‘My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them round your neck.’ (vv20–21) Proverbs 6:20–24

‘No one can have God as Father who does not have the church as Mother’. So said St Cyprian, whose quote is referred to by John Calvin throughout his Institutes. This may sound a strange description, yet it is the Church that must submit to Christ in all things (Eph. 5:21–28). Indeed, the Church is the bride of Christ awaiting the glorious day when she will be united with Christ (Rev. 19:6–9).

If we want to know how to live a godly life, we have two teachers. The first is God speaking through Scripture. God’s Word finds expression in the choices we take and the life we then live. C.S. Lewis describes the word Christian as ‘little Christ’ because we share in the life of Christ. Perhaps more accurately, Christian means ‘slave of Christ’ (Rom. 6:22). Our behaviour is itself an expression of the truth and reality of God.

We are also called to be part of the Church. Here, the accumulated wisdom of all those disciples who have preceded us is held in trust on our behalf. In church, I am encouraged to worship and serve God. I find practical wisdom and support in navigating all life’s challenges. I observe how others live out God’s Word in their experience.

So, if I want to know how to live as a Christian, I look to two primary sources – the Bible, God’s living Word; and the Church, a present and organic body expressing God’s life within a specific community. We do not need to work out how to follow Jesus in isolation. God has given us guides.

RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Hosea 1; Matt. 25:1–13; 2 Cor. 11:1–4; Rev. 21:1–4. 

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How does reading Scripture and interacting with the church help you live your Christian life in practice? 

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to live the life of God through obeying Your word and within Your Church. Amen.’

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Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.