Welcome to Daily Steps!
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, prayer prompts, and action steps to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.
Acts 2:42, 4:32 "All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer. All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had." (NLT)
The Courage to Be Known
The most compelling line of the 2009 blockbuster movie Avatar is arguably its shortest —"I see you." It's only three simple words, not unlike the short phrase "I love you," but when they are spoken by the two lead characters, they are far less trite and intensely more personal. This powerful phrase in the context of the story communicates undying loyalty mingled with fierce accountability. In essence "I see you," not only acknowledges the other person's presence and value, but it also embraces his or her strength and weaknesses. The entire plot of the movie, in fact, hangs on the premise that every living being longs to be fully known, respected, and valued for what they bring to the table of life — regardless of their flaws, shortcomings, and individual goals.
Much like the phrase, "I see you," the Greek word koinonia encapsulates a deep, satisfying connection among a community of believers based on a similar premise — God created us with an unquenchable longing to be known by Him and one another in a one-of-a-kind fellowship. While many people try to fill this unquenchable longing with other things and activities, it can never be truly satisfied without the dual action of loving and being loved by God and other believers. It's simply the way He designed us to exist. We are made in His image, which means we will never be truly satisfied until we are fully known and fully seen by Him and others in a trusted, dynamic community.
This is what Luke meant when he described the early gathering of believers in Acts 4:32 as "all... united in heart and mind." Notice that "all" of the believers were on board with this inclusive yet accountable Gospel-centered approach — no one was left out, or perhaps, more importantly, opted out to live life on their own. They lived to know — and to be known by — one another. This was not a "social media" kind of knowing people, either. It would've been impossible for early Christians to portray themselves as anything other than who they truly were. There was no such thing as compartmentalizing your life or concealing your weaknesses. Likewise, it would've been impossible for a person to visit a gathering of 1st-century believers and slip in and out unnoticed. The early church experience was similar to the way "I see you," is used in the movie Avatar — that kind of "seeing" takes incredible courage and vulnerability. Many believers today act as though we can fulfill the longing to be known by saying hello, sharing a carefully curated slice of ourselves, and restricting our commitments to the boundaries of our comfort zones. However, God's plan for us is to live, love, and work together in unity outside of our comfort zones both on an individual on a collective level.
Together, in a symbiotic manner made possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to live, love and serve together to help one another become more like Jesus. In this way, when we are united in koinonia, we become simply magnetic to the world around us. This week as you read through the scripture passages below, ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and to reveal ways in which you can more fully support — and participate in — koinonia.
Daily Bible Readings
This week, as you go through the daily readings below, ask the Holy Spirit to make each of the passages deeply personal and applicable to you. (NOTE: We suggest you read each of these passages in several different versions of the Bible, including at least one paraphrase version.) As you contemplate these passages, make time to pray before and after you read them. Write down anything the Holy Spirit whispers to your soul.
Monday — Read Galatians 6:1-3 and Hebrews 10:24-25. Human beings aren't inclined to naturally seek out accountability. As much as we'd like to imagine that we are born with an earnest desire for others to encourage us to stick with our goals, stay on the right course, and grow in our weakest areas, we naturally seek the path of least resistance without any scrutiny. Sometimes we even choose to leave a fellowship of believers because we don't want the accountability and commitment that comes with it. However, God designed us to hold one another accountable in love — not with the goal of restricting us in life, but with the intention of spurring us to freedom in Christ. Take some time this morning to compare and contrast your perception of accountability versus God's design for a koinonia community brimming over with His love. If you feel resistant to being vulnerable, ask Him to help you figure out why and how to move forward. If you've been hurt in the past because you were vulnerable with others, ask Him to bring healing to your heart and the courage to seek out and participate in a community of believers again.
Tuesday - Read John 17:20-23. In this passage, Jesus prays for unity among all those who will follow Him throughout the ages. Read His plea to the Father and search your heart for how you are — and how you are not — living in obedience to Jesus’ heart cry for those He loves. Recognize that supporting unity takes commitment and is not easy to maintain when the going gets tough. Even still, God calls us to stick with the fellowship that He's called us to be with, through thick and thin. Write down your thoughts and prayers to God about your love for His body and your willingness to encourage unity among your fellow believers.
Wednesday - Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 12-13, and 1 Peter 2:4-5. If you are a "living stone" dependent on the life source of Jesus, then you are also interconnected with all the other living stones in the greater community of believers, especially those in your own community. Ponder this idea of interdependence as parts of the body — each having a unique spiritual gift, but collectively serving God. Spend time praising God for the way He's designed the Body of Christ and ask Him to show you how you can "build up" His sanctuary with other believers.
Thursday - Read these three verses in 1 John: 1:7, 3:11, and 4:7. Select one verse to meditate on in prayer before the Lord. Ask Him to help you experience His love for you today and compel you to share that love in fellowship with other believers. If you feel weary, pessimistic, or hesitant, ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the root cause and then ask Him for the energy and passion to live in koinonia with those around you.
Friday- Read Ephesians 2:14-20. Only the love of Jesus and the power of His triumphant resurrection could bring together in fellowship two groups of people as different as the Jews and Gentiles. As you think about the cultural, ethnic, ideological, and philosophical differences of people in your neighborhood, town, and our country, what barriers to fellowship have you supported in the past — either intentionally or accidentally? Spend time praying for people in your immediate sphere of influence that God may be calling you to spend more time with, regardless of your differences.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to God each day and explore what it means to be a part of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth.
Want to Go Even Further?
Check out our companion study guide to use with your community group, neighbors, or family members! Each week includes thought-provoking questions for discussion or individual study based on this week's sermon topic.
Get Your Worship On!
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