Ok. Let’s be honest. We’ve all probably thought this at some point: What’s the big deal with this whole conversation about One Another? I mean, yes. The Bible is clear in the commands that we should love, serve, pray for, forgive, encourage, and honor one another (to name a few). But isn’t the point of Christianity about my personal faith in Jesus? Isn’t that what I should be most focused on? All this one another-ing talk is good, but at the end of the day following Jesus is about me believing the right things and behaving the right way.
If we boil down our faith journey to its daily common value, this is probably where many of us land. This mindset is completely wrong. If you look at the life of Jesus and his interactions, you’ll notice he’s often talking to individuals about their belief system and drawing them toward a place of trust and obedience in himself. What we sometimes fail to see is that Jesus was building something, and each individual life was a precious and priceless building block in that construction process. Jesus was building his Church.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. -Matthew 16:18
As you venture into the writings of Paul, John, and others, you’ll notice that the teaching and exhortation shifts to an audience of larger groups of people. Jesus is building his Church. Paul addresses his letters to the Church. John speaks endlessly about our love for one another. Following Jesus isn’t about individual faith or belief systems, it’s a Holy Spirit-empowered one another machine churning out evidence that Heaven has come to earth! And there’s more to come!
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
One another isn’t a piece of your belief system. It is the essence of your belief in Jesus. The Church is heralding the arrival of God on earth and Jesus’s future return. It’s always been about packing heaven full with as many people from every tongue, tribe, nation, and background as possible. You and I work with the Holy Spirit to connect people to full life in Jesus and bring them to heaven. Heaven is the point. We were made for Heaven.
C.S. Lewis (20th century author and Christian thinker) said it like this: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”
It wasn’t coincidental that the Christians in the first century were so generous to the poor. They were honest in the business practices and treated their families and neighbors with love and respect. When plague swept the Roman world, the Christians stayed in the city to care for the sick and dying and gave their own lives in the process.
You see, Christ-followers have largely ceased to think of the other world (heaven) and that’s why we’ve become so ineffective in this one. Lewis says it like this: “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: Aim at earth and you will get neither.”
Let’s be careful not to approach our faith as a belief system of personal convictions. If that’s the case, our neighbors and the unreached in our world are in deep trouble.
When we one another we are aiming for heaven. And when we aim for heaven we will make such a mark in this world that others won’t be able to ignore the work of Jesus all around them.
Aiming for Heaven,
White Oak Christian Church