Called to Encourage

Yesterday my close friend and I gathered in my living room amidst toys, empty juice boxes, and unfolded (but clean!) laundry. We buzzed with excitement despite the mess as we shared what God has been teaching us this week through Scripture, prayer, and everyday life. Hopes lifted up, tears shed, hearts humbled in prayer. Like that, an hour and a half flew by and it was time for her to leave, even though we could have kept going for hours. After I closed the door behind her,  reality hit once again. My circumstances hadn’t changed one iota, but my outlook was re-energized and refocused.

But be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

Ephesians 5:18 – 21

God has recently put a strong desire on my heart for committed fellowship. And it’s no coincidence how God brings people into your path because it turns out, I’m not the only one feeling this way. He had stirred up a desire in some of my closest friends in Christ who are also faithfully seeking after God’s will. 

Having received this confirmation, I immediately set to work creating a manifesto for the group. In my vision, these sisters would be privileged and committed in the Spirit to sharing, encouraging, rebuking, and praying for one another. An accountability group, of sorts.

Now, I know that this may sound a little extreme. Like something only people with serious addictions have. To be honest, it’s not that far off the mark; technically we believers do have serious addictions to rebelling against God. The need for commitment to community and fellowship is written all over the Bible:

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16

Fellowship and accountability is not only portrayed as wise, it is for safety, it is for love, and it is for the good of the whole community. We realize that life happens and circumstances change so this won’t last forever. However, in our desire to remain faithful to the very end we will do what it takes to stay vigilant in faith and not stumble.

This is what I imagine Heaven will be like – an eternal meeting of souls that love Jesus, overflowing with hope and uncontained zeal for his Word. While Heaven is going to be an indescribable experience, we luckily have the chance to enjoy a taste of it here on Earth.

Reflection

  • Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
  • What would it look like to start an accountability group within your circle?

Put it into practice

Feeling challenged to gather some pals and start doing the same thing? Please download the Accountability Group Manifesto below and make it your own, as the Spirit leads. And then tell me in the comments how it goes!

Love Notes Series: Love Leads to Peace

Did you know that before Jesus was betrayed, he said a prayer for all believers to come?

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
-John 17:20-23
That’s right, he prayed for us here today, in 2016, that all the people who confess Jesus Christ as Lord, fully God and fully Man would be united in their faith, loving God and loving others, for the sake of the people who still might come to Christ?
We may clash from time to time, disagree about theology and about when, where and how to worship. But love between believers causes harmony. Harmony is peace. Love – Harmony – Peace. This is what Jesus brings.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
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~The PD Team