How do you find the kind of group that is practicing real, mutual commitment on a sound scriptural basis? It is not easy in contemporary Christendom to find a group of people who are united to one another through real koinonia.
By God’s grace, I have served in different capacities in the Body of the Christ, but one of the major decisions I made as a Christian was to re-locate to another town without seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. We decided to leave a town where we lived with a vibrant Church and loving sisters and brothers.
Through a series of events we decided to re-locate because of many reasons, but of course one of them was professional opportunities rather than seeking the kingdom first.
During one of home cell meetings with my fellow brothers, I shared about seeking God first in everything– not to move or make major decisions that were not from the perspective of seeking the kingdom of God first. Guess what? I did not live out what I shared when trials came. I kept on justifying my decisions again and again yet I was warned that I would regret my decision.
Of course there were many challenges in the natural that led to our fateful decision, one of them was the neighborhood was rough which strained our marriage, we had young kids, schools were a bit far from where we lived, job opportunities were scarce after losing one, and many other factors. But our situation would have changed if at all we had trusted the Lord. Was it too late for us to go back to that place? No it wasn’t too late.
We’ve waited prayerfully upon God, quite willing, should He show that we were mistaken, to follow His guidance and go back but we haven’t heard anything. Does it mean the Lord doesn’t want us to re-join that fellowship? I don’t think so.
There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do, even if you feel distinctly before the Lord that it is His will for you to do so. If you decide to go ahead (like we did when we moved), you will end up falling into difficulties that will take years of time to put right. Please wait for God’s time to bring it to pass and He will do it without any heartbreak or disappointment. But if at all you doubt; don’t act. Seek God earnestly.
The Bible says, He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) When you seek God, He will direct you to the right family of believers where He wants you to be a blessing. Secondly, don’t plant yourself. The Word of God tells us: Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. (Psalm 92:13) The Bible also tells us: God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. (Psalms 68:6)
First those who are planted in the house of God shall flourish if they’ve been planted in a local church—which is the body of Christ and Jesus is the head of this body (Colossians 1:18) But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.(1 Corinthians 12:18) This shows that we are not the ones who choose where we go to church. It is the Lord because He is the one who set the members, each one of them, in His body as He pleases.
The problem is we don’t seek the Lord to find out where He wants us to be. It is impossible to fulfill your destiny if you are not in the right location of where God wants you to be. Please if you are a Christian don’t re-locate to a city or country unless you know God’s will and purpose in your decision. One Bible teacher advises that we should ask ourselves some of these questions before we make any definite commitment to any group:
- Is the name of Lord Jesus Christ honored and uplifted in that fellowship?
- Do they respect the authority of Scripture?
- Do they make room for the moving of the Holy Spirit?
- Do they exhibit a warm and friendly attitude?
- Do they seek to work out their faith in practical day-to-day living?
- Do they interpersonal relationships among themselves that go beyond merely attending services?
- Do they provide pastoral care that embraces all your legitimate needs?
- Are they open to fellowship with other Christian groups?
- Do you feel at ease and at home among them?
If the answer to most of these questions is “yes” you can join but remember to seek the Lord first because you will never find a perfect group and even if you found one, please don’t join it, because after you did, it would no longer be perfect. Everybody is normal or perfect until you get to know them, but every act of love is a choice not a feeling. How do we get this love – the answer is to develop an intimate relationship with the Lord who gives that love for your neighbor as you love yourself.