“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” – I John 3:16, ESV
Think about Christ’s example. When He came to Earth, He did not hide in a cave and spend all of His time communing with the Father. It is tempting to see someone who locks himself away from the world to pray and read Scripture as more holy than someone who spends time with the Lord and then gives of himself to his family, friends, church, and community. It is recorded that Jesus spent time with the Father early in the morning and then ministered to others later in the day. He chose to spend time with the people society had cast aside. He connected with people who had an array of different backgrounds and personalities.
These are the people for which Christ died. People like you and me who did not have it all together and did not pretend otherwise. This verse quoted above tells us that we ought to be willing to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in the faith, just as Jesus laid down His life for us. Would you die for someone to whom you share no connection? Maybe. It would probably depend on the circumstance. However, you would not think twice about pushing someone you love out of danger and taking the fall yourself – it would be second nature. We are often willing to die for those with whom we share a close bond. Though this verse does not explicitly say “connect with fellow believers,” I believe God desires that kind of rock solid relationship between His children – the kind of kinship where brothers and sisters would not have to think twice about dying in each other’s places.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” – Romans 12:10, ESV
Is this not a great verse? I love the idea of trying to one up each other, but in a good way. You blessed me… and I’m going to bless you even more in return (and the cycle continues). It also discourages the idea of waiting for someone else to make the first move. Even if your brother or sister in Christ has been talking negatively about you, ignoring you, or discouraging you, you can still show him or her honor. Can you imagine what would happen to churches if all believers tried to outdo one another in showing honor and love?
Connect with your brothers and sisters – even the ones you struggle to like – and start living out this verse. Wait and marvel and the strong friendships you will build. Be willing to build bridges to fellow believers’ hearts. Connect, love, and show honor with abandon! ~smile~
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV
Here is another great passage about meeting together with, and encouraging, other believers. The closer we get to the end of this world, the more obvious it is that we need each other. Church may seem like a nice idea or a requirement to you, but should the Lord tarry much longer, we may find our freedom to worship diminishing. In those days, how much more will we need the encouragement, fellowship, and friendship of our brothers and sisters in Christ?
There are a handful of ladies in my life who stir me up to good works. That is, they encourage me to grow in the Lord and do what is right. My relationships with them have grown over the years. We did not build a trusting relationship overnight. But, because of the connection that has been established, we are able to encourage each other and sow into each other’s lives.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17, ESV
When I read this verse, I think of men connecting so deeply that they are literally power sanding each other’s rough edges. When men or women meet together and share their weaknesses, pray for each other, and encourage each other, both people begin changing. God is the one that saves us, but He commands us to spend time with other believers for edification and growth.
Two buddies who love God and love each other enough to tackle difficult issues will develop a powerful connection and sharpen each other spiritually.
“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” – I Thessalonians 5:14, ESV
In our drive-thru society, we find it hard not to have everything handed to us in a minute or less. If the McDonald’s drive-thru is “too long,” we keep driving until we find a Wendy’s (or another fast-food drive-thru) with a shorter line. Keeping with this mentality, believers all over are finding it easier to stay home and watch a sermon than to get ready, go to church, sit through a few hours of songs, sermons, and prayer, and then drive all the way home. We want it now! Encourage us with Scriptures and then let us go!
Regardless of our culture, we need, and are required by God, to fellowship with other believers. Church is not only for instruction, but it is also for fellowship and edification. We need our brothers and sisters in Christ. As this verse tells us, we are to admonish the idle. Would you walk up to someone you don’t know and say, “I can see that you are not doing enough for the cause of Christ. Get off your rear and start serving the Lord!” I would hope not. However, after taking time to know and understand this person, he or she would probably be more interested in what you have to say. Folks are much more likely to listen to your admonitions if you have taken the time to invest in them first.
Connect with fellow believers and encourage them as your hearts grow closer. And, do not simply offer to pray for those who are weak and struggling, but offer them practical help as well.
These are just a few scriptures that encourage us to connect with each other. What are some others? What are some practical ways you can connect with other believers this week?
Have you and your sweetie been spending time connecting with other believers? (If not, Sunday’s just around the corner. ~smile~)