Active Participants: Part 2

Being active is part of a healthy lifestyle. We know this to be the case with our physical health. They say that a “body at rest tends to stay at rest, but a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” When we stop being active it is difficult to get active again. The same is true of our spiritual health. We need to stay active. We need to keep participating in God’s mission.

The article last week looked at creation as God’s desire for us to participate with Him. He creates the world and then tells Adam and Eve to have dominion/rule/reign depending on your translation. Whichever word we use, the idea is that the Creator, the King of Kings, is asking the created to be king of the garden.

God is relational, existing as Father, Son, and Spirit. And God has always desired that we, as His creation, would be part of the relationship. It’s not because God is lonely or needy, but because God’s love overflows.

Christ came so that we might have the privilege of being active participants in the life of God. This idea emerges most clearly in the Gospel of John. “…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. …   I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:21, 23).

When we come together collectively as the church, we are not here to consume religious goods. We are here to participate with God and to participate with one another. This is what we do when we take the Lord’s Supper. We remember our Lord, and by doing so we participate with God and with those who partake. “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). When we sing, we are singing to God and we are singing to one another (Ephesians 5:19). And, when we pray, we are praying to God with one another and for one another.

During the week, in our spiritual lives as individuals, we should think of ourselves as active participants. Our participation doesn’t stop on Sunday. Instead, what we do collectively should encourage us to participate in what God would have us to do individually throughout the week. We are to follow in the way of Christ, which means being willing to humbly serve others, instead of serving the idols of power, pride, and worldly status (Philippians 2:5-7).

Paul provides us with a great example of one who was willing to put aside everything that the dominant culture valued in order that he might participate with Christ (Philippians 3:4-11). At one time, Paul was a persecutor of the church, inflicting suffering upon others, but after knowing Christ, Paul wanted to participate in the “fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10).

Let’s participate, even if it means a path of suffering, ridicule, and scorn.