Community has been a vital part in the healing we found in our marriage. It is also the thing that keeps us accountable, encouraged, and motivated to pursue having a godly marriage.
God uses people in our community to help confront sin in our lives, to comfort us when we are weak or broken, to advise us when we are in need of guidance, and encourage us that what we experience in marriage is not unique to us and that we are not alone.
Now community is helping us in our parenting, which has been super beneficial for our family. We also get a chance to get to know others and serve them. We get to experience being a part of the body of Christ and we want the same for your marriage!
We have learned the value of community through experience. And our message in this episode is to encourage husbands and wives to pursue being a part of Christian community.
Sure it can be hard and messy…but it is necessary for your marriage. Find out why by watching, listening, or reading this podcast!
Read The Podcast:
Aaron Smith: Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.
Jennifer Smith: Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.
Aaron Smith: And today, we’re gonna talk about why Christian community is necessary for your marriage.
Hey, we wanna thank you for joining today. And before we get started, we wanna invite you to subscribe to our channel so that you get notified each time we release a new episode.
Jennifer Smith: We also wanna thank you guys for engaging with us, your comments. And we just wanna let you know that we are listening, and Aaron wanted to share a little bit about that today.
Aaron Smith: Yeah, I’ve gotten a few people that have called me out on interrupting my wife. We’re still getting used to doing videos like this. And what’s funny is we actually, when we used to lead a marriage group a long time ago, we used to do this I would interrupt her all the time. We struggled with it. And now that we’re kind of back in this mode of teaching together and sharing together, we’re learning. So, I’m gonna try not to interrupt Jennifer when she’ sharing stuff, or we’ll cut it in a way that’ll make it so you don’t see me interrupt her. But yeah, I’m gonna work on that. I see that. I agree with that. We talked about it.
Jennifer Smith: I actually wasn’t recognizing that it was even happening until some of these comments were popping up. And we both analayzed some of the videos, and we’re like, “Oh yeah, we need to work on our communication.” But we do want this to feel like just a beautiful conversation where you guys are engaging with us on it. And so we just have to find that way. We have to figure out how to be able to make that work. And doing it in front of a …
Aaron Smith: Yeah. And I don’t think I’m immune from growing and changing and learning, and neither do you. And we’re always growing and learning, so we appreciate the comments. We’d love for you guys when you’re commenting to give us grace, but tell us the truth. And also, just let us know things that you loved, didn’t love, ideas you have for us. We just wanna invite you to be a part of that with us. And we do go through all the comments. We may not respond to all of them, but we go through them all. So we just wanna thank you. And so, today we’re gonna be talking about Christian community, and how it’s necessary for healthy, strong, thriving Christian marriage.
Jennifer Smith: Just to start back in our own life, Aaron, you just mentioned that we led a Christian community, a marriage group, back in the day and that was really exciting times. And we were kind of still figuring out Christian community back then.
Aaron Smith: Yeah, probably shouldn’t have been leading something but that’s where we were.
Jennifer Smith: But we had the opportunity. And there was a lot of growth that came from that. But I do want you to share just a little bit about how we got into that community, and why it impacted our marriage so much.
Aaron Smith: Yeah. And we mentioned in a previous episode about some of our story and God took us from a very difficult place in our marriage, and started a healing process for us. And that began at a marriage ministry that our church, our huge church, was putting on. And it was just this ministry that happened on Wednesday nights. And hundreds of people went to this thing. But instead of it being a thing where you sit in rows, and you’re facing the front where a pastor is teaching, which is common, you would sit around a round table.
So there was like 50 or 60 round tables in the room. And you’d sit around the table with maybe three, four, five other couples. As the ministry grew, it got to some … There was like 12 couples at some tables. You had to bring tables together, and we would have to split off. But that was our first real experience of digging into Christian community. We’ve been Christians for a long time, but that was our first time really sitting with other believers and actually being transparent and open-
Jennifer Smith: As a married couple.
Aaron Smith: As a married couple.
