Proverbs offers a profound truth in this one simple statement: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). Iron on iron is not a pleasant description. The result is good, but the process is hard. When it comes to people, though, all too often, the moment the iron touches the iron, the people involved pull away from each other and the process, leaving the much needed sharpening incomplete. For this reason and others, Scripture calls us to faithfulness. Those who authentically follow Christ are not those who spin through one friendship after another, one group after another, one marriage after another, or one church after another. They know the value and importance of faithfully walking with people through time. This will stretch us, but that’s the point, at least one of them. The faithful become more like Christ, because they stay in the process. Those who disengage from the process carry their unrefined wounds and barbs into the next relationship, and it’s just a matter of time before they spin through that friendship as well. The importance of faithfulness is seen in all relationships, but a place where it is commonly challenged is with those seeking to make a difference in the lives of others. The idea of making a difference sounds both good and appealing. We all want to make a difference. Once the newness of the adventure wears off, though, we are often left face to face with the very real problems of the people we intended to serve. Like a doctor discovering the challenge of working with sick people, we discover the weight of engaging relationships that are neck-deep with spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial problems. This weight can be enough to cause us to react and pull away. But to do so misses the very opportunity we initially intended to address. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick,” Jesus said (Matthew 9:12). A lack of faithfulness when people’s challenges float to the surface will undermine our ability to truly bring health and healing. Those who authentically love people know and embrace the importance of staying engaged and relationally connected—faithful—when the real challenges make themselves known.
Spiritual Fitness Check
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Signs You're Living It Out
Can name 2 or 3 people with whom they have had conflict but are now stronger friends then prior to the conflict
Does not have a pattern of spinning through friendships, jobs, churches, or marriages
Has 2 or 3 people with whom they relate who know each others struggles, who encourage each other along, and who have been doing so for more than one year
Has displayed commitment to people struggling deeply by remaining relationally engaged to them despite the drain on time and energy
Spiritual Fitness Check
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This bible study gives a holistic look through Scripture at the Faithfulness outcome. Engage thought provoking questions for individual reflection and then discuss them in your Life Group or Spiritual Running Partner relationships.
This message from Gateway’s Sunday morning archive covers a Bible character you likely think you know well: Joseph, Mary’s husband. Joseph is very relatable to most of us; he’s an ordinary guy... you might even say... Read More