In the redemption, Jesus Christ rehabilitated the whole of humanity, putting it back into a right relationship with God. Our Lord’s sacrifice means that now each and every one of us is able to enjoy an intimate, personal relationship with the Father. But developing a spiritual life of our own isn’t the only reason we are here. We are also here to “reach unity in the faith”—to realize Jesus Christ in our shared life in the church.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:27–28). The first great obedience of the church is to Jesus Christ. When the church stops putting Christ first and starts focusing on its own development as an organization, it ceases to be a spiritual society. The reason Jesus Christ places apostles and teachers in the church isn’t to build up a worldly institution; it’s to build up the body of Christ—the unified community of believers.

Am I building up the shared body of Christ? Or am I seeking personal development only? If I am keeping my focus on the essential thing—my relationship to Jesus Christ—then I am doing what is right for the entire body. If instead I am wanting and seeking things for myself, my relationship to Christ and to his community is distorted. It will be a big humiliation to recognize that I haven’t been concerned about realizing Jesus Christ, but only about realizing what he has done for me.

My goal is God himself, not joy nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but himself, my God.

—Frances Brook

Am I measuring my life by this standard, or by something less?

Wisdom from Oswald

The truth is we have nothing to fear and nothing to overcome because He is all in all and we are more than conquerors through Him. The recognition of this truth is not flattering to the worker’s sense of heroics, but it is amazingly glorifying to the work of Christ. Approved Unto God, 4 R