Jennifer Smith: And it was really cool. So the beginning of the night started out with like a 15 minute message where we dug into The Word. But then it forced us into a time of discussion. And there was questions that people could or could not answer, or had the option to. And so, there’s just this time of engaging. And that was when we really experienced what it was like to engage in Christian community.
Aaron Smith: Yeah, and not that Christian community is only evident in this format. But this was our first experience with it. And what was amazing about it was, instead of … ‘Cause what kept us in our brokenness for so long was the darkness, keeping things in, not telling people about it. We believed that we were the only ones going through stuff that we were going through. And then, we’re sitting around this table, and each one of these couples, non surprisingly now, were going through very similar things. Maybe not exactly what we were going through, but they struggle with arguments, and fighting, and bitterness, and anger, and intimacy issues, and other issues, family issues.
And we’re like, wait a minute, we’re first of all not … We’re normal. We thought we were abnormal, but we’re normal. And what happened was since we were all communicating and being able to share and being open with and walking in the light with each other, we actually started getting healing because things got to come out. And we actually got to get corrected on things that need to be corrected, encouraged on things that needed to be encouraged.
Jennifer Smith: Comforted when we were broken.
Aaron Smith: Comforted, that was a big thing ’cause we were internally just in turmoil. Then we can have friends like … I remember some of our closest friends, we’d be up until like 12, 1, 2 o’clock in the morning just crying and laughing, and finding emotional and spiritual healing in that way because we were actually having a real deep connection with another couple.
Jennifer Smith: And I think that’s what the difference was, and those listening might be able to relate to this, when you are participating in church weekly, it can be really easy to come in and come out.
Aaron Smith: Which is what we did.
Jennifer Smith: Get fed and leave. And we were doing that for a really long time. We didn’t realize we were missing this element of our part in engaging in Christian community and what that looked like. We had conversations with people, and every once in a while experienced the depths of that goodness.
Aaron Smith: And we had close friends.
Jennifer Smith: But I think there was a difference in that time period and what we learned about God’s body and what our part was in that.
Aaron Smith: So we just shared a little bit about kind of our initial experience as God was teaching us about community and being one with the body of Christ. And so, instead of just giving you our opinions and feelings on it, we’d like to just enlighten everyone on what the scriptures show as community, and the purpose of Christian community, and what it is, so that we can all have a better understanding of it. Because like you said earlier, it could get easy to think, “Well, I go to church on Sundays and then I said hi to my friends, and I left. And then my day goes, and I have no other interactions with them.” And that’s maybe a piece of Christian community, but it is not the whole pie.
Jennifer Smith: And if that is happening, I think that a lot of people could be filling this overwhelming sense of loneliness or disconnection from the body of Christ.
Aaron Smith: And so, we wanna just shine some light on it. So, the first scripture we wanna bring up is in Romans chapter 12, verses 3 through 17. It says this.
“For by the grace given to me, I say to everyone among yu not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy; with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil: hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection.
Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you: bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”
So when we read this scripture and other scriptures, it shows us how much more intentional and deep God’s calling us to be in the body. And not just for our own sake, but for the others’ sake.
Jennifer Smith: What I love about this scripture too is it reminds us that we are a part of a body. It’s not just us. It’s not just our marriage, flying solo, by themselves. And each one of our marriages has a part in the body. And we need to be engaging and utilizing our talents and gifts and everything that God has given us to do our part and function in the body.
Aaron Smith: Yeah. Like this verse right here. It says, “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another, which is so much … so being a member of someone else, that I actually have a responsibility to you, and you have a responsibility to me. But then, in the local assembly, the local body, we have responsibilities to each other that I can’t just be like, “Well, we’re friends and that’s great. And then I’m gonna go home. We’re gonna have our own thing. Autonomy on an island.”
Jennifer Smith: Which happens a lot.
Aaron Smith: Which happens a lot. We did it.
Jennifer Smith: We’ve done it. We’ve gone through seasons of doing it.
Aaron Smith: Yeah, and recognizing that we actually have a responsibility to the other members of the body of Christ.
