Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why Its Time to Ditch Isolation

I’m often encouraged by the pastors and elders at our church, knowing that they reach out on a personal level to those who make a decision for Christ. Part of our mission statement is to glorify God by equipping disciples of Jesus Christ. I love the emphasis that our leaders place on guiding people to follow Jesus, and walking alongside them through the journey of faith.

When I gave my life to Christ while in high school, the decision seemed so simple and clear (something I thought everyone in the world should do), I didn’t mention my decision to anyone. I knew immediately that choosing to follow Christ was right, and I really didn’t put much thought into it. I made the decision to accept Jesus and His rescue from an eternity of damnation just as easily as I made the decision to tie my shoes and spare myself from tripping over my shoelaces. It was the right thing to do and really I didn’t know what there was to talk about. 

I didn’t fully engage with a church congregation as a new believer, and no one taught me to dive in to this life we call Christianity. In my early walk, there was no one to model a Christ-honoring lifestyle for me – no one advising me to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). I stayed stagnant in my faith for many years, trusting in the truth that God so loved the world that He gave is only Son that whoever believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. 

Eventually, two women came into my life and shook my apple cart. About 15 years had transpired since I’d given my life to the Lord. In my work in commercial real estate, I hired a sweet, young receptionist who lived and breathed Jesus Christ. I’d never met anyone like her. She talked about Jesus all day long. He was obviously a huge part of her life and she loved Him – anyone could see it! This young girl showed me a level of commitment to the Lord that was new and fresh to me.  

Sometime later, my husband and I joined our very first Bible study and one of the teachers was a woman who truly walked out her faith. Under her mentorship, I began to see that God’s instruction through His Word was as important in my personal life – right now – as it was to those in Biblical times. I never looked back. My faith journey finally had legs and progressed toward the Lord, responding to His call, in new and remarkable ways.

Prior to this, I didn’t know there was more to the Christian faith. I didn’t realize I could hope for – and expect – a deeper relationship with the Lord. But now that He has shown me and now that I see how much He offers even a simple women like me, I want to shout it from the rooftop and leave no woman behind! 

One of the things I’ve learned in this particular journey is that we must abandon isolation to grow in the Lord. An introvert by nature, it’s easy for me to withdraw from the crowds and hide myself in seclusion. But the Lord created us to fellowship and work together as a unified body of Christ. We receive encouragement and motivation to grow when we gather with other like-minded believers. Our swords are sharpened not only through our time alone with the Lord but through the testimonies and real-life stories of those around us.

The process of coming out of isolation is twofold:  
1.     Allow ourselves to learn from those more mature in the faith, and
2.     Share our lives and faith lessons with those around us.

As difficult as it feels sometimes, we have to attend more than a weekly worship service.  We must train ourselves to say, “YES” to invitations to Bible studies, small groups, ministry teams, and fellowship gatherings. We have to get out of our comfort zones and into real life situations where God is moving among those He dearly loves. We learn from each other, whether we’re new believers or seasoned warriors of the faith. We have much to give to and receive from the body of Christ and we rob ourselves of many gifts when we choose isolation over fellowship.

Choosing to follow Christ is an eternity-altering decision and immeasurably more profound than deciding to tie our shoes. Our decision to follow Him must pair with intentional action to know Him and build relationship with Him. Part of our service to Him comes through spending time with others of the faith.  That’s where our mentors and role models are.  It’s where we touch the lives of others and share our testimonies.  Let’s bless others and receive their blessing in return.  Let’s resolve to start reaching out for all that Kingdom living has to offer, to recognize and embrace God’s best for our lives. 

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.  Ecc 4:9-12 (NASB)

Your Turn: 

In what practical ways can you ditch isolation?

How have you mentored others or received encouragement from others in the faith?

Be strengthened today by the Word,

Psalm 119:28

No comments:

Post a Comment