Don't Do It Alone!

We
were not meant to walk this Christian walk alone!    At times, I think I've felt, just
"me and you Jesus, we can do this", and if we have to we will. This
kind of thought sounded spiritual to me, but it was actually stinky pride
talking.   But living a little longer,
I've come to a different realization.  We were created to need each other
as brothers and sisters in Christ.  God created us for friendship and
community.  To do it His way and to do it His way with others takes faith!

 

Developing Christian
community takes faith. I am sure each of us could share a messy friend story or
a messy Church story.  One which we could use as a defense on why we don't
spend time reaching out to others.  I have heard some really horror stories
from some folks, which I know had to take some forgiveness and trust to get
over.   But the amazing thing that most of these folks did not let these
experiences keep them from moving on to develop other blessed relationships.
They used it to become an even better friend.   Others “turtled up”
and keep others from the blessing on knowing them and keep others out.  Not a great scenario.

 

Fear, in any form, can
rob us of the abundant life.  Relationships bring fullness, joy and
blessing to our lives if we let them.  Many times, it may be hard to
admit, but selfishness is the root of self-imposed isolation.  Not wanting
your life interrupted by having to share with others sounds kind of
kindergartenish doesn't it?  We might excuse ourselves with I’m just too
busy to have time for friends.  It could
be fear is holding you back from reaching out—afraid of rejection, judgment or “hurt
feelings”.  God’s love and compassion is
there for you.  His acceptance, love and
grace is there to buffer us through those feelings and cause us to step out in
faith to begin new relationships.

 

I see people as
treasures.  We don't know what treasure they hold until we take the time
to get to know them.  Yes, like myself, we all have trash with our treasure,
but I've found the treasure outweighs the trash.  As we learn to love
others, yes, by faith, we easily discard the trash and focus on the treasure!
If we want to be Christ-like, it takes the Holy Spirit, the Word and
people.  God uses others to help us grow in His ways.  Rick Warren,
The Purpose Driven Life, states 'many people assume all that is needed for
spiritual growth is Bible Study and prayer.  But some issues in life will never be
changed by Bible study or prayer alone.  God uses people."(Page 176)
Accepting the truth we need others is humbling and freeing at the same
time.  Seeking out Godly counsel is wisdom.  

 

Read through Paul's
letters focusing on his relationships.  He needed people.  He sought
them out, he thanked them, appreciated them and also had a few he pointed out
hurt him. But ultimately, he was a man in relationship with many.  If we
are going to influence others for His Kingdom we must learn to develop open
relationships.

 

We all face trials and
tribulations that are scary and difficult.  Having to do it alone or
simply relying on the professionals to help us is not God's plan.  We need
each other.  

 

This week has been
kind of a "bad news" week.  I have received several phone calls
from people who are having a very challenging season right now.  Health,
financial, emotional and other life events led them to my door (or phone!).
What a privilege to be able to pray, counsel, encourage and help them as
I could.  I am so thankful they felt free to call and ask for help.  

 

But I also needed
help.  I prayed and asked the Lord who could I share with and He led me to
an old friend.  I didn't call but just showed up at their office. By God's
grace they made themselves available for encouragement and comfort.  I
left feeling stronger and encouraged.  

 

I thank the Lord for
my faithful friends.  Those who will point me to Jesus and His ways, or at
times just agree that yes, life is difficult, but we have a Savior!  It is
a joy and privilege to be a friend.  It took faith for my friends to share
their needs with me this week.  It took trust in our relationship to reach
out and ask for help.

 

 It is my prayer
that I am the friend others need.  I definitely don't do it all right.
I see so many areas where I need to learn how to grow in my friendship
abilities.  But I've chosen to become a learner.  I watch others and
see how they do friendship.  I've learned a lot that way.  I read the
Word and watch how Jesus interacted with his disciples.  

I can't do life alone
either.  Fear of bothering others is a big hurdle for many, (Including
myself).  I'm learning to ask, is this a good time when I call....and
sometimes it isn't.  I'm ok with it.  I trust them to let me know
when a better time will open up.

 

Jesus sent his
disciples out two by two for a reason. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12: Two people
are better off than one,, for they can help each other succeed.  IF one
person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls
alone is in real trouble.  Likewise, two people lying close together can keep
each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone
can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.
Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

 

Let's admit our need
for others and accept the fact others need you in their life!  Lord,
please give us courage to overcome any fear that would keep us from the
relationships you've called us to develop.  In Jesus