“And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.” (I Thessalonians 3:12 NLT)
In Scripture there are literally dozens of “one another” statements such as the one above. Why is that so important? Because being a follower of Jesus isn’t an individual process. When we come to Jesus in response to His Holy Spirit’s invitation, we become a member of the Body of Christ on earth, commonly referred to as the Church.
Just as when I was born, I became a member of my biological family, when we’re born again of the Spirit, we become a member of God’s Family. In God’s design every child born should become a part of a loving, caring, and nurturing family, biologically and spiritually. Family is the context in and through which we learn the basic skills of living – i.e. how to share, how to get along, not always demanding our own way, how to love, etc.
It’s the same in the church or should be. At our church we often hear: “Before anything else we’re a family.” I love that and though I’ve only been a part of this local fellowship for a couple of years, I’ve developed some 2 a.m. friends who are more family to me than some of my biological family members. I know they have my back and I have theirs. Why is that so important?
I read in a Ron Hutchraft devotional about an island off the coast of South Africa where great white sharks are referred to as “flying sharks.” The area around this island is called the “Ring of Death” because of the number of seals who become prey to the “flying” great white sharks. It must have become apparent to the seals over time that if they stayed together, they were much less likely to become “shark lunch.”
Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 5:8: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Did you catch that? Who is the devil looking for? “SOMEONE!” Yes, of course, our walk with Jesus is very personal, but it was never intended to be private. When we get the idea that we’re doing really well by ourselves as a Jesus follower, that’s when we’re swimming with the “sharks.”
Did you ever notice what happens when the proverbial “road” gets hard to maneuver? Prayer and Bible reading and study get sidetracked; church or small group meetings suddenly become “optional;” even invitations to outings with friends get neglected. Why? Because we’re “tough,” we can handle the devil on our own! “It’s nothing I haven’t been through before” is a common phrase used by “veteran” believers.
What’s happening? The enemy is grooming us for an attack. A distracted believer is an ineffective believer; a Christ-follower who stops following Jesus closely and begins to lag behind the “pack,” becomes prey to wrong thinking that leads to wrong actions. And, unfortunately, we seldom reach out for help when we lose our way. So, what needs to happen?
That’s the value of “one another!” It’s critical that we develop a deep relationship with at least one person with whom we have frequent contact. Someone who will check in with us when we fail to check in with them. A person with whom we can share accountability, so that when we’re down for the proverbial “count,” they’re checking in on us – calling us, texting, and/or stopping by to make sure we’re okay.
Remember Ecclesiastes 4:12: “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Please don’t allow yourself or someone you love to become “shark lunch” because you didn’t check on them. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and promptly reach out to those who may be straying from the family. And if you’re the one who has lost your way, PLEASE reach out to someone TODAY!
Blessings, Ed 😊