Sunday, August 13, 2006

Personal not Private

1Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody…. 10Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. ~ Galatians 6:1-3, 10; NLT

We like to talk about having a personal relationship with God. In many aspects it is personal. In Galatians 4:6 the Apostle Paul writes; And because you Gentiles have become his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father (NLT). Paul is talking about a relationship that is both real and personal. Paul also reminds us in Galatians 6:5; For we are each responsible for our own conduct (NLT). No one else can have this relationship for us; it is something that must be our own choice.

There is a personal aspect of having a relationship with God, but God never intended for us to be alone in this relationship. We are surrounded by people with whom have a relationship with God. We are to help each other as we live in relationship to God.

It is so easy to become concerned about our relationship with God, or at best a few other people we are close to, and neglect other people. We think that our “spiritual lives” are a private aspect of our lives and that it is improper to trespass on another’s relationship with God. We do this at the determent of the Church.

Sure it is uncomfortable to talk with another about something we believe is so private and personal. Since it is uncomfortable we should get the hint that it is important to do. Satan has great success when he gets us to believe that we have to struggle through life alone. When we are isolated we have a greater chance of falling.

It seems to me that Paul is urging Christians to be involved in each other’s lives. We shouldn’t let a person drift away for our local congregations without providing assistance. We shouldn’t think that this is just the job of paid Church Staff, but be willing to befriend anyone who seems to be in need. We should be willing to share stories of how God is working in our lives and the difference He has made. We should accept the help for other Christians rather than isolating ourselves for the Church when things aren’t going the way they should.

Christianity isn’t just about having a personal relationship with God, but it is also about getting involved in the lives of other Christians. If we are just focused on our relationship with God and neglect other people we reveal that we are still very selfish. By getting involved in the lives of others we are able to learn humility and compassion, two essential characteristics of a mature Christian.

I want to challenge you to get involved in the lives of other people. Maybe you need to be part of a small group, perhaps you need to teach a class, maybe you need to get to know a person in the nursing home, or perhaps there is a teenager at Church you could befriend. The ways for you to get involved are limitless and what you do is less important than you going out and doing it. Having a relationship with God requires us to have relationships with other people.

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