Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our Desperate Daily Need

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:12-14).

We have a desperate daily need for one another. This is true for couples as well as single people. Over time, married people settle into habits and patterns of life that cater to our worldly appetites. And instead of spouses confronting one another, we conspire together to build our own personal kingdoms rather than God's. We choose together to deny the power of the Gospel by following the course of this world rather than renewing our minds. We clearly see this in the Bible in couples like Ahab and Jezebel and Ananias and Sapphira.

On the other hand, when a couple conspires together for the glory of God, a powerful force for the Gospel can be established. We clearly see this in the Bible in a couple like Aquila and Priscilla. However, behind every Aquila and Priscilla we'll likely find someone like the apostle Paul, encouraging and challenging and stirring up to love and good works. Deitrich Bonhoeffer says it this way:

When Christians live together, at some time and in some way it must come to the point that one Christian personally declares God's Word and will to another. . . . We talk to one another about the help we both need. We admonish one another to go the way Christ bids us to go. We warn one another against the disobedience that is our undoing. We are gentle and we are firm with one another, for we know both God's kindness and God's firmness. . . . When another Christian falls into obvious sin, an admonition is imperative, because God's Word demands it. The practice of discipline in the community of faith begins with friends who are close to one another. Words of admonition and reproach must be risked when a lapse from God's Word in doctrine or life endangers a community that lives together, and with it the whole community of faith. Nothing can be more cruel than that leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than that severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one's community back from the path of sin. When we allow nothing but God's Word to stand between us, judging and helping, it is a service of mercy, an ultimate offer of genuine community.

God's Word is what binds us to one another, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what sets our agenda. We often think of Christian maturity as the move toward sinless perfection. That's part of maturity, but I don't think it's the most important part. The most important aspect of Christian maturity is that humility of spirit that makes one confrontable. We all have blind spots, and we all need others to help us see. Praise God that he has given us a community of other Christians to help us fight the sin that we refuse to forsake or fail to see.


JanAl said...

I am so thankful for the women around me, that ask me the hard questions and keep me accountable. For me, my favorite part of having brothers and sisters in Christ, is the accountability I get.(When the motives are right).
Sometimes we are blinded to our own sins.

Jess said...

Just like Janal said, I too am thankful for those Christian friends of mine that ask those hard questions that make me realize how sinful I really am. I have a real close friend that I know that I can always go to and she will always give me biblical advice and ask those hard questions that make my wheels start turning. Sometimes I'm in park or even in reverse at times also.

Jess said...

Or just plain stuck on MYSELF! So true...

danny2 said...

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.--Proverbs 27:6

It's so tempting for us to despise a strong word from a brother/sister for the sake of conforming us to Christ, and trade it in for kisses from Judas.

DL said...

kisses feel better for the moment. :)