Whatever you call your group (or groups), imagine what your life would be like without them. If you think you’d function just fine, it might be time to re-evaluate where you are and the people you’re doing life with. While some people are supposed to come and go from our lives, there are some that are foundational parts with whom we go to battle for and with. I don’t want to go through life alone because quite frankly, we weren’t created to. No, I don’t mean in the just regards to marriage because that’s another topic for another day. Community is a way we get to live with others and have each other’s backs as we go through each day and season. I need people who will go to battle with and for me and they need me to do the same. I tell my friends I’ll cut someone for them…and much to no one’s surprise, I mean it.
I consider myself extremely blessed to have various groups of friends that I have been able to go through the good, bad, ugly, and crazy with over the last several years. In my opinion, they are most certainly gifts from God. Those times consist of corporate worship within a church building or even a small group that stems from said corporate worship. When I’m not at my church on Sundays, I miss it. No, not the building but the people within. Sunday morning hugs from those sweet gentlemen and women who have faithfully prayed for me and poured into my life over the years just never cease to amaze me with how precious they are. Those don’t happen overnight. Yes, some people are natural huggers and love people well but these relationships go both ways. They stem from both parties taking time to love on the other and invest in checking on the other throughout the various seasons of life. There have been times when friends had to make sure I was out of the bed and doing something because the depression fog around me was filled with lies from Satan and that was all I could hear or see. They were carrying me to Jesus. Then, there have been occasions when I was part of a group that reached out to encourage a friend who needed to be reminded that her value was in Christ. Not her husband or children, even though that was where her station of life had her doing so much service and loving, but in Jesus.
On the flip side of this, there are people that will call me out when I’m not walking with God. If they see me trying to justify sin or not seeing potentially harmful situations, they speak up because they love Jesus and me. If you’re a Christian, you’re supposed to have accountability in your life. Not to make you feel like less of a person but to help you get closer to Jesus. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Y’all, we can’t just let that stuff pass. Does that mean we are this hall monitor acting like Screech from Saved By The Bell? No. It means that we are loving our friends and family enough to not let them fall away from what they know to be true. Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” This isn’t to prevent us from having fun or joy but it’s to bring us joy in the community God wants us to have. God sent Jesus to die in our place (and rise again after 3 days – HOLLA) because He loved us too much to leave us where we were. Who are we to not love each other like He loves us? Let’s step up and love better, church! When we believe in people as they’re living out the calling of God in their lives, that sets a fire that ignites and carries over to others and before we know it, the joy of the Lord is bursting from our homes and into our workplaces!
If you’re a parent, don’t you love the sound of your children playing and laughter together? Just pretend for a minute that they’re not plotting against you or a sibling and enjoying the community they’re in. That’s a gift. Really good bosses feel the same way when they hear hard working employees laugh together because they know they’re getting along and enjoying where they are. Are there hard spots in the road along the way? Yep, absolutely! But it’s in those spots we get to be refined in the image of Jesus. To see if He’s showing us something through truth and love or a way to clear up communication with those around us.
Communication is difficult because what we mean when we speak isn’t necessarily what people hear or understand. Ephesians 4:15 – 16 tells us, ““Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” So instead of getting offended by our brothers and sisters trying to tell us the truth in love, let’s pray about it before we snap. How we respond is on us, not them. Now, does that give people authority to speak at each other and degradingly? Nope.
This isn’t something anyone on this side of Heaven perfects but be encouraged to know as your community, church, tribe, or whatever is there to go through life WITH you. That means you GET to serve, too. The beauty of that is as we get filled, we GET to pour into the lives of others. Ask your church leaders how to get plugged in. If you don’t have one & live in Northwest Georgia Chattanooga, let me know. We’d love for you to join us at Church On The Hill in Dalton. 1035 Abutment Road, Dalton, GA 30721. Services on Sundays at 9:00 AM & 11:15 AM.