What if God designed us to live in meaningful relationship with others? What if He wants us to impact and be impacted by each other so that we might be changed and transformed in the process? If this were actually God’s design and plan, how might it affect how we act toward others and how we receive from them?
God has placed the lonely in households (Psalm 68:6), with families, friends, workmates and possibly most importantly in the household of faith. He has made us to have effect on each other. It is as if our souls have been created with permeable membranes that allow overlap and exchange when we come close to each other. We experience the most exchange with those who come closest. Maybe that’s why we can be so irritated by our spouse, family or good friend. It can also explain how we pick up mannerisms, expressions and worldviews from each other.
The New Testament is peppered with verses that describe how we can best relate to “one another.” They...
We are bombarded with input all day every day. Our minds can feel saturated, bloated and unable to absorb much more. However, it is critical that we remember that not all words are equal in value. Different messages carry varying levels of importance, and we must stay alert to weigh them well. If we aren’t paying attention we may miss some key communications, or we may give too much time or effort to things that don’t deserve it.
The apostle Paul commended the believers in Thessalonica for rightly receiving the Word of God when it was shared with them. He said they received it “Not as human words, but as it actually is, the Word of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) And, he described that the message came not just “With words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
It’s important that we make intentional time to read and ingest the Bible. It is not like any other writing in all history...
Most of us live in deep fear of being found out. We are scared of people knowing us deeply; our weaknesses, inadequacies, fears, doubts and sin. We are deeply ashamed of our condition. Yet, we all have darknesses – we are all very flawed, and our responses to our conditions are
peppered with brokenness.
Coming clean with who we are and what we have done can feel terrifying … apart from the grace of God. Letting others, God or even ourselves know just how corrupted parts of our souls are raises fears. We are afraid of being judged, condemned – or worst of all – rejected. So, we are tempted to deny or hide our “stuff.” We try to tell ourselves and/or others that we either didn’t do what we did, or that it wasn’t really sin when we did it. We often coat our motives with feigned good intentions. We perform these mental gymnastics because it’s too scary to admit the truth about ourselves … apart from the grace of God.