Sunday, September 11, 2011

"We were created for good company."

I spent this past Saturday at a neighboring church watching a live simulcast of Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministry.  As it has been the case every time I have studied Scripture under the guidance of Beth Moore, the experience was singularly out of this world.  Beth (for some reason I feel like we are on a first name basis type of relationship : )  spent the entire day walking us through the life of Luke, the writer of the Gospel of Luke and of the Book of Acts.  As we journeyed through the humble path that Luke’s life took, we discovered a road map on how to walk the walk of a follower of Christ. 
The study revealed seven main points, the first one of which was:
          “We were created for good company.”  Under this heading, our teacher reminded us that we are not to journey through this life alone.  We have a God-shaped-hole in our heart.  Like Augustine said at the start of his Confessions, "God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you." Therefore, that hole can only be filled by Him, that restlessness can only be put at ease by the peace that surpasses all understanding, which only He can provide.  However, He also created in us a desire for company.  Anyone can attest to this.  Even if some of us enjoy, need and/or crave some “alone time” here and there, we can’t deny that loneliness withers the soul.
          God is relational in every aspect, even within Himself.  He is the Triune God.  The Great I AM co-exists within Himself in perfect fellowship with all Three Sacred Persons, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.  This is the ultimate treatise in fellowship perfection.  He Himself is the origin of our need for “company.”  After all, we were created in His image.  His image is one of relationship among the Trinity.
 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! (Romans 11:33) I thought that perhaps this was a good moment to remember this verse as we sigh…  He is indeed unsearchable.  He is untamed and impossible to be fully grasped.  Like we read in Ecclesiastes 11:15, “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”  We can’t completely understand His ways and His work, but He has “fearfully and wonderfully” made us; and as such, He has given us clues that lead us to Him.  He reveals Himself to us if we care to seek Him, and as we press on in our mission to know Him, He speaks His reality to us. 
          Back to this desire for company, we see how it can lead us to disaster if we are not careful and intentional about whom we let into our lives.  Like Beth Moore said, “we were created for GOOD company.”  Not just any kind of company.  Not company for the sake of company.  We are to surround ourselves with goodness and “22 flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  (2 Timothy 2:22)  We must seek fellowship with other believers as a form of communion with like-minded people who share their faith in Jesus Christ.  Even though we live among unbelievers, and we are called to love all; as the adopted children of God, we are part of His family and we are primarily called to share true fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Him who gathered us together. 
Fellowship is then, a different kind of relationship.  It is a relationship designed to provide the means for Christian growth.  It provides nourishment, strengthening and support for our faith.  It is impossible, then, to have fellowship with non-believers, since we would not be able to do any of these things in such relationship.  Therefore, the fellowship among brothers and sisters in Christ is a must.  There is no growth without it.  There is no fulfillment of our mission to serve and to love without it.  There is bitterness and loneliness without it. 
We need to walk alongside those on the narrow path in order to lift each other up, build each other up, serve each other, contribute to each other’s faith growth, lead each other toward Christ and hold each other accountable when we stray.  This “good company” is then our need to be in fellowship and communion with brothers and sisters in Christ so we may not walk alone.  We won’t make it alone.  Jesus knew it.  That’s why He began His ministry by calling His disciples into His fellowship.  That’s why He instituted the Sacrament of Communion as one of His last acts while in the flesh.  And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
            Just like Paul’s life was blessed by the good company of Luke who stayed with him until the bitter end, our lives brighten and our load lightens when we walk alongside our fellow adopted children of God, along those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

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