One of my favorite things about the Holy Spirit is how he connects us to all believers in such a deep way. Regardless of age, gender, nationality, experience, education, the size of your bank account, hometown, culture, denomination, or ability level, believers in Jesus Christ have a soul connection. The connection among believers takes the saying, “blood is thicker than water” to new levels. We are bound together by the shed blood of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice. It’s more powerful than DNA or genetics; we have been adopted into the family of God, “having received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry ‘Abba! Father (Romans 8:15)!’” By the power of the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus, the Father has breathed life into us, raising us from the dead and forming us into a resurrection family.
Because of this, we can have really cool interactions with believers we’ve just met. I love hearing stories about believers who don’t know each other but end up praying together or sharing a word from the Spirit with each other. I’ve heard countless stories of Christians who met other Christians on a plane and ended up talking and praying and encouraging each other. My husband and I once spent half an hour chatting with a homeless woman in downtown OKC (he loves talking to strangers). The conversation ended with her praying a prayer of blessing over us, and it was a powerful experience.
It’s amazing to me that the Lord can use family members we’ve just met to teach us, encourage us, and bless us. What’s maybe more amazing is that he can use family members we sit in church with each week to do the same.
Those people in your local church who are odd, dress differently than you, or (heaven forbid) vote differently than you? They are a part of the resurrection family! Those people who’ve hurt you, who parent differently than you, or who make choices you disapprove of? You’ve got a soul connection! The people who rub you the wrong way, whose personalities clash with yours, who annoy you? You are bound to them by the Holy Spirit.
The local church is a gift to believers! We are a family. I don’t mean that in a cheesy, let’s-all-pretend-to-like-each-other-for-an-hour-on-Sunday-morning kind of way, but in a nitty-gritty, have your back, answer if you call at 2 AM kind of way. Church, if we have been adopted into the family of God, if we have been raised to life in Christ, if we have been covered by the blood of Jesus, if we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we must show up for the Church.
Show up on Sunday morning. Believe me, I get that it is hard to get out of bed early and get yourself and your kids looking halfway decent and fed and load up in the car and make it to church on time without fighting or cussing. Sometimes my family comes in late, still steaming from an argument, swearing under our breath. But being at church on Sunday is one way we show up for each other. The writer of Hebrews calls us to “stir one another up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together (Hebrews 10:24-25).”
Your presence matters. Just by being there, you are encouraging the body. When you show up, you are strengthening other believers. When you sing, you are reminding weary saints of the truth of the Gospel, so sing loudly! When you pray, you are lifting up your brothers and sisters to the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. When you confess your sins and share your struggles, you allow others a chance to encourage and affirm you. When you speak words of encouragement to others, you are shoring up weaknesses in them. So show up, in all your mess and pain and weakness. We need you!
Show up to Well Group. We were made for community. It is good and right for us to be in relationship with other believers. Acts 2:42-47 paints a beautiful picture of the early church walking in community. They ate together, prayed together, and studied scripture together. They knew what was going on in each other’s lives and they cared deeply for one another. As our church grows, it is getting harder to maintain deep relationships with everyone, but in Well Groups, you can live in close fellowship with members of our church.
It’s easy to get home from work and decide to stay home and relax or fold laundry or watch This Is Us rather than scarf down dinner and load up the fam to head to Well Group. But again, we must show up for each other. We need you! Your presence matters. Show up and talk, share, laugh, eat! Pray with your Well Group and study the Bible with them. We need deep connections with other believers. One of the most powerful ways the Lord sanctifies us is by using other people. We need each other.
Show up when it really counts. When we’re showing up on Sunday mornings and to Well Groups, we develop deeper relationships with our brothers and sisters. This clues us in to two times when it is absolutely necessary for us to be there for each other: in times of mourning and in times of rejoicing (Romans 12:15). When we are walking in community with other believers, we can show up when it counts. We need to cry together and celebrate together. We need to show up for the funerals, the layoffs, the miscarriages, the scary diagnoses, the depression. Even when it’s hard. We need to show up for the births, the baptisms, the weddings, the promotions, the good news, the answered prayers. Even when it’s hard. We mourn together and we rejoice together.
We are a resurrection family. We belong to God and we belong to each other. We have got to show up for each other. For the glory of God, for the good of the body, and for our joy.