Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Purpose Driven Life - Day 19

Day 19 - Cultivating Community

Yesterday we learned that Biblical Fellowship requires Authenticity, Mutuality, Sincerity and Mercy.  Today we learn the next five characteristics as being Honesty, Humility, Courtesy, Confidentiality and Frequency

Much like Authenticity, Honesty encourages us to be truthful and loving with the members of our group.  To share in our journey and know that we should not measure how far we have yet to travel, but rather how far we have already traveled. The journey is often unpleasant and we need to be able to be honest with our fellowship about the trying and testing moments along our path.

Additionally, we must be honest with one another - we must not be afraid to address uncomfortable situations. We must bring candor to the group of our brothers and sisters in Christ. And when we see that one of us is acting out in sin, we need to honestly - but not rudely - speak the truth and aid them in reclaiming their path to God. 

There is no room for self-importance or smugness within a fellowship. None of us are better than the other. We are all equal in our ability to sin, and in our choice to live a life with Jesus.  Crudeness and arrogance will break a fellowship faster than anything else.  

My favorite quote from this chapter is: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less."

Being courteous in life is no different than being courteous in fellowship. To respect one another - to withhold judgement. To be understanding of each others differences.  To extend grace.  Pastor Rick reminds us that irritating people are brought into our lives to teach us how to live a life of grace and that some of these people who lack basic social skills can really test us. These are the ones who, as Pastor Rick says, require "EGR" - Extra Grace Required! (lol)

Yesterday I wrote about how fellowship in a small group needs to be your safe place to fall.  Your safe place to share your pain and vulnerability.  Your safe place to grow spirituality. Your safe place to study the bible without judgements ... to be able to ask questions... express doubts... grow your faith.  The only way this can happen is when there is confidentiality within the group.  This must be understood! It must be agreed  upon - mutually.  God hates gossip and when someone is vulnerable in your space and you betray that trust, you are living in an un-Godly way.

"Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships." - God

The ninth and final characteristic is frequency.  This, too, is common sense, really, in order for relational bonds to grow and strengthen, you must be around one another often. You cannot build solid foundational relationships if you only see each other once a month.  Jesus met with His disciples daily. Christians gathered together daily. This may not be practical in this, the modern age, but we do need to meet with our small group a minimum of once a week in order to truly get to know one another, to share with one another, to grow with one another.  This should be a mutual commitment - even if you do not feel like it. Especially when you do not feel like it!

"We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave His life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers." - 1 John 3:16 (GWT)