Monday, October 8, 2012
1/2 Marathon Challenge, Day 8
I quoted the book of Ephesians yesterday. Verse 4:14-16 says: Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. I love this verse. I love Paul’s exhortation to “speak the truth in love,” but I fear that this is not done near enough in our churches and small groups. I will admit to being guilty in this. It is not always easy to speak the truth, especially in love, and especially on the topic of relationships and marriage! It is way to easy to tell ourselves “that’s their business” when we see someone close to us struggling in this area. It’s way too easy to choose to not get involved because of fear that a situation will get emotionally messy or complicated. In regards to close friends, it’s easy to just take their side and validate whatever they are feeling, even if we know that biblically, they are making mistakes. We are not called to stand by and watch others suffer, but nor are we called to support each other in sin. We are called to “comfort one another” when we see a friend suffering, but also to “edify them.” (Thessalonians 5:11) To edify means to teach and encourage. Let me go on a tangent here, and say how important I think small groups are. Relationships in an ongoing small group bible study can grow far deeper than those that occur when our only fellowship with other believers happens on Sunday mornings. As these relationships grow, I feel, it is more likely that problems can be shared, prayers can be offered and asked for, and members can both encourage each other as well as hold each other accountable. In James 5:16 we are extolled to “confess our sins to one another.” A tight knit small group is an invaluable tool for Christians to use for mutual accountability. Not only can we support each other more effectively in small groups, but we can become so much greater than the sum of our parts. There are things we can do for the Kingdom that we could not do on our own. Hebrews 10:24 tells us to “spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” Having strong vibrant marriages fills and equips us such that we are more able to help others, and our relationships can shine into the lives of those around us, radiating God’s light and love. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world Form a small group. Build a community that supports each other, encourages and edifies each other. One that fosters and nurtures powerful marriages that glorify God, and goes forth to do the work of the kingdom. Get out there and shine!