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Pointers along the way #625

We need one another

- Jacob Ninan

When we look at the apostle Paul we see someone who was gifted in many ways--great intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, discernment and many spiritual gifts. But there were things he lacked, in terms of mental make-up, experience, resources and opportunities to do things for the churches that needed to be done. He was humble enough to recognise this and to receive help from other members of the body of Christ. See how he was glad to receive prayers for his safety from a church which was not known for their godliness (2Co.1:10,11).

The church in Philippi was known for their love for the people of God even in distant places, and they were willing to serve others with enthusiasm and concern. They first gave themselves to the Lord and then also to His people (2Co.8:1-5). But at the same time, Paul noticed that along with their love they needed to grow in knowledge and discernment (Php.1:9). What we see here that there was something they needed to hear from Paul, while Paul was also dependent on them to meet some of his needs (4:15,16). This is an illustration of how we all need one another in the body of Christ.

We may be willing to receive practical help from others and some may even be willing to ask for it. But what about receiving spiritual help from others in the form of teaching, correction, comfort and encouragement? Or do we think we will take help only from recognised pastors, leaders or those who are known for their godliness? That would be a most foolish approach to take. Much of the feedback about our behaviour and attitudes come from people we deal with in daily life, who may not be even Christians or known for any spirituality. If we ignore their opinions about us, we may live in an imaginary world of our own, feeding our mind with our own thoughts and what we selectively take from 'spiritual' people. Have you heard it said that many times our 'enemies' tell us more truth about ourselves than our 'friends' who want our favour?

Many people think about the donkey God used in connection with the prophet Balaam and say that if God could use a donkey He could also use someone like them. But God used that donkey to correct a prophet. Will we be willing to receive correction from a donkey if God chooses to send us one?

We were born 'wrong', in sin (Ps.51:5), and since then we have done and picked up many more wrong ways of thinking, speaking and behaving. One common way we get to see if we were wrong in our behaviour is to see how other people respond to it. Some people are even 'kind' enough to tell us what they think about us! If we reject all such feedback asking in our mind who these people think of themselves to talk to us like that, or what they can teach us, we are ignoring the hand of God in the process, the 'donkey' He sent for us!

But if we really recognise that there is so much in us to be saved from, we will be actually eager to get feedback. This is different from being slaves to the opinion of man.


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