the truth of the Gospel. We are not our own. Jesus bought us with His blood and He should be in the place of Lord in our life. Only when we have Him as the Lord of our lives will we grow deeper as an individual and the Church will be growing too. This is when we really start shining His light brightly enough that the world around us will take notice. This is when we really start being the Church Jesus has called us to be.
Making It Personal
How intentional are you in growing spiritually? How are you trying to help the Church grow spiritually? Are you allowing the Church to help you grow spiritually?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it look like to grow spiritually? How does Jesus want you to grow spiritually? Do you want to grow to be more like Jesus?
Father, thank You for giving us a way of helping each other grow. Give us understanding about how You want us to live as a Church. Grow us to be more and more like You and to live lives that confirm the Gospel to those around us. In Jesus’ name, amen.