Every church family has certain characteristics, but what matters most are the core values inside of us. In our scripture, Paul talks about the unity of the church and appeals to Christians to live a life worthy of the calling you receive so that you will experience the unity of the Spirit.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (vv. 1-4)
However, we cannot “keep the unity of the Spirit” if we do not have it. There are four stages of growing in God if we hope to have a relationship with Him: (1) exploring Christ; (2) growing in our understanding of what ‘unity in the spirit’ truly means; (3) pressing toward a deeper relationship with God; and (4) being centered in Christ, obedient to the will of God.
This walk is not easy. There is always something that gets in the way. Examples of some obstructions might include:
- Becoming complacent after experiencing a good moment, believing you have achieved unity with God
- Relying on your religious resume to demonstrate that you are a Christian
- Developing an attitude of superiority and forgetting the importance of humility and obedience
How do we know that we are growing in God and worthy of being called Christians? We know when we:
- Make sacrifices for Christ
- Act Christ-like, be humble, patient, and loving
- Carry God’s Word in our hearts
- Be prayerful every day
Are you growing in God?
Rev. Frank Davis, from the Greater New Jersey Conference, will be our new pastor beginning July 1, 2018. See his biography below.
Frank Davis is previously served as the District Superintendent of the Capital District. He was the pastor of The United Methodist Church at New Brunswick, NJ. He has done extensive work with at-risk youth. He currently counsels many across the country and has served churches in various communities in New York, New Jersey and North Carolina.
He was educated in The United Kingdom, Jamaica, Trinidad, Atlanta, North Carolina and New Jersey, and he is a graduate of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He also completed a Master of Divinity degree with Honors from Drew Theological Seminary.
He attends various continuing education seminars and conferences nationally and overseas. He wants to work with congregations and clergy to develop spiritual leaders and grow vital congregations for the transformation of the world. He has a deep passion for social justice and standing up for those who cannot defend themselves.
He is adventurous and loves to travel to exotic places and enjoys sampling the cuisine! He also loves to parasail, bungee jump, skydive, and white-water raft. He is like a kid on roller coasters!. His passion for chocolate borders on obsessive. His favorite teams are the Giants and the Steelers depending on who is playing and on what day! He recently started playing tennis and enjoys playing for hours.
In the text, Jesus teaches Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council, what it means to be born again. Like many church folk, who work hard in the church and do many good things to show others that they are true believers, Nicodemus did not truly comprehend what “being born again” was all about.
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:3-7
This faith that Jesus is talking about is God’s grace that makes all the difference in our lives when we are able to see it and experience it. We should ask ourselves, do we see life as a prize to be won or as a gift to be received? Jesus invites us to embrace the lessons of grace. Do not worry about trying to impress God by showing how religious you can be. Real faith occurs when no one is watching because God is concerned about our salvation.
Jesus invited Nicodemus to live from a different perspective. Being born from above means having a faith that carries you rather than a faith that you have to carry. When we see and experience God’s grace, it makes all the difference in our lives. We should allow the spirit of God to change our perspective and pray to God to help us to accept the gift of his grace!
God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!