Jennifer Smith: And a marriage after God is one that understands this purpose and this value in the body, and fulfills it, and fulfills their role in it, which we’re gonna talk about a little bit later.
Aaron Smith: Yeah. And so I just wanna encourage us that the definition that the Bible gives of Christian community is not something out there. Oh we’re going to enter into this Christian community. No. We are Christian community, and we need to be a part of the body of Christ, because we are individually members of one another. That we have a responsibility and a mandate and an obligation to other believers. And it gets messy and sticky because when you’re around a bunch of people-
Jennifer Smith: Who are imperfect.
Aaron Smith: … there’s people involved. And people have their issues and their things and their idiosyncrasies and their pasts. But you know what? We have a responsibility to each other.
Jennifer Smith: Just like Christ loves us in our messiness and helps our marriage along in it’s chaos. We’re called to do the same for his body.
Aaron Smith: Yeah. So I hope that just gives you a bigger … like Romans 12. Read it. You can read through that. There’s other passages in Galatians. Chapter five talks about our unity. In The Gospels, it talks about walking in the light. And so, we need to be having a Biblical mindset on Christian community, that it’s not just I go to church and then come home. And then, my life over here is separate and individual. And then, on certain occasions, we go and be a part of the church. No, we are the church. And we are individually members of one another.
Jennifer Smith: And what that looks like practically is walking through life together. You know? When you’re going through a hard time, you let someone in your fellowship know. You let someone in your community know what you’re going through so that you can receive prayer, so that you can receive encouragement and advice and comfort. And those are just a couple practical ways that a community blesses your marriage and benefits your marriage. And then, on the other hand, you can be that same purpose for someone else’s marriage.
Aaron Smith: Not can be, should be.
Jennifer Smith: Should be. We’re called to, the responsibility is there.
Aaron Smith: We should be walking in a way that we could be examples to others. Our pastor always says, “Can you go to someone and tell them to follow your example?” Follow my example in parenting, as a husband, as a wife, in our friendships. And that’s scary.
Jennifer Smith: Well what’s so funny, with social media, that everybody’s into follow me or follow this person. But when you really consider the value of following someone’s character, following someone’s marriage, following someone’s parenting, that’s some serious stuff that we should be evaluating and making sure that we are walking righteously.
Aaron Smith: And it doesn’t mean we’re perfect. It means that we’re testing our own fruit. We’re testing to see that we are walking upright. We’re testing, we’re not just assuming, “Well, no, I don’t have to be that way ’cause I’m not a pastor.” Well, no, we’re actually members of one another. So we actually get to evaluate ourselves and see how are we walking in the giftings that God’s given us for the purpose of uplifting others in the body.
Jennifer Smith: So if you listening right now, if you and your spouse are in that place where you’re not walking with community. Or maybe you are, but you feel a little dissatisfied or disconnected in some way, this is a challenge for you. This is an encouragement for you to evaluate your life and say, “What is our responsibility?” Go with your spouse and read Romans 12 and see if you guys are fulfilling what God has called us to do. And we’re gonna talk a little bit more a little later about how your marriage can be engaging in community and what that looks like practically.
But this is a challenge for you. And we wanna extend it out to you so that God will use your marriage in extraordinary ways.
Aaron Smith: So the next thing we wanna talk about is this idea of community, Christian community, it’s easy to talk about and say like, “Yeah. That sounds beautiful.” But so often, we get people that email us and they say like, “We don’t have community. Where do we find that at?” Or we get people that email us and they say, “Hey. We feel like you’re the only people we could talk to. My close friends, I can’t tell them these things.” And we wanna talk through this idea of, well, how do we figure this out? Where do you find Christian community? What does it look like? And how do you be a part of it?
Jennifer Smith: And this question came from you guys, so we wanted to be able to answer this. That’s why we’re doing this episode because we know that there is a lot of couples out there who are wrestling with where do we find Christian community?
