“One-anothering” is a catchy phrase that I thought I had cleverly made up in my mind all by myself until I did an internet search just now to see what popped up. Apparently I am not the first to think of these words, there are books, Bible studies, articles and sermons on this very phrase. So even though I may not be as clever as I originally thought, I still love the term and what it means to the body of Christ.
What is one anothering? I want to answer this using God’s words; it will become clear very quickly:
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. – John 13:14
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. – John 13:34
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:21
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom… – Colossians 3:16
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, - Hebrews 10:24
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. – James 5:16
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. – 1 Peter 4:9
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11
Are you getting the picture? This is just a small sampling of what the Bible contains. One-anothering is us, as the body of Christ, being obedient and acting on God’s instructions on how to treat and care for other members of the body of Christ.
Jesus was faithful in giving us instruction on how to treat each other and being our perfect example in how to do this. Jesus taught, healed, loved, rebuked, washed the feet of and prayed for those he loved. We need to be busy doing these same things.
God has blessed each of us with special spiritual gifts in order to use them to continue to build up the Body. If you read the Bible it will be easy to see that there are to be no “loner” Christians in this world. We were made to be dependent on each other and to be united together for the glory of God (see Philippians 2:1-4)
We are responsible for each other and must be active in caring for each other in order for us to continue to “hold fast our confession” (Hebrews 4:14). Have you ever sat in a church service or Bible study and looked around at your brothers and sisters in Christ and thought, “I am accountable to God for these people.”? I’m hoping now you will, because you are.
God has ordained this beautiful interdependence within the body of Christ, allowing us each to use our God-given abilities to help each other. This is the means by which God has decided that his people be taken care of, by his people. Yes, it is a mighty calling indeed. This is one ministry that every believer needs to be active in.
I have the privilege of getting to do some serious one-anothering in Guatemala in just over a week. The language and geographical location may be different, but God’s commands stay true and perfect. I will be loving, encouraging, teaching, praying with and figuratively washing the feet of the body of Christ in Guatemala. This will be done in homes with dirt floors, schools with hungry children and churches with joyful brothers and sisters. I can’t wait.
We will also be doing much one-anothering within our own team. We will get continual opportunities to practice encouragement, submission, forgiving, and the act of bearing each other’s burdens and joys. This will be easy and enjoyable at times and at others terrifically difficult, but always done in love and with Christ in mind and heart.
Ladies, be found faithful in your ministry of one-anothering, enCOURAGE others in the body of Christ for the glory of God.