I hate weeding and I’m always amazed at how quickly a patch of weeds can overrun an empty space in my garden. After many years of fighting weeds in the sunshine state, where everything green grows all year, I’ve learned that the best way to keep the weeds from taking over in my garden is to simply crowd them out with beautiful flowers. You see, I’ve learned that the weeds won’t grow where healthy plants are growing tightly together.
I believe this same truth applies to our spiritual lives. I believe that our brothers and sisters in Christ, when planted tightly around us in authentic community, work to keep out the spiritual weeds that are prone to grow when we try to “go it alone.”
I am so grateful that God did not design us to be lone rangers in this life. He created us, yes, for fellowship with him but also for fellowship here on earth with other imperfect humans who need us as much as we need them.
These “flowers” that fight the spiritual weeds in my world are a small group of believers who are living out this journey with me. I meet at least weekly with these friends who love me, who speak truth to me and who allow me to speak truth into their lives as well. These sisters and brothers in Christ, each in their own way, help to crowd out the unwanted weeds growing in my life….
When I mention the weeds of discouragement taking root in my heart, these friends encourage and pray for me.
When I speak of the weeds of doubt sprouting in my mind, they inspire me with their strong faith.
When I confess weeds of sin germinating in my life, these friends remind me of who I am in Christ, remind me of his grace and inspire me to live rightly.
And, when I express weeds of grief growing in my heart, these friends mourn with me, serve me and remind me of God’s goodness.
I haven’t always had friendships like this in my life. It doesn’t come naturally. I have prayed for friends….wise friends, godly friends and God has provided. But, I also have learned that to have (and to be) this kind of friend requires vulnerability. It means showing up and sharing honestly about the hurts, fears and struggles of my life and how they are impacting my soul. This is not easy, but I am learning that it’s worth it.
It’s worth it because vulnerability reveals our need for the Gospel and it builds intimacy in our relationships. It knits us together with others and, when we build community that allows vulnerability, we are able to better practice the love and good works that the author of Hebrews calls us to in this verse.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
Lord, thank you for that we don’t have to live out this life alone. Thank you for the gift of community. Thank you for those you place around us who encourage us in love and good works. Help us not to give up on each other or on the time we spend together but help us to continue to spur each other on….for our good and for your glory!
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