For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18
Shared commitment begins with a daily devotion to the cross of Jesus and inspires the incredible power of Christian relationships. When we apply the lessons of the cross to our daily lives, godly relationships are the natural result. For example, the sacrifice Jesus exhibited at the cross teaches us the standard for commitment to one another and willingness to die to self. The devotion of God displayed through the cross defines what “love” really means (1 John 4:10). The lessons of the cross translate into committed relationships when we truly put them into practice (John 13:34-35, Acts 5:12-14).
Consider how often you think about the cross of Jesus. How often do you consider the implications of the cross and believe it represents power in our lives? Do you believe the cross will change our relationships in the church?
Then Jesus said to all the people: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me. If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it.
Luke 9:23-24 CEV
There is no commitment to one another without the cross. Jesus’ example of dying to self powerfully proclaims that living for self is a dead end! We are motivated to leave our selfish ways and devote our lives to others because Jesus did that for us.
So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
1 Corinthians 12:24-26 NLT
Shared commitment to the cross produces a shared commitment to one another. We are all equally responsible for our brothers and sisters, which means that we are equally responsible for the health of the church.
To evaluate your commitment to the cross of Christ as evidenced by your relationships, consider the following questions (John 13:34-35):
- In the last week, how have you served the people around you (John 13:1-16)?
- Are you more passionate about your own successes and failures than you are about the successes and failures of others (2 Corinthians 11:29 NCV)?
- How emotionally involved are you with the disciples around you (2 Timothy 1:3-4, 2 Corinthians 2:4)?
- What do your daily life, your schedule, and your goals reveal about your devotion to the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16)?
As we strive to be daily more committed to the cross of Christ, let us, in turn, take on a shared commitment to one another as the body of Christ. When we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us, let us decide to live sacrificially for each other. As we enjoy the forgiveness of God, let us be motivated to lay down our lives so others will know that forgiveness, as well. Only in devoting our lives in love to one another will we experience the perfect love of God made complete among us.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:9-12
Here are some practical ways to work at deepening your relationships and our commitment to one another as a church:
- Share with each other your conversion stories in detail and on heart level. Share the struggles and the pain of overcoming and repenting of sin. Knowing how we came to enter the Kingdom draws us close to each other. Knowing each other’s sinful character and emotions is a key to closeness.
- Pray for specific needs for one another daily (John 17:1-26).
- Commit to honesty in relationships (Ephesians 4:15). This is not just pointing out weaknesses, but pointing out strengths and building each other’s faith in God’s Word!
- Spend time together to build trust and closeness. Consistent dinners in our households, prayer times, family times, fun times and times to study the Bible together must take priority in our lives (John 1:39).
- Confess your sins to one another, and James 5:16 promises healing! Being open about guilt and temptations is a great way to start.