GROWTH IN COMMUNITY

Scripture Reading: Romans 15:14-21

“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)

Paul clearly understood the importance of being part of a gospel community. He knew that Christians need each other in order to grow in their faith. As he thought about the believers in Rome, he wrote — “I myself am satisfied about you.” How encouraging these words must have been to those early Christians! He went on to say that he knew they were “able to instruct one another.”

In his book, Center City, Tim Keller writes — “Growth in grace, wisdom and character does not happen primarily in classes and instruction, through large worship gatherings, or even in solitude. Most often, growth happens through deep relationships and in communities where the implications of the gospel are worked out cognitively and worked in practically — in ways no other setting or venue can afford. The essence of becoming a disciple is, to put it colloquially, becoming like the people we hang out with the most.”

We need to be involved in relationships in which we can help each other grow. We need to study God’s Word together and pray with one another. We need to encourage, to exhort and to instruct one another in the faith. We need people with whom we can be vulnerable and honest. We need people who will hold us accountable and not be afraid to confront us when necessary.

The writer to the Hebrews put it like this — “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 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 ll the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25-27).

Lord Jesus, I am so thankful for the people who have been in my life to encourage, to exhort and to instruct me in the faith. I am especially thankful for the spiritual fathers you brought into my life to be my mentors. Thank You for the special friends who have come alongside of me in my Christian walk — those who have stirred me on to love and good works. Thank You for allowing me to be open and honest with a few special friends who I know love me and want Your best for me.

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