“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
This week, women around the world are celebrating Women´s Entrepreneurship Day with a series of activities inspiring, motivating and urging women not only to pursue their dreams and aspirations but also to support each other while doing it. It has been wonderful to see women coming out to support each other in their businesses and careers, as opposed to the usual stories of competition, petty rivalry, and general nastiness that we´re told characterizes female relationships. This is one narrative that needs to change.
This got me reflecting on the power of unity and connectedness and how as believers we are called into fellowship. But not just any kind of wishy-washy surface fellowship, we are called to Spirit-led, authentic relationships. Relationships that build us up, relationships that challenge and stretch us, relationships that are a safe place for us to be vulnerable. These relationships shape who we are and many times our outlook on the world. It is in these relationships and through these relationships that we should grow, and change and evolve, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” Prov 27:17. Timothy Keller says, “our character is mainly shaped by our primary social community –the people with whom we eat, play, converse and study.” So who is your primary community? Who are you “doing life” with?
Early on in my life, I was blessed to experience such relationships in my bible study small group; we were attracted by our love for Jesus and bound together by the Holy Spirit. However, vulnerability is not my strong suit, and the idea of anyone seeing my hemorrhaging heart, let alone me sharing it was completely out of the question. And oh the misunderstandings, misconstruing and confusions! But then as the Holy Spirit wrought his work in us through His word and presence, what sweetness, what joy, what togetherness! We have prayed together, laughed together, told each other off, eaten together (many a times!), fought, forgiven, mourned and celebrated!
By the very nature of these relationships, you probably cannot have this level of intimacy with everybody, however as Christian women, wives, mothers, sisters, friends, we are called to be each other’s keeper, burden bearer, admonisher, prayer partner, and help. Our lives are not meant to be lived only for ourselves, sheltered behind walls of protection, instead the Bible admonishes us “let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” Phil 2:4
Jesus says that said the two greatest commandments are to love God with all our hearts and love our neighbours as ourselves. This means that love for our neighbours (and ourselves) should be a consequence of our love for God. A careful examination of the scriptures will reveal how much emphasis the Bible places on how we should treat one another. The original Greek word for one another according to Thayer´s Greek Lexicon is ἀλλήλων also referring to a reciprocal and mutual action. It occurs in almost 90 verses in the New Testament!
These verses are the Bible´s blueprint for how we are to relate to each other, they depict what our relationships should look like and how we are to reach out to the world. I urge you to hold up your relationships to the light of these verses. Is this your outlook? Do your relationships closely resemble this or are they so far off the other end? May God give us the grace to fulfill His calling and a revelation of the power of unity and connectedness.
There are so many of these one another scriptures to meditate on, and I particularly like the way Ministry Tools put it together, if you would like to study more. Here are a few scriptures to meditate on, (bold is my emphasis):
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7 NIV
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16 NIV
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessaonians 5:11 NIV
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 NIV
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds“ Hebrews 10:24 NIV
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV
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