We all know nutritious food and exercise can help our bodies stay healthy, but it takes discipline to stick with it. The same is true of our spiritual health. One means our Lord provides to help us toward spiritual maturity is by participating in Holy Communion. Jesus initiated it and Paul reaffirmed the importance of remembering Christ’s sacrifice for us. In 1 Corinthians chapter 11, we read, “every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death [or the significance of His death] until he comes again.” Paul tells us to examine ourselves before we eat and drink lest we incur God’s discipline by doing it in an unworthy manner. We prepare to participate by confessing to God our failures, especially our relationships to others—envy, jealousy, bigotry, classism, or any sin that destroys the unity of the Body of Christ. Self-examination creates the right atmosphere to celebrate Holy Communion. Without self-examination, Paul says we open ourselves to God’s discipline, which may come in the form of infirmities, sickness, trouble, or even death. Yet the apostle reminds us that God’s discipline is for our good so we will not be condemned when He judges the world.
Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More