“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Friendship is such a remarkable gift. There is tremendous confidence and hope in knowing that someone, somewhere is there for you. Someone has your back when the world turns on you. Someone walks alongside of you, holding you up when you feel ready to fall. Someone cares. Having Christ as the center and foundation for those relationships makes them that much sweeter. We were built for relationship, which is precisely why when we live life without meaningful relationships, there is an unquenchable void in our hearts.
I recently had an opportunity to teach at a women’s retreat near Portland, Oregon. A small group of incredible women who love Jesus gathered for the weekend, and we dove into God’s Word together, seeking to become women who are found on our knees at the feet of Jesus in passionate pursuit of Him. For the most part, all of the women in attendance were a part of the same church; still, many were not closely connected with each other prior to our weekend together. In fact, as we shared and got to know each other through our opening “ice-breaker”, it became abundantly clear their shared desire and need for deep, rich, Christian fellowship that for some was simply missing in their lives. That got me thinking: how aware am I of the gift of Christian fellowship in my own life and how intentional am I in my pursuit of it?
The writer of Hebrews was most definitely on to something when he calls us to remember the importance of Christian fellowship. When he mentions those that have stopped meeting together, he refers to this as a “habit”. Interesting, isn’t it? As much as our weekly attendance to church and small groups is a habit, our lack of intentionality in this regard is a habit as well. We establish a very bad habit when we fail to prioritize Christian fellowship in our lives. When everything else in life becomes more pressing, more urgent, more important than coming together in a community of faith and doing life alongside others that will help point you towards Christ, something has gone wrong. Life gets busy. Yes, I know this. Schedules become full. I know this, as well. When we refuse to leave margin, though for that which is most important (meeting together for the sake of encouragement in the Lord), we miss out on our God-given purpose, becoming more like Christ and encouraging others to do so as well.
I walked away from my life group tonight with a full heart and overwhelming joy. Things in my life right now aren’t perfect, in fact far from it. Each one of us shared difficult things that we are currently facing that we need strength to endure. However, by choosing to submit myself to godly community and invite others into my life that love the Lord and care for me, I am edified, encouraged, and “spurred on toward love and good deeds.” This should be a non-negotiable for the believer – a commitment to regular, intentional, godly fellowship.
Not feeling the necessary motivation yet to make the change in your life? Let Jesus be your model and motivation for this obedience. He had His disciples. And we have each other. We have no reason to feel alone as a committed follower of Jesus Christ. He is always with us, and He has given us one another. Let’s not take this incredible gift for granted any longer. Get involved in your church. Commit to a small group. Seek godly relationships that will push you closer to Jesus. Invest your life into others. Blessing is found there.
Kerry Shaver says
Cherie, this was just what I needed to hear this morning. Thank you so much. Last night I was feeling so lonely. I was really struggling with the fact that I’m a single mom and most if my friends r married. This puts so much into perspective for me. I have an amazing group of godly women in my life. Thank you for reminding me about how blessed I really am.
Cherie Wagner says
I needed to hear it as much as you, Kerry! Praying for you still, and constantly grateful that God caused our paths to cross. Love you, friend!
Sarah Parsons says
Yes, the retreat was fantastic. And I love this! It’s a challenge to me to 1) Appreciate the relationships I do have and 2) be more intentional about making a habit of building relationships in addition to church and home group (I love both of those, but often the large size of the group makes it more difficult to build the deeper friendships without additional interaction).