Most of the things we think of as choices are really consequences: no one chooses to have a good marriage, for instance, or to be financially stable, or even to enjoy a spiritual lifestyle. All of these things are the consequences of the choices we make with God, and who we respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 28).
Our general charge as members of a corporate body is to participate with other saints in what the Lord is building, and we need to have a functional [practical, spiritually defined] agreement that everyone in the local ekklesia supports and upholds as our predominant values, if we are to expect our members to grow in unity with one another and our assemblies to thrive in the Spirit.
Every day, God gives us 4 choices [values]:
1. Our attitude [of thanksgiving], reflected in our daily walk with God
2. How we treat others [our relationships with one another]
Are we considering how our actions affect those in our ekklesia?
Are we considering how our actions affect those in the entire body of Christ?
3. Our acts of service [serving one another and sharing Christ with others]
4. Our honesty [willingness to be accountable for our actions]
Notice, the root of every transgression can be traced back to a violation of one of these spiritual choices.
Also notice, nothing is done by force, but rather, through trusting the work of the Holy Spirit, and this trust is expressed in the way we communicate with one another. At all times, our communications with other believers should evidence our concern for and interest in their spiritual well-being:
As evidenced by a gentle conversational tone and manner
Honest and direct communication
- To encourage consideration for one another
- To encourage one another to walk in truth
- To celebrate individual and corporate joys
- To share griefs and burdens
Adherence to Matthew 18:15-18 in cases of clear transgressions against the brethren
When there is a problem, the tendency of man is to add to what God has ordained, increasing complexity and injecting confusion and controversy to the simplicity of God’s design: this is never the answer. The answer is to return to the foundation of what God has ordained by trusting the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer and assembly. Within the assembly, the responsibility for modeling a spiritual process falls upon the elders who co-labor with the Holy Spirit to facilitate His work among the saints:
Emphasizing what is working and acknowledging past successes
Accurately defining and describing the current concern
Inviting input from all the saints [which communicates faith in the work of the Holy Spirit in each believer, affirms the gift of God in the saints, and inspires individual accountability and a corporate repentance]
Modeling repentance and providing scriptural clarifications, as necessary
Provoking the witness of the saints, as one body [as opposed to telling them what to think and do]
Summarizing corporate agreements and decisions and clarifying new corporate commitments
Agreement in what is valued and consistency in how we communicate is essential to the development of trust, love, and unity among the saints.
A true, spiritual father affirms the gift of God that he sees in the saints and encourages them in their callings, as men and women who are called to God, and only bound to others through that calling of love and election [it is the work of God].
Therefore, at all times, elders [and the aged women in the Lord] communicate to the saints in a way that emphasizes the deep value that they have to God and their inherent spiritual ability to do the works of God, according to their calling: and this includes the ability to respond in a way that is Spirit-led to any issue of concern that arises within the assembly.