Church is not a location; it is a gathering of believers who seek to encourage one another’s faith through their gifts. This mutual, spiritual exchange is often marked by the phrase “one another” in the Bible.
We can do “one another-ing” in many ways: Love one another (John 15:17) Honor one another (Romans 12:10) Live in harmony (Romans 12:16) Welcome one another (Romans 15:7) Instruct one another (Romans 15:14) Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25) Comfort one another (2 Corinthians 13:11) Agree with one another (2 Corinthians 13:11) Serve one another (Galatians 5:13) Bearing with one another (Ephesians 4:2) Be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32) Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32) Address one another in song (Ephesians 5:19) Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21) Admonish one another (Colossians 3:23) Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18) Build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Do good to one another (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13) Stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24) Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16) Pray for one another (James 5:16) Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9) Clothe yourselves with humility to one another (1 Peter 5:5) Have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7) Minister to one another (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
We are also called to avoid negative “one another-ing” in many ways: Don’t judge one another (Romans 14:13) Don’t compare with one another (2 Corinthians 10:12) Don’t provoke one another (Galatians 5:26) Don’t envy one another (Galatians 5:26) Don’t lie (Colossians 3:9) Don’t speak evil (James 4:11) Don’t grumble against one another (James 5:9)
Love does not just happen. It requires each member of the family to look for intentional ways to love one another. This means that when we meet together, we are looking to strengthen another’s faith and we are transparent with others so they can do the same for us. This intentional love is most clearly seen in Paul’s opening words of Romans. Let these words sink into your heart and make this your intention the next time you rub shoulders with you church family.
Romans 1:11-12 “For I long to serve you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encourage by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
This is church.