In yesterday’s sermon we talked about the rich young ruler and the challenge that Jesus gave him. The challenge to let go of the things that we are holding on to the most tightly that are crowding out room for God in our hearts. I knew in my life there have been several times where I have had to let things go at the feet of Jesus so that I could be made free to follow after Him. I knew in the abstract yesterday that we all have these things in our lives, we all have people, situations, and things that we are holding on to desperately with white knuckles. Then people started talking to me afterwards and I heard that concretely we all have these things we need to let go of, to turn over to God.
But we rarely talk about them with each other.
For good reason too. It’s hard to drop “I’m really desiring to control my kids life” or “Money has too much power over my heart” into casual conversation. Talk about a wet blanket. These types of statements aren’t out of the ordinary though in the conversation of people who are trying to encourage each other to take their walks with Jesus to deeper and more exciting places. When we place ourselves in intentional relationships with each other where we build trust and are able to talk honestly about our inner lives, it can really become a HUGE catalyst for spiritual growth. It is hard to explain in words, but there is tremendous truth in Jesus’ statement “whenever two or three are gathered together I am there with you with you” (Matt. 18:20). When we get together, not to gossip, vent, or complain but to have meaningful conversation about what is going on in our lives, we often walk away strengthened, renewed, and encouraged. It isn’t explainable, but it happens! When we open our hearts and our lives up to others , growth happens as we challenge and encourage each other. Can you imagine how much easier it would be to let the things in life that are clogging our hearts go if we could have open and honest conversations with each other about what is going on in our lives!? Isn’t it always so much easier once you realize you are not alone? That others are going through the same or similar things that you are?
The Christian life is a journey, we shouldn’t try to be on this journey alone.
Sometimes these relationships take time to develop, sometimes they take a little work to get started, but these types of relationships and communities are how God moves and works amongst us. Just look at Jesus and his disciples and the early churches in the book of Acts. None of them where trying to follow Jesus on their own, and we shouldn’t either.
So don’t be discouraged if you don’t have any of these relationships in your life at this moment, but do get started on forming them. Sometimes, it’s as easy as calling a friend and arranging a regular lunch or breakfast meeting with the purpose of spiritual discussion. Sometimes joining a bible study , Sunday school class, or other group is the best way to start. No matter what, pray about it and ask God to help you find these relationships in your life and trust that he will help you out.