Aaron Smith: So one of the first things I would say is Christian community is comprised of Bible believing spirit filled believers. That’s it. That’s the foundation is when I claim the name of Christ and I believe his Word, I’m a believer, I’m a part of the body. And so, the first step is can you have fellowship with someone who’s a non believer? And I would say no. You can have friendships and relationships with unbelievers. We’re not out of the world, so that’s not possible to avoid. We have relationships with people that don’t believe.
But can we have fellowship with unbelievers? I don’t think that’s true. It says what fellowship does light have with darkness? And so fellowship is a much more specific thing. Fellowship is I trust you, for the most part you believe the Bible, you have the Holy Spirit. So when you’re walking with me and I share something with you, you’re gonna lead me back to the word of God, you’re gonna lead me back to Chrsit, not to your own opinions, not to your own ideas, like, “Well, I feel like this.”
So you’re walking with people that think and believe as you do, which should be all founded in the word of God, through the Holy Spirit.
Jennifer Smith: And I would add that this is more logistical, but you should have people in your life in close proximity. So, sometimes people say, “Well, I’m engaged online. I have Christian community online.” And I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing. I think that that could be a really positive thing, and that you could do Bible studies and things like that online, and be even in really-
Aaron Smith: Especially in this day and age.
Jennifer Smith: … really incredible deep connection and conversations with people. But there is something so wildly beautiful about having close relationships in proximity, like physical people in your life.
Aaron Smith: And necessary, because although you can have great friends in other states, and great Christian relationships in other places that are not near you … and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do that. Those people, if you needed it, could not just come over and help you.
Jennifer Smith: Right.
Aaron Smith: They couldn’t come to your home and know that you’re broken and you’re going through something hard, or they couldn’t come to you because they’re not in proximity to you. They’re not in close relation to you, local.
Jennifer Smith: Even if it’s as simple as you need a babysitter for a date night because you haven’t been out in a while, or things that are more on the practical side of things, not necessarily spiritual, that you need help with. Maybe you’re going through a season of post partum. We’ve experienced this. I went through a really hard post partum with Wyatt.
Aaron Smith: Oh yeah.
Jennifer Smith: And we had people coming in giving us meals from our fellowship. We had people coming in and helping me along my physical state on providing supplements, and things that I could be doing to increase my blood count, because it was really low after having Wyatt. So there’s a lot of things that I was walking through that I needed help with. And our community really gathered around us and provided that support. And that was necessary for our marriage.
Aaron Smith: And on the spiritual side of things, the necessity of having fellowship with people that are near you, that you have corporate worship with, that you can pray with in person and can be in your home, is when you’re walking with them and it’s not just a once a week thing, you’re actually … You have communications regularly. They see you often.
Jennifer Smith: I was gonna say the ‘see you’ thing is really important because you see the fruits in each other’s lives and that’s so important.
Aaron Smith: You can see the good fruit and you can see the bad fruit. This is the part that we’re afraid of, the bad fruit part. We like our autonomy. And I’m saying globally, we. When we walk in darkness, when we walk outside of Christian community, as in no one knows us, when we go home, the door is shut. WE can live how we want. We can say what we want. We can do what we want.
Jennifer Smith: No one can tell me what to do or how to change.
Aaron Smith: We have no way of being called out, which is what exhortation is, saying, “Hey, you should really be .. Hey how …” When I have brothers that see me in my life, they see the fruit of how I’m being as a husband to my wife. They can come to me and be like, “Hey man, you’re not really cherishing your wife. The way you’re talking to her. You’re not prioritizing her heart.” They can actually call me out and sharpen me.
Jennifer Smith: Which, I wanna encourage those listening, because I think that can be a scary thing if you haven’t experienced it, or maybe you have in the past-
Aaron Smith: It’s terrifying.
Jennifer Smith: … but it was done that it wasn’t done right. But it is terrifying. But you guys gotta understand that there’s so much growth that comes with a fellowship like that because then, you guys are sharpening each other as iron sharpens iron. And you actually experience maturity in Christ.
