Read His Words Before Ours!
“Alllll by myseeeeelllllllff
Don’t wanna be
Allllll by myseeelllff
Celine’s soulful lyrics have become stock in trade for rom com break-up scenes and may leave us rolling our eyes (or reaching for the tissues; no judging here . . .). But perhaps they are so ingrained in our culture because of her plaintive statement of a truth that resonates deeply within us.
Centuries earlier, John Donne penned a similar sentiment:
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man
Is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”.
We were made for together.
At the inception of humankind, our Creator spoke this foundational idea:
“It is not good that man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
Sisters, we were made in God’s image, and central to His identity is community and fellowship, together. He is the triune God: God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us before anything else was, God was, eternally existing in fellowship with Himself. Born from this shared love, His creative heart crafted humanity, breathing His own life into us, fashioning our desire for community to mirror His own that we too might experience shared love of fellowship together with Him and others.
Why this emphasis on life together?
In part, He knew how dangerous alone can be.
When we’re alone (physically or spiritually), our problems become larger than life.
We begin ignoring the provision of God Himself as we elevate our problems above His goodness. As we fixate on our struggles, we can’t begin to conceive of sharing another’s burden. Our gaze turns increasingly inward, into a deepening spiral of self-absorption, hopelessness, and paralysis.
When we’re alone, the whispered lies of the enemy become the loudest sound we hear.
God’s words of truth become faint, fading into the distance of our memories. “Sure, God calls you His beloved,” the enemy sneers, pressing play on our personalized failure reels, “but could He really love someone who does this . . . and this . . . and this?”
Heads hung in shame, we find ourselves agreeing. All too soon, we’re no longer defined by the love of our Father, but by everything ugly within us.
When we’re alone, we abandon our discipline.
We find ourselves exhausted by the weight of carrying on in our feebleness, and after all, who will know if I don’t (insert discipline here) just this once?
Here, our last tenuous tethers to life-giving habits are severed.
His solution: together.
Together, we lean into loving accountability.
Our communities both seek the best for us and deserve the best from us. When we choose discipline, not only are we transformed by consistent change, but we build trust within our tribes.
Together, we can put physical voice to the Word of God, drowning out the enemy’s condemnation as we remind each other of truth. When we risk vulnerability within biblical community, we encounter the awesome power of shared experience. We are reminded how life is a journey for all, and failure doesn’t disqualify us from His plan.
Together, we gain perspective on our problems.
We can draw on one another’s experiences, finding wisdom and guidance as we seek the Lord together. We feel the rebirth of hope, reconnect with empathy, and are energized to act on our faith in the world around us.
The church at Colossae excelled at together.
Paul opens his letter to them with praise for the love they have for one another in the Spirit (Colossians 1:4, 8). He’d heard of their deep understanding of the hope and grace of salvation, and how it’s moved them to join their hearts together on their journey.
However, they stopped short of putting feet to their faith.
This body firmly believes in the hope of life in God;
they see the suffering around and within them, and their hearts swell with empathy . . .
but they don’t seem to be quite sure what to do next.
Contained within Paul’s prayer for the church are two practical ways for these believers to act, together.
First, Paul prays the Colossians would grow in knowledge of God’s will, tempered with wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9). God is know-able; His word stands ready to teach us His heart!
Then, Paul urges the Colossians to let this Word of God dwell with them deeply (Colossians 3:16) as His Spirit guides their actions. Partnership with the Father, because of the Son, through the Holy Spirit, teaches them walk in a manner worthy of their calling, fully pleasing to God, and bearing much fruit. (Colossians 1:10)
Sisters, this is God’s calling for us!
We can follow Paul’s instructions by asking ourselves these questions as we read Scripture:
What is God showing me about Himself?
The Colossians were encouraged to grow rich in knowledge and understanding of the Lord. How does what we read inform our perspective of the Almighty?
What is God showing me about myself and others?
What is God’s heart for my community? What lens should I see myself and others through?
What am I going to do about it?
How do I put feet to my faith? What are tangible, practical ways I can act on the Word and will of God, for me, for the body of Christ, and for the lost?
As we live out the vibrant, active Word of God,
lives are changed,
discipline becomes consistent,
and transformation results.
As we are sanctified, the Bride of Christ more closely resembles her Lover and the world around us begins to touch the true heart of the Father.
Together, we seek Him.
Together, we grow.
Together, we bear fruit.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!