Everyone Mature in Christ (#GetReal)
By Ng Zhi-Wen
Last Sunday was Congregational Shepherding Team (CST) Sunday. I had the opportunity to speak on our Next Lap vision. What’s the vision? To see everyone in Zion Bishan mature in Christ. How do we get there? We #GetDeep, #GetReal and #GetLost. It seemed needful for me to focus on #GetReal.
#GetReal first means getting serious with pursuing a personal vibrant relationship with God. As a kid, I used to ‘rate’ my walk with God (on a scale of 1 to 10), using graph paper to track each day. I had no idea what I was doing then; my ratings were based mostly on my feelings for the day – a hardly valid criteria.
What I needed was to be authentic in my relationship with God, ready to respond to His promptings and work on whatever was not right in His eyes. I also had to open myself to know more about Him. I came to relate to God in a wider variety of ways (as Lord, Saviour, Father, Bridegroom, etc.), and to know more about His love for me. This was real life-giving stuff.
It also led me to take His commands more seriously. Because if I love Him, then I must keep His commandments. And the greatest of them was to love God and to love my neighbour (Matthew 22:37-40). Or perhaps more precisely, to love God by loving my neighbour. That gets one thinking about #GetReal with one another.
I’ve grown more convinced that we need one another to mature in Christ. The apostle Peter urged us to love each other earnestly because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). He was not saying that we ought to cover up our sin! Nor even to pretend nothing happened and politely overlook the offence.
To cover sin up is to do the necessary to restore a relationship broken by sin. James 5:20 speaks of bringing sinners back from their wandering away from God (the truth) as covering a multitude of sins. Psalm 32:1 and 85:2 speak of sins getting covered through forgiveness.
Putting all these scriptures together, what we get is love expressed in seeing fellow believers restored to relational wholeness with God. In other words, it’s wanting to #GetReal with fellow believers so that they in turn may #GetReal with God. It may mean confessing our sins to one another, confronting one another about sin, and speaking God’s good news to one another. Whatever it is, it’s the way to maturity.
We need God’s grace to do this. And lots of practice. Perhaps we can think of Corporate Prayer time as practice time. This is where we get to #GetReal with one another, in the presence of God in prayer. We’ve given more time for this in our services, compared to before the pandemic. And for my part, I hope to practice over the pulpit. Long may it last.