Aaron Smith: It’s actually necessary. We cannot grow by ourselves. It’s not possible. That’s like pretending my son without parents, without any direction, is just gonna turn into a mature person, without any sort of … it’s not possible. So we need each other. We need people close to us. And you know what? That’s why we sometimes choose to have fellowship with people that aren’t near us because we can hide. It’s easy to hide. But when we’re walking close with people, they can see us. And you know what? It’s scary and it’s hard because it means that we’re allowing ourselves to be judged. And we don’t like that word. But you know what? I actually appreciate that I have men in my life that are gonna call me out and help me be a better husband, a better father, a better friend, more wise in the Word of God, stepping up in my spiritual giftings in the church.
They encourage that because I know they love me. They believe this. And they believe in me. And sometimes, it doesn’t feel that way, sometimes it doesn’t look that way, but that’s the truth. And they expect it of me to do it back to them, that I’m … I know them well enough to see their life, to see their marriage, to see how they parent, to see how they do other things, the way their work ethic is, the way their spending habits are. We know these things, maybe not every detail. But when you’re around someone enough, you see it. And you can actually speak to them, be like, “Hey. What’s going on here? You keep making this one decision over and over again, and it’s not a mature decision, it’s not a wise decision. Let’s walk in this. Let’s change in this.”
Jennifer Smith: And then, being there for them or them being there for you to actually walk through it.
Aaron Smith: Through it. Yeah.
Jennifer Smith: Okay. So we’re talking about how to find this community. We’ve talked about them needing to be believers. We’ve talked about proximity, so being local. What else? How else can they find? What else is important?
Aaron Smith: So the most important thing, and we were just talking about it before we started this, that when you read the word of God, it’s easy to be like, “Well, all these people over here, they’re not acting this way, therefore, I’m not gonna be around them anymore.” But when we read the word of God, our position and our heart and our eyes should be inward. How does this change me? What is this expecting of me? What does the word of God desire for me to be? And when you read these things, it’s telling me, for those who exhort, exhort well. For those who teach, teach well. So if I have any of these giftings and these are the things that I’m responsible for, and it’s telling me to live in harmony with one another, and not to be haughty. I’m not looking out there and saying, “Well, they shouldn’t be that way.” I look inwardly and say, “What kind of man, what kind of marriage, what kind of family are we being in the body of Christ?”
Are we being the community we desire? Are we being the community that this teaches us to be? Right? When it says hospitality. Are we inviting brothers and sisters over that are having … they’re struggling finding deep connections?
Jennifer Smith: I think this is really good for people listening right now who maybe are in Christian community, but feel dissatisfied, or feel disconnected-
Aaron Smith: Which happens.
Jennifer Smith: … or feel like, “I have been trying, but so and so is not reciprocating.” So we just wanna encourage you guys, if you are in that place, to just take that self evaluation, that marriage evaluation, and make sure that you are fulfilling your role, that you are initiating, that you’re being the type of community that you desire.
Aaron Smith: So, we wanna pray that you would consider what kind of husband and wife, what kind of marriage, what kind of people are you being in the body? The Bible tells us to not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap a harvest. So let’s be the community that the Bible calls us to be. Let’s invite people in. Let’s teach people how to do it, by reading this and doing what it says.
Jennifer Smith: And on a very practical level, how to find Christian community, start with your local churches. That’s a great place.
Aaron Smith: Yeah. So let’s move on to the final part of this. What are our roles in the body?
Jennifer Smith: Yeah. I think that individually a husband and a wife have roles where they are functioning within the body, and they’re encouraging. And then, as a marriage as a whole, the couple can move forward and provide just a whole realm of benefit to the body of Christ in serving one another. So we’re gonna talk about some of the scriptures that back that up.
So as we talk about these roles, we’ve got some scripture that will explain a little bit more about what it looks like to practically function within the body and within the fellowship that you’re a part of.
Aaron Smith: So the first one is Hebrews chapter 10, verse 24 and 25. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day draw nearer.
