"You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone...If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble." Ephesians 4:9-10
Does anyone in your life really know who you are? Do you have family or friends that know the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to your life and how you live it on a day to day basis? Are there people you can talk to you about your pains and struggles? Would you say you have true friends?!?
Life is difficult. Everyday, I face circumstances that discourage me, test my patience, challenge my comfort zone, and cause me to ask myself, "How will I get through all of this?" At times, all I want to do is call my boss, tell him I'm "slick," sleep in for an extra 4 hours, wake up, watch movies all day long, and not spend a second thinking about life and the many "problems" that come along with it.
But regardless of circumstances, I have realized that I cannot live a life of victory over the many obstacles and challenges I face, alone. I need people. But I don't need just anybody. I don't need people to chit-chat or "shoot the breeze" with. I don't need someone who is going to nod and agree with everything I say. There are enough of those people in my life. I need people who are willing to speak truth into my life regardless of how I might receive what they have to say. I need someone to care. I need accountability. Rick Warren in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, describes what I'm looking for:
"The simplest levels of fellowship are the fellowship of sharing and the fellowship of studying...A deeper level is the fellowship of serving...The deepest, most intense level is the fellowship of suffering, when we enter into each other's pain and grief and carry each other's burdens."
Currently, I am struggling with procrastination and laziness. Basically, if you want something done by a specific date, DON'T give it to me to do! I joke about it now, but is is an issue that is affecting my life quite negatively. I am not being a good steward of my time and it is starting to catch up to me in the form of unnecessary stress, frustration, and late fees! I clearly will not be able to overcome this on my own. I need people to hold me accountable to my goals and what I say I am going to do.
Now let's talk about you. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one being weighed down by my shortcomings. Where does your greatest struggle lie? Rick Warren asks, "What are you pretending isn't a problem in your life?" After identifying your "issue," the next question I would ask you is, "Who knows?" Who can encourage you and ask you the tough questions that will lead you to victory over this area of your life?
The Bible says, "Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed." Wouldn't it be nice to live whole and healed?!? And if you are up to it, the last question I would challenge you with is, "Who do you care enough about to encourage and strengthen through a battle that he/she might be fighting?" Who will you give of yourself to, unconditionally, so that they might live a more victorious life? Who will you invest your life into this week?
I am convinced that the life we live is a difficult one. But more importantly, I truly believe that the love we have for one another, especially when expressed through the "fellowship of suffering," can conquer all things. Together, let's overcome our addictions, bad habits, struggles, and faults. Together, let's live the life of joy, peace, and fullness that we were called to live. Together, let's live a life of victory!
"If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other...If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves." - 1 John 1:7-8