As we are going through this series talking about the shape of a Jesus follower we transition from the triangle, the pulpit, and move into the circle, our small groups.
Have you ever moved? I’m sure you have at some time in your life. The first time I moved out of my family’s house, it was simple! I could fit everything I owned in one car, and once I got to the school, I could fit it all in a 10x10 prison cell of a dorm along with all of my best friends’ things. Even when I moved back home, I could still move everything on my own in the same car I moved everything with the first time. However, the most recent time I moved, I couldn’t do it with one car. I needed a trailer and my family helped me move. I’ve also helped friends move, and they’ve needed used whole U-Haul trucks and teams of people to move! The more things or baggage you have, the more you need help with it.
Life is the same way. We were not made to do life alone. We need people to help make us look more like Christ and even just to learn from and get through life. Proverbs 27:17 says, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” That happens in our small groups. When we’re doing life together, we begin to carry each other’s burdens and our sin habits begin to show. Don’t be afraid of that! It’s hard to look more like Jesus sometimes because we have a hard time seeing where we fail, but other people will show us. That’s when we can really start to grow.
We also do life with one another to, as Hebrews 10:24 says, “stir up one another to love and good works.” As believers, we are called to be on mission, and when we are on mission, sometimes, we can become discouraged. We live in a world that Jesus promised would bring us persecution. We will need one another to lean on and be encouraged by when persecution happens.
Even Jesus had a small group that he met with and an even smaller group that he met with inside of that, which brings me to my last point. Discipleship happens within our small groups. Being a young guy, I like to have plenty of people speaking into my life that are at different life stages. The two guys that speak into my life most are older than me, one of them has young kids, and the other is what I’ve heard called an empty nester, but two completely different life stages than I am in. I need these guys in my life! They have wisdom that I don’t, and I can, and have, learned a great deal from them.
Then there’s that point about the smaller group. Jesus would often spend more time with Peter, James, and John. Our small groups should also come down to a small group like this. It’s within these groups that those really hard sin areas get exposed and removed. These groups should be small groups of people with the same gender. This is a super important time in the life of a believer because we can’t fight sin alone. It’s in these groups where we really learn what it’s like to fight sin.
The circle needs to be valued! It’s in the circle that we are able to be discipled and make disciples, grow in our walks, be encouraged, and fight sin. Our small groups are like a little family of believers meeting up for one common goal, to grow to spiritual maturity and make much of Jesus.
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
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