BEFORE THE CHURCH PROSPERS
“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were Edified; and walking in the Fear of the LORD, and in the comfort of the HOLY GHOST, were multiplied.” Acts 9: 31
There are always two dimensions or sides to the prosperity and advancement of any people, places or things. These dimensions are pivotal for any sustainable change to happen in all facets of life. And the Church is part of those systems or organism that thrives when these dimensions are explored dutifully according to GOD’s Will and Commands. These dimensions are simply Growth and Development. Interestingly, the order of naming, though as common as commonly used is opposite to the order of importance or attention.
For any system or people to advance in a sustainable manner, Development must always come before Growth – this is the irreversible order of the prosperity of anything that must last. The Church must know what it takes for her Development and what is needed for her Growth.
As followers and disciplers of CHRIST and also as HIS Bride, it is necessary that we know what HE defines as the elements and dimensions of prosperity and how it can be a reality for the present Church. Most times, when prosperity is being mentioned, what comes to mind of people outside the Church is increase in the monetary and material blessings. In the same light, whenever it is said that a Church is prospering, what comes to mind is the number of Church members and perhaps the hugeness of the amounts of offerings raised during an engagement.
And when asked about how prosperity becomes a reality, we come with all kinds of theories of faith and confessions and declarations; the efficiencies of which could not be denied. But according to the Book of Joshua, prosperity is a process and it does not suggest repeated declarations about receiving abundance of money or resources. It is a dutiful process that evolves with time based on conscious efforts, constancy and consistency.
Fortunately, the elements that bring about dimensions of prosperity of the Church were evident in the lives of the Apostles and Disciples of CHRIST when the Church was instituted by CHRIST and the HOLY SPIRIT through JESUS’ Apostles.
Biblical vocabulary of Development is simply Edification while that of Growth is simply Multiplication. It is this dual combination that would sustainably facilitate the eternal prosperity of the Church.
This simply means to Build, Repair and Nurture. It obviously also means Development i.e. adding things together from the smallest unit up to the greatest level in order to form a wholesome experience, person or system.
The Building has to do with the careful addition of layers upon layers while Repair has to do with making corrections and adjustments to the affected additions and Nurture deals with the coordination of how these successive additions work together in sync for required productivity.
It must be duly noted that Edification can only be optimal or effective if the atmosphere or condition is right. Without the right conducive atmosphere, edification would either be partly successful or unwholesome.
And this needed condition is Peace with GOD and men. It is in this condition that one could either build up himself or others.
Paul mentioned building up ourselves in the most holy faith . . . what faith is holier than that of CHRIST and this faith of CHRIST is the only element that can guarantee us Peace with GOD. It is the faith of CHRIST that will give us the inner peace and help us facilitate the Peace we need to attain before men.
That Peace with GOD is Grace which manifests in us because we have Faith required to please HIM. So when a man’s ways please the LORD because of his Faith, GOD makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
So peace with GOD gives us the capacity to build, nurture and repair people, Places, Things and Systems.
Peace with men of like faith work with us as the Edification Team; while peace with men who are not for us will be secured through our blameless conducts and GOD’s machinations so as to give us the opportunities, work and resources (Time, People, Money) to Build efficiently and effectively.
This is exactly how Edification or Development should look like in the Church. What every builder must understand and learn is that Peace with GOD, fellow believers and non-believers is very essential in building up people of GOD in the most holy faith.
Our focus must be to foster peace with GOD through HIS HOLY SPIRIT and relate with fellow man through CHRIST in us. Our lives will be more productive if we are first committed to building peace before building the people because the fruits of righteousness are sown in peace by those who make peace.
So if we want to sow the fruit of righteousness that automatically fosters peace, the environment must speak and exude peace within and without. As the Church, we must not make the error of fostering peace within ourselves before trying to foster peace with GOD. This is because the Author of our faith and the Head of the Church is CHRIST and only through HIM could we have everlasting Life and Peace in abundance.
The motive of any Edification or Developmental process is Perfection and the only ONE that is perfect is GOD – The FATHER, The SON and The HOLY SPIRIT. Therefore, doing things outside the HOLY SPIRIT is a recipe for disaster especially for the Church. If there is going to be a lasting peace both within and without, then we must be connected and attentive to the HOLY SPIRIT.
May HIS Peace Be With You!