I rolled out of bed this morning at 5:35 a.m. in order to work out with hundreds of other people.
To some of you, that may sound like a nightmare. Others might be wandering why I am working out with hundreds of other people from age 7 to 70. Well, it’s called Red Dog’s Dog Days, a program unique to Lawrence, Kansas.
Did I enjoy waking up and working out at 6 a.m. when this is supposed to be my time off from softball? Maybe not.
Was it the most challenging workout I have ever done in my life? Definitely not.
But sometimes, it’s about being in the presence of a community.
God designed us as humans to need community, specifically a fellowship of believers.
As we look into the life of Jesus, we recognize that He had three best friends, John, James, and Peter. In Matthew 17, He takes these three men up to a high mountain by themselves and He was transfigured before them. The Scripture says, “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” (Matthew 17:2) After this moment, Jesus in turn relied on them as leaders of the message of the gospel.
Jesus also had the twelve disciples, whom He spent much time with. Matthew 10 tells us of when He sent out the twelve disciples and “gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:1). The disciples included Peter, James and John, but also Andrew, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, another James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas.
Jesus also has a larger group of acquaintances that He still considered His community. Luke 10 tells of that, “the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go.” (Luke 10:1) That is 72 people that Jesus trusted to go before Him with the message of the gospel.
I would also like to note that when Jesus did send out the 72, He sent them two by two. Not individually! He desires us to have fellowship with other believers.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
We are called into relationships, specifically with other believers, so that we can sharpen each other, that we can challenge each other, and that we can ultimately grow together.
In my own life, I have a select few friends that really know my past, my testimony, and my daily struggles. I am able to confess my sins to them and have true accountability in my spiritual life. I also live in a house with eleven Christian girls. People ask how I can stand this—but the reality is that God designed me to be submerged in this kind of community! Lastly, I have my Vintage Church community, which I get to serve and be an active part in. It’s in these various circles that help me reach true fulfillment in my walk.
This is just like working out or playing sports. Sure, I can go on a run on my own. But when I am there with one or two other people, or all 18 of my teammates, or even a couple hundred from the Lawrence community, I am held accountable to persevere, work hard, and finish the race.
“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” –Acts 20:24