We are not designed to walk through life alone. We are not designed to try and navigate the Christian life alone. This truth is clear in the fact that when Jesus began His ministry He put together a community of people that He would refer to as friends. Then, as we see in the rest of the New Testament, the most common metaphor for the church is family. As Christ followers, we are to be a FAMILY.
God the Father knew what He was doing when He called us to be His family on earth. He knew that this world would bring so many challenges that we would need each other. He knew we needed to experience the same love for each other that is between Him and the Son.
Here is what that means; When we try to live the Christian life in isolation we are operating directly against the plan of God and setting ourselves up for failure. By isolation, I don’t just mean that you are not connected to a community of Christ followers. I also mean that you live in isolation when you don’t allow yourself to be known beyond the surface. You may be surrounded by a great community of people, but if you don’t allow them in beyond the surface, you can still be living in isolation. That may be the most dangerous isolation of all. You end up deceiving yourself and those around you into believing that you are someone that you are not.
The reality is that being known in those deep levels is hard but much is at stake. It is risky but we need to have the courage to let people all the way in.
My question to you is this; Who will you allow to come all the way into your heart? Who will you give permission to look you in the eye and ask you the most challenging and uncomfortable questions? Who will you allow to love you like family? Who will you be completely honest with about the struggles of your life?
I have a couple of people in my life that have that level of access in my life. What I know about them is that they love me like family and are willing to walk with me in grace and truth. I have even given a couple of them very specific questions that I need to be asked regularly. My job is to answer honestly. It can be hard but it is vital in my relationship with God and others.
Find people like that and have the courage to invite them in.
If you don’t know what you need to be asked, try some of these questions to get you thinking.
- How are you nurturing your relationship with God?
- How has your anger or fear or anxiety or addiction shown up this week?
- How have you wasted time this week?
- How have you felt yourself resisting obedience to God this week?
- Have you responded to the challenges of your week with integrity?
- Is there anyone who has hurt you recently that you need to forgive? Is there anyone you need to ask to forgive you?
- How have you battled sexual temptation and how are you preparing to deal with it next week?
- How has the Holy Spirit been testing and growing you this week? Did you respond in faith or grumbling?
- Is anything (school, work, technology, etc.) isolating you from important relationships?
- For couples and families: Are you intentionally carving out time to intentionally nurture the relationships in your family?
- How can the others in your life help you move forward in your growth in the areas you are struggling with?
Then one of my favorite questions, “Is there anything I need to ask you that I have not asked you.”
Choose courage and let someone all the way into your soul. It is important.