Jennifer Smith: So the importance with this verse is remembering that God doesn’t want us to neglect to be meeting together on a regular basis. This means that we’re connecting with each other throughout the week. We’re meeing on Sundays or whenever your fellowship day is. Most people do meet at church on Sundays, so that’s why I suggest that, but-
Aaron Smith: Well, and there’s been a trend throughout our life that we’ve heard is “Well, I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian?” Well, this actually says the contrary, that we need to be in fellowship and gather together and not neglect it. And it says “as some are in the habit of doing”
So our challenge to you, are you in the habit of neglecting gathering with other believers? Do you desire to be in community, but yet you avoid it? ‘Cause those are real questions that we need to be asking ourselves.
Jennifer Smith: And I wanna encourage those who do desire to have a marriage after God, because what this looks like between husband and wife could be, and this has happened with us before, you have a desire to be at fellowship every single Sunday, and there’s been some Sundays where I don’t wanna go, or things are frustrating that morning, or we’re in a fight. And it’s a bother to me to even think about going to church. I’m not being a supportive wife, I’m not in submission to your desire to go to fellowship. And I’m not willing to reconcile in a timely manner, because I’m holding on to whatever that issue is. And so, I wanna encourage those listening, especially the wives, that you can be a huge support system for your husband who’s trying to lead you and your family to be participating and engaging in Christian fellowship. And we have to be that support for them with our words, with our actions, with everything.
Aaron Smith: So on the other side of that, we know there’s a lot of women, the wives, that are being the spiritual leaders. And they’re guiding, and they’re the ones that are constantly going to church and bringing the children-
Jennifer Smith: Or participating in Bible study groups.
Aaron Smith: … and the husband is kind of like, “Yeah. I’ll just …” or “I don’t wanna go.” And we just wanna encourage you, if that’s in your marriage, if that’s a situation in your marriage, husbands, step up and participate. Don’t just participate, but lead in it. Be the one that’s like, “Hey kids. Let’s go. We’re gonna go join the other believers and have corporate worship together, and be together with other believers.” So don’t let it be one sided where this spouse is the one that goes to church, and this spouse does other things. No. Do it together that you guys realize the importance and the necessity of gathering with other believers, and so that you guys are working together with that. And so, that was good that you brought that up. It was a struggle on your side.
Jennifer Smith: It was then.
Aaron Smith: But it’s a huge struggle on the other side where the women are the one … the wives are bringing the family. And we need the husbands-
Jennifer Smith: To step up.
Aaron Smith: We need to be stepping up, and creating a culture in our home that we don’t neglect meeting together with other believers.
Jennifer Smith: And when you guys have a heart’s desire to be aimed at meeting together weekly, and you’re on the same page, this cultivates oneness in your marriage, but also oneness in the body of Christ. And when the whole body that you’re a part of is committed to meeting together, it’s a beautiful thing. And we’ve gotten to experience this the last few years. And it really is. It’s cool to see how Christ uses each one of our families to build up his body.
Aaron Smith: And the other part of this verse is we’re not just going to just get. We do go and get fed. We go and get equipped to do the work of the ministry. That’s what gathering together, one of the purposes of it is. But we go to stir up each other, to … what does it say right here? “Stir up one another to love and good works.” So we don’t gather together just because it’s like, check, we went to church. The message was great. Or ah, didn’t do that much for me. No, our purpose is getting together to stir each other up to love and to good works.
Jennifer Smith: One thing that I’ve been trying to encourage our kids with is when we’re sitting at breakfast that morning, before church, I’ll ask them, “Hey, do you have a friend in mind that you want to go to church and encourage? Do you have something nice you wanna say to them?” And just getting those thoughts behind what’s the purpose of going to church, because it isn’t just to be filled up. It’s to also be giving of your talents and your time and your energy to-
Aaron Smith: That’s what we read in Romans 12.
Jennifer Smith: … fulfill the body of Christ.
