Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ephesians 6:21-24 "No Man is an Island"

"Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

"Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love." NIV
As Paul closes this letter to the church at Ephesus, he reminds us of the power of the body working together. According to the NIV study notes, Tychicus was "an associate of Paul who traveled as his representative." Even while sitting in prison, Paul not only writes to the churches to encourage and instruct them, he sends someone in his place to be skin on for them. These churches were out there, alone and persecuted. They were like us in that they believed in a Savior that they had never seen with their eyes. All they knew was through the apostles' testimonies and the Holy Spirit's revelation. The church was young. Only alittle over 50 years had passed since Jesus' ascension. They were babies struggling to pull themselves up to their feet and walk in this new way. Their steps were unsure and wobbly. They often fell or were distracted. So they needed someone to instruct and encourage them in seeing their way through this revolutionary idea of Christianity.

As believers we have to work together to accomplish the mission. We must encourage one another and hold each other accountable to living the life of the believer. It's tough out there. Between fighting against our sinful nature -- repeatedly putting it to death -- resisting temptation, keeping focused on the Truth and living it with integrity while putting food on the table and a roof over our heads, we have a difficult task before us. It's easy to get distracted. But we are not alone -- spiritually or physically. If we only had the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us, that would be enough. But God went one step further -- he gave us help with skin on -- our fellow believers.

Thirteen years ago when we moved to Sacramento from the Midwest, the Lord laid on my heart that I needed an accountability partner. My husband and I hold each other accountable, but I needed someone outside of the marital relationship which involves so many other facets. I needed someone whose relationship with me was to be a spiritual support. I was so blessed when the Lord directed me to Laurie. We're about the same age (although she always reminds me I'm older) and have similar life experiences and spiritual maturity level. We have been meeting pretty much every week for 13 years to study the Word together, pray for each other, ask the tough questions, and pretty much share our lives with one another. We have had a relationship that has grown me up in my spiritual walk like I never grew before. And it never seems to fail that when I am struggling, she is able to hold me up and when she's struggling, I'm in the good place to be her anchor. We've shared almost a third of our lives together through raising children, career changes, family crises, and many joys. We laugh and cry together and have an authentic relationship that is open and honest. We keep each other's feet to the fire which can be a humbling experience. It's tough to walk the Christian life, and we have vowed to live a life of no compromise. So we each make sure the other one is walking the walk. I'm so blessed to have my dear best friend who knows me inside and out. I wouldn't trade her for the world, and "I thank my God every time I remember" her.

If you don't have someone to hold you accountable, ask the Lord to lead you to that person. You don't have to do this alone. We are the body of Christ, but we are not invincible. We need each other. Your strengths will help me and my strengths will help you. Let's work together to accomplish the mission to which we have been called. The eternal addresses of our friends, neighbors and colleagues are at stake.

Further Thoughts:
  1. How many "pairs" of workers can you name from the Old Testament? What were some very specific ways they helped each other? (i.e. Moses and Aaron)
  2. How did Jesus send out the disciples when they traveled to share Jesus' message? (See Luke 10:1)
  3. How is the body of Christ to work? Look back at Ephesians 4:11-16, Romans 12:3-5, and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
  4. If you do not have an accountability partner, I encourage you to pray for the Lord to direct you to one.

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