Pt. 4 Times of Refreshing
The last two years of my life has proven to be pretty challenging ones. Years in which I’ve felt personally “stretched, molded, and restretched”. I’ve lovingly characterized these last few years as “bittersweet” because I am aware that in experiencing the “bitter” reality of living in a fallen world I’ve also experienced the sweetness of His presence. One of the things I realize is that every believer being conformed into the image and likeness of Christ has seasons of testing. These times may often include suffering but also great reward, for it is in these seasons that we are keenly aware of His nearness. What I have also realized in these moments is that the grace of God is sufficient and that being surrounded by a healthy community of believers is priceless. The local body of believers I am joined to has blessed me beyond words during this season of my life. They have consistently “pointed me to Jesus” not only with their words but with their lives which leads me to the next set of one another’s I would like highlight; teaching one another and exhorting one another.
In addition to a host of other verses (Rom 15:14, Col 3:16, Heb 3:13, 10:23-25, 13:22), Rom 12:6-8, calls us to teach and exhort one another. While studying this particular section I came across the following statement, “All of scripture is an exhortation, admonition, or encouragement for the purpose of strengthening and establishing the believer in his faith.” It is to the Lord’s truth that we look for strength and guidance and the body of Christ is often used to share that the truth. The pastors/elders charged to shepherd the flock have been gifted in the area of expounding the scriptures and are often used as instruments of God in regards to helping us see Christ more clearly. There’s also the reality that the Lord is always speaking to our hearts individually through his Word and we often teach one another in sharing those insights. Every Sunday at our weekly gathering we have “Prayer and Share Time”; a time in which the floor is open for all of us to share praises, prayer requests, or insights from the Word that the Lord has given us. This is by far one of my favorite parts of the service because not only is it encouraging to hear how the Lord is moving in the lives of others but it is in this space we are able to spur one another on in our love and pursuit of Christ by teaching and exhorting one another. Our weeks are often long and many times wearied and worn we gather to be strengthened. There is nothing more refreshing and encouraging than being in the midst of believers with Christ at the center. Col 3:16 instructs us to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” By His grace I have seen this passage of scripture come alive again and again not only in the weekly gathering but also in walking and living life with the family of God.
God in his wisdom and grace creates communities by strategically bringing together specific individuals for his purpose and glory. Not only that, He allows us to taste the sweetness of fellowship with Him and the body of Christ. My prayer for every individual reading this is that you will fight to fully embrace the community that God has placed you in and reap the benefits promised by His Word. May your circle of close friends be those that consistently point you to the Great One!
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 10:24-25echo do_shortcode('[social_share]'); ?>