Aaron Smith: We go to receive, but we go to give as well. But like this says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” So our role as other believers in the single body of Christ, being members of one another, the purpose is to stir up each other for good works and growing in The Word, and becoming Godly fathers and Godly mothers, and how we can serve the world around us, and love our neighbors. This is the purpose. This is why we go.
Jennifer Smith: So the next scripture that we wanted to read was Ecclesiastes 4:9 through 12. And this one we use a lot in marriage encouragement to other couples, but it’s also a pretty positive verse for the body of Christ. And so, Aaron, do you wanna read that?
Aaron Smith: Well, it’s good because the picture of marriage is a symbol of the body of Christ. Christ and the church are gonna get married. So Eclesiastes 4, veres 9 through 12 says this.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alon, two will withstand him, and threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Jennifer Smith: So I love this verse because I feel like it gives a clear depiction of what the body can do for your family. We’ve experienced this. And I kind of already shared about my postpartum time with Wyatt. But there’s been so many other occasions too, just little scenarios where we needed help. And the body is better with more. That’s that I get out of this verse is that there’s benefit to having more.
Aaron Smith: Well, there’s wisdom in protection and numbers, that as the body we stand together. We have one mind, one spirit, one Christ. We walk together so that if one may stumble, another can pick him up. If we’re hurting, another can comfort. If we’re rejoicing, we can rejoice with them. We don’t do this alone.
Jennifer Smith: But I would bet that there’s people listening right now that have experienced not being in fellowship and falling, and how bad that hurts, and how lonely that feels. And you feel helpless. You feel like, “I don’t even know where to go from here.” Where, if you are engaging in Christian fellowship, you might have someone who has a helping hand, or has a resource, or has something that can move you to the next point. And that strips away that opportunity to dwell in loneliness, or to dwell in depression or to dwell in dissatisfaction, or all those negative feelings that we feel when we are alone.
Aaron Smith: And let’s use this as an opportunity to encourage us that we know what it feels like to be lonely, and not to be blessed and helped in those times. And let us use that as a reminder to do that for others, that we’re aware, like do we have any people in our fellowship that might be lonely right now, or hurting, or going through something hard? How can I go bear that burden with them?
Jennifer Smith: Yeah. And we’re talking about roles in Christian fellowship and how a marriage can be engaging in a Christian fellowship. This is exactly what we’re talking about, to be intentional, to have a mindset of going, saying we’re not just here for us, we’re here for you. And I think that’s really important.
Aaron Smith: So the last verse we wanna share with you guys is in Galatians. It’s chapter five, verses 13 and 14. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
Jennifer Smith: So in another episode, we talked about loving your neighbor as yourself, and you brought up how your neighbor is your closest … or your spouse is your closest neighbor.
Aaron Smith: Yeah, is the closest neighbor in proximity. And then, outside of that, is people in your fellowship. And then outside of that is your actual neighbors. And then, people in your community, local community. But the point of the freedom that we have in Christ is not for our own sake like, “Oh, I can do what I want. I don’t have to go to church. We can be out. We can do this.” Okay. You could do that. But this says “Do not let your freedom be an opportunity for the flesh.” You know what the flesh desires? Just us.
Jennifer Smith: Selfishness.
Aaron Smith: Selfishness, the flesh desires secrecy, shadows, but it says, “But through love, serve one another.” Our freedom in Christ is for the purpose of serving one another. I’m now free to walk in righteousness with my brothers. I’m now free to serve my spouse and my children and my local fellowship and my neighbors.
Jennifer Smith: So the question for a marriage after God. How can a husband or wife serve in their local fellowship? What are some practical ways?
Aaron Smith: Well, we mentioned some before, looking for those that are in need. But through giving, generosity, your finances, your time, from your giftings. We read in Romans, says if you have those spiritual giftings, make sure they’re being used. Maybe it’s not gonna be in the meeting, but it’s gonna be to other brothers and sisters in there. You’re having a moment with a brother and encouraging them, or a sister and encouraging them in the word of God. Using your giftings in exhortation to exhort and say, “Hey, here’s a direction you probably should go in your life.” And finding ways to be used with your giftings and talents and resources and time, and finances, to bless brothers and sisters in Christ.
