- Galatians 6:2: Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
- Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
- Titus 2:4-5 Then they (older women) can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
These are just a handful of Scriptures to support what I am saying that Christianity isn't meant to be lived out ALONE. Now many of you are saying, "I don't walk my faith out alone, I attend church service every Sunday." Sunday church is a great way to worship in a corporate setting and to hear the word of God preached but I don't believe the 2-hour event on Sunday morning is enough. When there are 500 people in a service, I don't believe you will be bearing each other's individual burdens, taking time to confess your sins to one another and taking time to train one another.
Now I know we all have busy lives and to add one more "thing" to our plate might break us. I am not saying that one more "thing" be added to our plate, but rather take into consideration being in real relationship with other Christians in whatever it is you are already doing. I am sure you already have events that you are involved in and that there are Christians at those events. Find someone who is trustworthy and begin to cultivate a relationship where you can be real with them.
I believe it is vitally important for you to be looking into another Christian's eyes and being real with each other. Life is HARD and even harder if you try to live it on your own. How many times have you looked at other Christians and said, "Their life must be perfect, I can't be real with them, they have everything together." Then months later you find out that individual is getting divorced, they didn't have everything together. Believing the lie that everyone else has it together causes us to hide in our individual pain and sorrow afraid to share it with others and the result is that we end up crushed, dazed and confused. I've heard enough people's individual stories and I can tell you I have yet to meet someone who "has it all together." We all have areas of weakness, they may not look the same, but everyday everyone ends up having to lean fully on the cross of Christ for guidance, healing and help. One of the ways God ordained for this to take place is in relationship with each other.
I have personally experienced the blessing of being in relationship with others. I am finally at the point where I will swallow my pride and call one of my friends if I am feeling overwhelmed and say, "Pray for me." Every time, I have stepped out in this way I have found relief. Why? Because sometimes we get so stuck in ourselves, we can't see the truth, often times those outside of us can see, hear and minister God's truth to those wounded areas faster then if we did it on our own. The teaching I've heard on the shield of faith states that the Roman soilders' shields were full body but they also could lock together with others. They could literally lock together in a circular shape and then they would be protected on all sides. So when you are putting your armour on, the shield of faith is not only for your individual benefit but it is also to be used for the benefit of those around you!
The Bible describes satan as a roaring lion, wandering around looking for someone to devour. Do you know who lions like to attack? They like to attack the sick ones, the ones that are away from the crowd, the ones out on their own. When animals are in their herd the lions don't want to attack, the lion could get trampled and injured by the herd; their powerful in one on one situations. Please take to heart the analogies the Bible offers us and understand that satan operates in the same way. If you have yourself in the group, in relationship with others, he isn't going to be able to devour you.
The final argument you may have against relationship is that you've tried relationship before and you ended up getting hurt. Brian White always says, "If you are involved in ministry just assume that you are going to get hurt; it will happen." When you are close to someone you will get hurt and you will hurt others. It is inevitable because we are still sinful, selfish people. That is when we have to apply the truth of God's word, through forgiveness and love (love keeps no record of wrong). I have hurt people and I can't think of a person who hasn't hurt me. That doesn't make me shut the door though. What it has helped is to keep my eyes on the right person, Jesus. If you choose to venture out into relationship it is key that you keep Jesus as Jesus in the center and keep others right next to you. The picture I have is this, Jesus is on the cross and we are kneeling with our brothers and sisters in Christ around the cross. We are equals with one another at the foot of the cross. If we spend time staring and critiquing one another, we will take our eyes off of Jesus. Our job in relationship, is to encourage and help one another because this race is hard and we can't do it alone. When you are in relationship with others they are not Jesus, but they are a vessel Jesus will move through. There will be times, however, when it isn't Jesus ministering through them, and to be able to recognize that and let those times fall to the ground is needed. It is better to be wounded by a friend then an enemy (Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.)!
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Loving Your Neighbor
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