Whenever we talk about biblical love, by definition, there’s always a sacrifice involved. What kind of sacrifice is entailed with regards to the gathering of the body of Christ? There are at least 3 of them:
1) The sacrifice of preparation–It takes significant planning to arrive on time and be spiritually ready to worship. That preparation begins at least the night before, if not a couple nights before. Furthermore, there needs to be intentionality in how one prepares one’s heart to worship our Lord and Savior and to interact with God’s people.
This leads to the next sacrifice…2) The sacrifice of engagement–It is undeniable that there is certainly a sacrifice involved in interacting with all types of folks in the body. But that difficulty should never stop us, because it didn’t stop Christ when he chose to love us by dying for us while we were sinners and helpless enemies (Rom. 5). And it doesn’t stop Christ now, even when we sin against him. Yes, they may be sometimes when we feel emotionally and relationally drained after interacting with those in the body, but God will always make sure we have his strength to do his will. On the other hand, if we are unwilling to engage or committed to self-protect, that will lead to a joyless and wearisome life.
Lastly, there is…3) The sacrifice of serving–There should be no passive observers in the body of Christ. As mentioned earlier, showing up for a worship service should not entail something to just sit back and enjoy. No, we are active in prayer as we pray along with what is being prayed, we are active in singing and we are active in listening to the word read and preached. And then we are looking for ways to ease the burden of serving so that it doesn’t fall on just a few shoulders and this can take place in a variety of avenues.
Christ purchased the church with his own blood and now is building his church through the Spirit’s work, and if we are in Christ, we have been given this amazing privilege of getting involved with what he is doing. Let us not neglect obedience in the arena of loving “one another.”