The Dangers of Stunted Spirituality
There are three test areas to evaluate if we’re personally doing church right – are we growing in knowledge, love, and service? How do the following verses reinforce the importance of each and their relationship to one another?
Psalm 119:10, 13-16
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. [NIV]
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong
or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. [NIV]
Matthew 25:31-32, 37-46
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” [NIV]
Is there one you would typically tend to think is more important than the other? Could there be any danger in thinking this?
Is there one you would say you’ve grown in understanding or applying more than the other in recent years?
- Our understanding of the “part we play” and our personal area of ministry can be confusing at times. Our calling to serve God shows up in two areas where we have a responsibility to do our part for God’s Kingdom. The first is in our daily life (how we live and interact with those around us) and the second is in support and service to God’s people and his kingdom.
How do the following verses speak to your own vision and focus for your daily life ministry opportunities?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. [NIV]
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all
your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [NIV]
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. [NIV]
How might this view of our ministry and service for God take the pressure off when it comes to ministry? How might it put the pressure on?
- One of the keys to finding the specific “part to play” that God has designed for us is to simply start serving and see where we’re effective and what we gain energy from. What do the following verses tell us about the importance of every single ministry role?
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
1 Corinthians 12:21-26
Have you ever found yourself seeking a role that didn’t fit you? What happened?
At what point can thinking a role doesn’t fit become a cop-out for an unwillingness to serve?
Can you think of anything in your life that could help you or has helped you to learn humility?
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. [NIV]
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. [NIV]
Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. [NIV]
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. [NIV]