Jennifer Smith: And it’s amazing the impact that that actually has on us. When we do fulfill that, when we do walk out in serving others, the intrinsic value and what it does to our hearts is transforming and wonderful.
Aaron Smith: Well, what it does is it requires us to be, in our marriage, be constantly communicating with each other.
Jennifer Smith: That’s true.
Aaron Smith: Like hey, what’s God doing with us? ‘Cause there’s seasons that we’re like, “Man, we’ve been so internally focused. And we haven’t even thought about brothers and sisters that just had babies, situations that we could have been thinking outward not inward.”
Jennifer Smith: So like, if a friend has a baby, making sure that you sign up right away to get them a meal.
Aaron Smith: Yeah. That’s just one way. Some people are really gifted in that. It doesn’t mean everyone needs to do that. But are we being-
Jennifer Smith: Just a practical way.
Aaron Smith: … Christ’s body aware? Are we being aware of other people in the body? To our other brothers and sisters? And using the things that God’s given us in our tool belts to benefit the body of Christ.
Jennifer Smith: Like if you like to write, writing people encouragements or cards, letters of thoughtfulness where you’re pulling out a strength that you see in them and saying, “I see this in you. It’s wonderful. Keep doing it.” Just as an encouragement, it’s a simple way that you can serve your fellowship.
Aaron Smith: And then, and we’re gonna talk about it for just briefly, but on the hard side, are you aware of brothers and sisters that might be walking in sin? And not being afraid to go speak the truth in love to them, not because you’re like, “Oh, I’m better at this than you, and you need to change.” But, “Hey, I kind of notice that you’re walking in something and I just wanna challenge you to repent to that, and change ’cause right here it says that we should not walk … this is not a right way to walk.”
And so, that’s another way that we should be being. It’s called iron sharpening iron. It’s called exhorting each other. So we’re aware if a brother’s failing in some area. And the Bible tells us this. Be careful. If you’re gonna go do that, be careful that you yourself are not struggling with that. So knowing that we have a responsibility to each other, that Christian community is for the sake of our safety and for growth, and for wisdom and knowledge and security, as I said before. But also knowing that we have a part in it, that we’re not passive partakers of what the body of Christ is doing. Like, “Oh, we’re just here. Everyone else does their thing and we just absorb.”
No, we learn and grow for the sake of ministry, which happens in the church and outside of the church. So we have a responsibility to one another. We don’t get to avoid it ’cause the Bible tells us not to. And if we do, it’s only gonna be to our harm. So, I just wanna close with one more verse. And it’s just a good perspective for us to have. It says this in Proverbs 18, verse 1.
“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire: he breaks out against all sound judgment.” So just like we read in Eclesiastes, the cord of three strands is not easily broken. If we’re seeking to separate ourselves from the body of Christ, we are breaking out against all sound judgment. It’s not a wise thing to do. And so, even though it’s hard and sticky and messy at times, we are called to unity in the body, to walk with one another, to serve one another, to exhort one another, to encourage one another. That is the purpose of community, Christian community. And that is the necessity that our marriages have because it’s so much easier to walk with others in it.
It can be hard at times, but it’s so much easier than walking in darkness and being on our own, and having to deal with everything by ourselves.
Jennifer Smith: And a marriage after God is one where a husband and wife both support each other and encourage each other in reminding them of this verse, Proverbs 18:1 where they need to be in fellowship and be supportive of each other in that.
Aaron Smith: So we just wanna thank you for joining us today. We hope that this encouraged you. I want you guys to dig into the scriptures that we brought up. Don’t just take our word for it. Get in and read the Word of God. And those scriptures we gave you are not the only ones that talk about it. Do a study with each other. Go through some more scriptures. Learn what the Bible speaks of community and the importance of it in your marriage and in your individual life. And then, teach it to your children, and walk in it. And so, we thank you for joining us today. And we look forward to being with you next week.
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