God made us to connect with other people. Lasting life change, personal transformation and spiritual growth best occurs in the context of authentic, life-giving relationships.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT)
GREAT RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE FLOW OUT OF THE CONTEXT OF A DYNAMIC RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS.
I think this is one of the reasons the writer of Hebrew goes to such great lengths to give us 10 chapters of doctrinal truth about what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross!
He understands, when we really come to believe, know and understand that we’ve been loved and accepted by God based on the finished work of Jesus, it deals a deathblow to the feelings of insecurity and inferiority that undermine and sabotage deep level, life giving relationships.
When we really believe, know and understand we’ve been loved and accepted by God, we open up to the possibility of being loved and accepted by others.
TRANSFORMATIONAL LIFE CHANGE BEST OCCURS WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AUTHENTIC LIFE-GIVING RELATIONSHIPS.
This principle shows up throughout the Bible:
Moses had Aaron!
David had Jonathan!
Esther had Mordecai!
Daniel had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego!
Peter had Andrew!
John had James!
Paul had Barnabas, Silas, Timothy and a host of other guys!
Jesus was surrounded by a core group of twelve and an inner circle of three; and what these guys learned about community changed not only their lives, but also changed the world!
If Jesus needed a band of brothers, so do you!
IF JESUS NEEDED A BAND OF BROTHERS, SO DO YOU!
Something to ask yourself: Who are the people you are surrounding yourself with? Are they helping you grow or are they undermining your faith?
HOPE, MOTIVATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT ARE A TEAM SPORT.
The book of Hebrews is about finishing. Why? Because the author knows, it’s FINISHING that counts! It’s CROSSING the FINISH LINE that matters. And whether or not you finish and whether or not you “…hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm…” is directly tied to the kind of RELATIONSHIPS you develop.
I love the gathered worship experience, but that isn’t enough!
The first century church enjoyed the beauty and grace of the gathered worship experience, but they did more than just come and sit in NEATLY DEFINED ROWS, looking at the back of one another’s heads.
According to Acts 2, and I believe it’s what’s being described even in Hebrews 10, they often gathered in CIRCLES. They met together “house to house” where they could look in one another’s eyes, and when they saw someone in their group starting to get weary or tired, they could put their arms around them and say, “Don’t give up! Don’t give out! Don’t give in! Hold tightly to the hope you have without wavering. God can be counted on!”
Encouragement, correctly understood, is the language of the New Testament. The phrase “to encourage” gets used more than 100 times in the New Testament!
gets used more than 100 times in the New Testament.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another... (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)
...encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”... (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “That all sounds great, but how can I get into some of those relationships?”
Great question! You can’t just make a relationship happen, but you can strategically put yourself in environments where the potential to CONNECT in a life-giving, authentic, biblically defined, Jesus-centered relationship can occur.
Putnam writes: “The single most common finding from a half-century’s research on life satisfaction not only from the US but around the world, is that happiness is best predicted by the breadth and depth of [our friendships and relationships].
It’s our CONNECTIONS with family, friends and community.
Putnam goes on to write: “As a rough rule of thumb, if you belong to no groups but you decide to join one. You cut your risk of dying over the next year in half.”
Anybody out there NOT interested in cutting your risk of dying in half?
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. (Hebrews 10:23 NLT)
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24 NLT)
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)