Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: Compass: Direction begins with Connection! (LISTEN HERE)
There are aspects of the Christian life that you cannot experience or grow in apart from connection with other people.
From time to time, I encounter people who say they “worship God by themselves” or state that “I don’t need to be part of a church to be a Christian.”
Perhaps we could argue the merits of these statements, but my internal reaction is usually, “That’s weird.”
As we noted on Monday, God created us for community and also designed his Church to be a community of many different people interacting around a common focus (worshiping the true God) and common purpose (serving the true God).
Perhaps an overlooked blessing of being connected with other people is the opportunity to experience and show the love of God in ways you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. Again, this isn’t always easy and at times there is friction and sparks that fly.
What do I mean?
Again we look to the inspired words of the Apostle Paul: Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
These emotions and reactions come very easily to us. They are products of our sinful nature and love to exhibit themselves when we interact with people. Relationships are challenging because we often react and interact according to our sinful, self-centered heart. Some does something we don’t like…we get angry. It happens a few times and we form bitterness. We don’t like what they are doing and make sure everyone else hates them too. If we can ruin their lives and make them miserable too, all the better. It is true, connection with people gives opportunity for our sinful nature to rear its ugly head.
So we avoid connection with people, right? Wrong.
Instead we see people that God has put in our lives as individuals he has placed there to give us opportunity to express AND receive the same grace and love we have received from him. The very next verse from the Apostle Paul is this:
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
God gives us people to put into practice the same kindness, compassion and forgiveness we ourselves have received from him.
It’s easy to receive the forgiveness of God in Christ. It’s hard to express it. It’s hard when we’ve been wronged to let the friction and sparks fly to hone off the rage and anger and let the sharpness and strength of forgiveness to appear. It’s hard when a relationship has hurt us to let the Spirit grind off the malice and slander and let the sharpness and strength of kindness and compassion come out.
But that’s the blessing and value of connection with people.
We get to see not only the reality of God’s love in our own lives, but the impact when we share it with others.
Admittedly, it’s not always easy. But again, if iron is going to sharpen iron, sparks and friction fly…but the result is a heart and soul sharpened on the love and grace of God.
Apply: What relationship is challenging your sinful nature to react with anger and slander? What might God be grinding off and honing through this relationship?
Prayer: Spirit of God, strengthen me to receive the grinding and honing necessary to sharpen my heart and soul for you! AMEN.