Focal Passages: Ephesians 4:4-7, 14-16, 25-32
My childhood home, as well as the house my family lives in
now, are heated primarily with wood. Needless to say, I’ve built my fair share
of fires over the years. I am often amazed at how a bed of coals can continue
to glow with heat throughout the most frigid of nights. If you watch closely,
the coals almost seem to breathe as waves of heat and flame pulsate through
them. Add dry wood and a sufficient draft of air, and before long flames will
dance and sway as heat billows out of the stove door.
Some years ago on one of those frigid mornings, I opened the
door and found that familiar bed of pulsating coals.
Out of curiosity, I took the fire poker and rolled the
biggest coal in the bunch over to the side of the firebox all by itself.
Although it was twice the size of the others, it wasn’t long
before its flame flickered and it grew dark and still.
“So that’s it,” I thought. “Those coals survive the night by
sharing one another’s heat.”
To check my theory, I reached over and slid it back against
the rest of the sizzling coals, and sure enough, it wasn’t long before it began
to smoke and crack; then it began to glow red. Soon flames leaped from it
It’s the same with you and me as brothers and sisters in
Christ. We are the coals.
As we remain connected with one another through intentional
involvement in the faith community called the Church, we strengthen one another
Together, our ‘spiritual temperature’ can remain high. We
will not only survive the glacial spiritual darkness of this world, but we will
radiate the light of truth. But isolated from one another our spiritual flame
fades, squelched by the concerns of this life. Our lives no longer pulsate with
the heat of the Holy Spirit. We become lukewarm.
The spiritual connection we enjoy in the Church of Jesus
Christ is a blessing we must not take for granted. We need each other.
We were born (again), not into isolation, but into a
spiritual family — God’s family.
Therefore, “Let us consider one another in
order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves
together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the
more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NKJV).