I’ll never forget how God spoke to me though the prayers of another mom. Our fourth son couldn’t learn his alphabet in kindergarten. He remembered some letters one day but forgot them by the next. Late in my pregnancy, our doctor recommended an abortion because of an indication of Down syndrome. Now this learning problem seemed to confirm that something indeed was wrong. The enemy hurled fears into my mind. How could our son ever read, work, even survive if he couldn’t learn the alphabet! But when this other mom asked God to give us the confidence that he had given Philip everything needed to accomplish God’s purposes in his life, my fears fell away. What more could we want for our son?
Then there was the time when a man in our church shared with a group of us that he struggled, as did the Apostle Paul, both with doing what he did not want to do and with not doing what he did want to do. I understood in that moment that I needed to come to terms with that struggle with sin in myself—acknowledging the activity of the serpent and silencing him with God’s help.
Without belonging to a gospel-centered church, I would have missed out on experiences like these. I learned that God reveals himself through fellow believers as we participate together in…
- Worship, including singing, Scripture reading and actively listening to the sermon. Singing and Scripture reading act as “vehicles by which we can worship the Lord. We can enter into his presence and commune with God. We can see God for who he is and then respond accordingly. We must take this time seriously. We can never think of worshiping the Lord as merely a rote exercise. Worship continues as we listen to a godly message from the Word of God. When our hearts’ focus is right, we hear the message as God having a conversation with us. Worship is an encounter with God.”
- Teaching and learning. Scripture tells us that we’re to teach and caution each other and that one Christ follower sharpens another as iron sharpens iron. We never outgrow the need to seek wisdom.
- The community of faith. Scripture describes the depth of community that grows out of regular  worship, instruction, prayer and service together as citizenship with the saints and membership in the household of God.
Revelation of the divine within a safe and intimate community is both the outcome of and the motivation for believer-to-believer discipling. Effective discipling is grounded in intentional relationships in which we encourage, equip and challenge one another in love and humility to grow toward maturity in Christ. God designed the church to flourish spiritually in a state of mutual interdependence among believers for his glory and for the benefit of the world, all the way down to the level of the individual believer. In fact, we curtail our spiritual maturity when we neglect self-sacrificing involvement in the church.
There’s no need to be offended by expectation of church involvement, unless one presumes to have a better plan than God. It’s just the way it is. We might as well be offended at the time of day that he determines the sun will rise or his design for us to consume food throughout the day. Moreover, when we’re able to submit to God’s way of doing things, we come to see that his way is far more gracious and wonderful than the way we might have chosen on our own.
In addition, the love and personal investment in us that are offered by fellow followers of Christ increase our willingness to be transparent with them, further opening the door to greater unity with God as he works through them to refine us. Without this transparency and the shared goal of maturity in Christ, we’re spiritually at risk. “When the only person that truly knows all about us is the person who uses our hairbrush, we are easy pickings for the Enemy, ripe for being outmaneuvered and outsmarted.”
Regularly seeking Jesus through a community of believers goes hand in hand with seeking him in prayer and checking our understanding for consistency with his Word. In fact, it’s through all of these as well as our circumstances (over which God is sovereign) that he confirms for us his character and his will. When we seek God in the ways he has prescribed, the Holy Spirit’s revelations to us begin to align and to direct us on a holy trajectory for divine purposes. The thing is, we have to be expectantly watching and listening for him through all of the means that he prescribes, including his church.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-16 (emphasis added)
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
- In what areas do you need to shore up your involvement in the community of faith so that you’re not easy pickings for Satan?
- Reflect on a time when God spoke to you through another believer. Did you follow up on your understanding of what was communicated by praying about it and assessing its consistency with Scripture? If the communication was affirmed in this way, did you act on it or dismiss it?
For those who are not participating in a community of faith: Father God, please help me to tune my heart to hear you speak through other believers. Please lead me to a community of faith where this will be possible and give me the desire, courage and trust in you to seek spiritual maturity with them.
For those participating in a community of faith: Dear Lord, thank you for the great privilege of sharing life with others who seek you. I pray that you would strengthen and deepen our relationships for your glory. Please help us to grow even more in our ability to hear and confirm your voice and to obey.
EXCERPTS READY TO SHARE (copy and paste)
- God speaks to us through fellow believers. Are you experiencing this in your church? https://karen.lindia.com/2016/12/21/seeking-jesus-through-fellow-believers/
- Revelation of the divine is both the outcome of and the motivation for believer-to-believer discipling. https://karen.lindia.com/2016/12/21/seeking-jesus-through-fellow-believers/
- God designed the church to flourish spiritually in a state of mutual interdependence among believers. https://karen.lindia.com/2016/12/21/seeking-jesus-through-fellow-believers/
- We curtail our spiritual maturity when we neglect self-sacrificing involvement in the church. https://karen.lindia.com/2016/12/21/seeking-jesus-through-fellow-believers/
- Without transparency and the shared goal of maturity in Christ, [the Church and its members] are spiritually at risk. https://karen.lindia.com/2016/12/21/seeking-jesus-through-fellow-believers/
- When we seek God as he has prescribed…he guides us onto a holy trajectory for divine purposes. https://karen.lindia.com/2016/12/21/seeking-jesus-through-fellow-believers/
- If we want to hear from God, we have to be expectantly watching and listening for him … always. https://karen.lindia.com/2016/12/21/seeking-jesus-through-fellow-believers/
 Robert Morris, “Hear God’s Voice Through Worship,” Chapter 4 in Frequency: Tune In. Hear God (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2016), Kindle edition, 77–78.
 Greg Ogden, “Life Investments: It’s All About Relationships,” Chapter 6 in Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 129. Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, James 5:14,
 Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer, “Struggling Well: True Faith in Real Life,” Chapter 4 in Recovering Redemption: A Gospel Saturated Perspective on How to Change (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2014). Kindle edition, 76–77.
 Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King, “God Speaks, Part 2,” Unit 6 in Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Workbook) (Nashville: LifeWay Press, 1990), 107.