By Jim Biscardi, Jr.
As Great Commission believers, we are called to make disciples. This means we are called to be educators. Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations …teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28: 19-20.
There’s an area of Christian education that can be easily forgotten – that we are partners with the Lord and each other in helping one another mature as Christians. We are partners in the process of helping each other to be shaped into the image of Christ.
Ephesians 4:16 says, “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Here are ways we can become effective “growth partners” for the brethren….
- We bear with other Christians’ personalities and habits by remembering “there but for the grace of God go I.” (Ephesians 4:2) Remember the words of Jesus in John 13: 14, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
- Even when our brother or sister in Christ is clearly wrong in what they’ve said or done, we try hard to tell them in a way that keeps the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2).
- We consider ourselves to be incomplete without the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ and therefore speak the truth to them. We remember, “… each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” (Ephesians 4:25).
- We show kindness to other Christians, by getting to know them well enough to be sensitive and not hurt them (Ephesians 4:32).
- We don’t hold grudges. We’re not hard-hearted. When we see they regret what they’ve done, we forgive them in the same manner as God, for Christ’s sake, forgives us (Ephesians 4:32).
- We submit ourselves as instruments in God’s hand to help our brothers and sisters in Christ – even if there’s the possibility of being hurt or misunderstood by them. If that makes us feel uncomfortable and humble at times, we do it anyway (Ephesians 5:21). We remember “…that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
- We are consistent and diligent in praying for other Christians (James 5:16).
- We serve our brothers and sisters in Christ by faithfully using the gifts God has given us. (Galatians 4:13, Romans 12:4-9)
- If our brethren are overtaken in a fault, and seem to be sliding off the track, we don’t ignore them but try to restore them, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading (Galatians 6:1).
- Though it costs us time, energy, and money, we bear our brother’s or sister’s burden. (Galatians 6:2).
- Our care for all the brethren is the same. In this way we really practice unity (1Corinthians 12:25-26). Everyone in the kingdom of God should know what to expect – that help will always be there when he/she needs it.
- We try to prefer others over ourselves. We stay in fellowship with our brethren, so we know their needs. We are not just concerned about our own needs but make every effort to provide for the needs of others – even the “lowliest” of the brethren (Philippians 2:3-4, Romans 12:16).
- We don’t make “deals” with Christians or with God (like Jacob in Genesis 28:20). We don’t make others feel they “owe” us anything. And we don’t let others make us feel that way about them. However, we remember that what we “owe” is to love the brethren as Christ loves us. (Romans 13:8).
- We avoid judging our brethren. Instead, we’re careful not to make them feel they should do something that they really don’t believe they should do. (Romans 14:12-13, 23).
- We make a point to faithfully build up and encourage the brethren (Romans 14:19-20). Proverbs 10: 11, 20, 21 have two constants: First, a righteous man and second, words that nourish and refresh others. Let’s get a reputation like Job got, “Thy words have upheld him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.” (Job 4:4).
- We’re not prejudice. We accept all brethren equally regardless of race, gender, age, or financial status (Romans 15:7, James 2:1).
- We regularly study the Word of God to be able to help instruct and even admonish our brethren when necessary (Colossians 3:16).
In our role as Christian educators and “growth partners”, let’s remember that our actions speak volumes about what we really believe. And, also let’s not focus our energy so much on the masses as we do on one brother or sister at a time. Remember our Lord’s words in Matthew 25:40, “…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Jesus never let the masses dissuade or discourage Him from helping people one by one. In Luke 8:40, the multitude pressed about Him. Yet in verses 41-56, we read that He took time to minister to one man and one woman in need [Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood]. Jesus calls us to do the same.
As growth partners, let’s do what we can to help others – one person at a time. Let God then, as we mature in Christ, add others as we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33).
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As a teacher, author, columnist, and president emeritus of New Jersey Christian Ministries, Jim Biscardi has been “privileged for many years to help Christians grow in their knowledge of Christ.” You can find his books at barnesandnoble.com or amazon.