Hebrews 10:24-25 “Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds. You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming.”
Getting together with your friends is always fun. Sharing what's happening in each other's lives, giving support, sharing jokes, secrets, and an understanding that keeps you together as friends. Friends are great for laughs and shoulders to cry on and having friends sharing the same love of Jesus you do, helps keep your faith strong. Having a group of friends in your community just makes life easier to get through.
This is one reason sharing a church with like believers is also important. Being able to lean on your church family in good times and bad can give you the boost you need to get through life. Gaining Godly strength from like-minded believers is important when we go through all things in life.
Yet there are those few that just might rub you the wrong way. They may be more argumentative, hard to talk to. They just don't understand you like your group of friends. Some may even be more critical of your actions or maybe you feel you're being judged. It's hard to know how to fit in when you feel like you’re on the outside. I believe that is one reason many choose not to attend church. They have a hard time with the people who seemed to poke holes in their life.
I’m sure you’ve heard about porcupines, but how about how they live? As you well know porcupines have quite the sharp quills. Although most of the time the quills lay on their backs, even a slight rub against them could get you poked with a hole or two. Despite their sharp quills porcupines still get quite close to each other in the cold months to keep warm. They need each other to stay alive. Yet there could be a porcupine or two who may decide they don't like getting poked or the little holes they might get from the others and choose to separate from the bunch. Unfortunately, when they do, they just might find themselves freezing to death. Or they realize it just might be better to live among their fellow porcupines with the little pokes than alone and possibly die.
Like porcupines I believe God intended us to live together as a community even with the little pokes rather than alone vulnerable to satan’s attacks which could lead to death. That is why God says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 friends and family give strength- “Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. If two lie down together, they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm. An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break.” Also, in Matthew 18:20 “This is true because if two or three people come together in my name, I am there with them.” And Psalm 133:1 “It is good and pleasant when God’s people live together in peace!”
We may not always agree or get along with each other, but we now are one in Jesus -Galatians 3:28-29. We have all been called to serve Jesus and to accept each other and our pointy quills. Together we can become stronger, able to resist the attacks of the world.
It's great to have your group of friends, they are a support system you need. But it's even better to also have a church community to stay strong in Jesus with. Pokes and all, working together with others to further God's will and bring Salvation closer and do what God asks us to do. Don't let the little things keep you out of joining church and work together with everyone including your friends.
I have used this verse before, but it is a wonderful way to look at how we can work together with those God has put in our lives and as a church. Romans 12:15-16a “Be happy with those who are happy and be sad with those who are sad. Live in peace with each other.”
I also found these verses that help pull together how God wants us to live with each other, pokes and all.
Proverbs 27:17- “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
A team has checks and balances, one person watches the other one’s back. They help them if they falter or lose sight of the goal, just like in friendship. A good friend isn’t someone who always agrees with you, what you do, or what you say. A real friend is someone that is willing to challenge you, to be better as a person. A team player encourages his fellow team mates to be better players. Teamwork and friendship both work in very similar ways.
Ephesians 4:32- “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Teamwork also requires that we have unconditional expectations upon ourselves, because we have faith in God’s love. Teams build upon a foundation of truth and love, so that they can achieve excellence. This loving truth is sustained by the forgiveness of God. So, we must follow God’s example and forgive one another.
When we put this all together, we can see how God wants us to live in this world with those around us. Close friends are great and so is finding a church you can gain more friends and support in. Build a community where you are and be a great friend and let others be a friend to you so when the devil throws the arrows you can huddle together, pokes and all and stay safe in Jesus. Have a wonderful week and remember all the friends around you in your Christian walk with God.
Have you been able to further your studies along with us through 1 John chapter 1? If so, have you learned some new things or maybe refreshed your memory of how great God is. Today we will continue with lesson 4 and read 1 John 2:12-17. As always the link will direct you to lesson 4 or you can read it just for some extra reading and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you.
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