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United by The Spirit

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” - John 4:23-24 ESV

The engine hummed as I sat in my 2011 Hyundai Elantra. I took a moment to pray in hopes of washing my nerves away. I was about to walk into a small group meeting for the first time in four years. The sweet group hostess had previously called to welcome me to the group and assured me attendees were few.

To some, attending a small group is nothing to be nervous about, but I was soberly aware of the significance of this night. I gathered my things, shut off the engine and headed toward the door. For me, the threshold of the door symbolized a step of obedience to embark on the journey the Lord had set. This was putting faith into action and leaving fear behind. All I wanted was a family of believers and a place to belong. 

I did, indeed, step through that threshold and the next two years brought countless steps of faith, new relationships and healing moments. I assumed this church was my home. The only problem, my husband has never been able to integrate into this church with me. When he attended, he experienced intense episodes of PTSD from time in the military. After over a year of prayer and longing to have him at my side, the prayer was answered in an unexpected way.

We tried another church where I had been attending a women’s bible study. My husband found relief and enjoyment in a way he wasn’t able to before. This new church was small but connected in a way that felt warm and homey. We were finally able to attend regularly, together. The Lord was calling us to this new church.

 I knew it was a biblically sound church and I already came to know the ladies who attend there. But what about MY church? Did the time spent there mean nothing? Would I lose the relationships I made? Why did God bring me to a church, just to leave it? 

I heard the Lord asking me, “Whom do you follow?”

For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? - 1 Corinthians 1:11-13 ESV

Sometimes we grip so tightly to an expectation, that we disable ourselves from following God. Brick-and-mortar buildings are not our home, Jesus is. We don’t follow the church establishment or a specific pastor, we follow Jesus. We belong to a spiritual body, marked by The Spirit within each individual. We belong because Jesus has called us His and the reach of members are not limited.

There is no need to disown one church to own another, but rather the individuals in the body of Christ are spread throughout the earth, not divided by building, city or nation. There is no division as we are all under Christ. 

He did not take away my church family, but He did change my expectation of what it means to belong. There is one body, one church, one Spirit, one God and I belong anywhere I find my brothers and sisters marked by The Spirit.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV

Sometimes, the way God thinks doesn’t make sense because we are so used to thinking in physical terms. No matter how it looks, the next step of obedience is just as impactful and necessary as the one before. 

I realize now that God just wanted to bless me with more of His family. I not only have these two congregations to draw relationships from, but the ladies of Made to Conquer have also become some of my closest friends. If we can learn to live with open hands, in excitement for what the Lord does next, we may be surprised how He blesses us.

Remember to prioritize firsthand Bible reading every day, only the Word has the power to transform. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

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