“We are communal beings, made in the image of a communal God.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 26, 2023
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:30-33, ESV
We are communal beings, made in the image of a communal God. And while it is good and right to have a rhythm of personal time where we learn to be at peace with ourselves and God, this cannot be the primary way in which we live our lives. By design, we know ourselves when we live in community with others.
As Paul reminds us in Romans 15, the company of others is a source of great joy and refreshment. Yet note the nature of this refreshment, and the company that Paul kept. These are not simply friends with whom he shared a few social interests. Framed in our own day, these relationships often center around a shared love for a sports team, craft coffee, interior design, or countless other hobbies and pursuits. And while this level of relational connection is not inherently wrong, and even brings great joy in many ways, it is not the kind of community that refreshes us in the deepest part of our souls.
The refreshment that Paul encountered was born out of brothers in the faith who strived with him in prayer to God on his behalf (v. 30). They were not only aware of the foundational mission of Paul’s life but joined him in that holy work, seeing it as a part of their calling as well.
Do you have friendships that connect at this depth of knowledge and meaning?
The longer we live, the more aware we become of our need for this kind of Spirit-led refreshment. The mission of God that each of us is invited into cannot be born in isolation. To be found faithful to the very end, we must have men and women in our lives that support and encourage us in our journey toward holiness, just as we seek to be that source of encouragement to them.
Do not settle for an existence that only skims the surface. The Lord longs to draw you deeper into the mystery of his love. Follow him as he leads, and invite a community of believers to join you on this great adventure!
Father, we long to be refreshed and restored in community in the deepest parts of our being. Open our lives afresh to this way of living, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Reflect for a moment on your closest friendships. Are they only defined by superficial connections, or do they refresh and encourage you in the deepest parts of your being?
Hillsong UNITED: Good Grace
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