“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
The book of Hebrews is a letter written to a group of early believers who were experiencing mounting persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ. In those times, being a follower of Jesus wasn’t as easy as it is today in Singapore. The easy way out for them was to revert to their old beliefs.
But the author of Hebrews exhorts believers to hold fast to their faith in the light of who Christ is. He encourages the people to stand strong together in the midst of the challenges by remembering God’s direction for their gathering.
To stay faithful and thrive, not just survive through the difficult times.
He also gives them handles on how to run the Christian race well together – handles that are equally useful today as we gather in our congregations and smaller groups. In our church, we call these smaller groups “Life Groups”, because the Christian life simply cannot be done alone. Here are 3 ways to “do life” well with fellow believers.
3 WAYS TO LIVE THE ABUNDANT LIFE AS A LIFE GROUP
1. Stay mutually accountable
The author in Hebrews urges us to consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. “To consider” means to pay attention and focus.
This is an instruction to everyone. Instead of only focusing on ourselves, everyone has the same responsibility for the community around us.
So while we have a personal responsibility to seek our own growth in Christ – but the Bible also urges us to look at how we can grow in Christ together.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
A lack of accountability means you avoid dealing with and confronting difficult issues. A Life Group will never be able to function in the fullness of the life of Christ if we fail to have the hard conversations – if we avoid speaking the truth in difficult situations and issues.
When there is conflict, you will find that it is very easy to talk to everyone else except the actual person involved. But mutual accountability means we must approach the person. Not to accuse, but to clarify.
Look to God for a good dosage of courage and love to confront the parties involved. More often than not, you will realise that the conflict arose from miscommunication or misunderstanding.
2. Persist in gathering
As much as we are able to, we should gather together. Availability is important. Without availability, it is very difficult to do life together.
“I am just so disappointed and discouraged. I don’t want to meet anymore,” you may say.
I’ll say that precisely because you are discouraged, all the more you should gather with your Life Group and encourage one another towards love and good deeds.
“But pastor, you don’t understand, I’m too busy to meet up.”
If you are too busy to gather for Christ, you are too busy for your own good. When you meet God, will you be able to tell Him that you have lived your life fully for Him? Or did you give your life away to pursue the world?
Life Group is more than just a 2-hour weekly meeting. It is a place where people come together to do life together.
“The meetings are all the same, it gets very mundane.”
Life Group is more than just a 2-hour weekly meeting. It is a place where people come together to do life together. A place where we love and are loved, know and are known, celebrate and are celebrated.
Jesus is the centre of the community. With Jesus as the centre, we do life together in the pursuit of bringing glory to Him.
3. Position for the finishing line
God has placed us in communities so that we can add courage to one another when we face difficulties and challenges. The Bible says to encourage one another – and all the more as the Day approaches.
This Day refers to the second coming of Christ, which will be the day of Judgement and Deliverance. Leading up to that day, it will get tougher to live a life that glorifies God; persecution will come. In such times, we will need to encourage one another.
As the end draws near, we need to persist in spreading the Gospel to all those who are far from God. When Jesus returns, all who do not know Him will march towards a Christ-less eternity.
I was once outside the community, but someone loved me enough to invite me in. They loved me, spoke my language. I finally understood what Life Group was really about.
We are better together when we live not for ourselves, but for the world out there that has yet to know Jesus.