Summary: Who is in your circle? Are they the right people? Why? What are the people in our circles supposed to do? We will discover that those who are close matter most!
Pt. 4 - Circle Component 3
Circles are everywhere. Entertainment. Games. And one of the most obvious place you see circles is in sports.
Circles are another way of saying relationships.
We instinctively seem to know that our circle determines our course. Our friends determine our future. We agree that those close matter most.
We have declared that we must know how a circle is supposed to function. If we don't, then we either never fully tap into or harness the benefit of a circle or we exit or sabotage the circle available to us because we are unwilling to pay the price of transparency, vulnerability and submit to accountability that is necessary for the circle to be meaningful. The result is we either suffer in isolation while we call it independence, or we hop in and out of circles, groups, or churches looking for fruit that we so desperately desire and even envy. However, we never recognize that this fruit can only be obtained and secured through intentional and long-term investment of time. So, in time of need, distress, pain we blame everyone who doesn't respond for being shallow or uncaring or we silently wonder why our relationships lack the roots necessary to sustain us.
If we know function, we then have appropriate expectations and demands. There are some things we should expect from our circle and if the circle doesn't provide these things, then we must either demand and develop it in the circle or we need to do a circle check to determine if it may be time for a circle change.
So, I informed you that right in plain sight in Scripture there are 59 different "one another" statements giving us circle coaching. Then at closer examination, I discovered that all of these statements can be clustered into 6 components wrapped around one core component.
As we work through this, I want to encourage you to do a circle check. I caution you again . . . the tendency is to ask this appropriate question . . . Is my circle doing this for me? However, if we are not careful, then we will fail to ask the equally crucial question . . . Am I doing this for my circle?
We have stated that the core component around which the other 6 components orbit is . . . love.
17 different and distinct occasions out of the 59 statements is the instruction to love another. 28% of the list is a command to love one another.
I tell you again that the other 6 components are impossible if we don't first love one another with love that binds and motivates us.
We dealt with one of the most difficult of the orbiting components which was (SLIDE 4) Confess/Forgive.
In a safe circle, we are able to confess and forgive. If we don't confess, then we can not be healed or whole. We must find confidential and careful circles where the circle mates are aware of their own need for forgiveness so that we can confess, be met with grace and together dislodge the sin and struggles of our life. If our church can be made up of circles like this, then our church will always be a bastion of grace for those who are wounded and broken.
The second orbiting component that must be a part of our circle was serve. Serving one another keeps us circled. Serving is about seeing needs and filling them knowing that as we do this others are seeing our needs and meeting those.
So, let's continue.
The third component, that orbits around love, is pray for one another.
There is one direct mention of this coaching command. There is a secondary mention that I believe infers this command.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
The secondary verse is one we mentioned last week in Galatians 6:2 - Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
So, let's talk about this third component a second. There are some interesting things to point out here for us to consider.
1. Prayer can't be a cop out.
It is interesting to me that in the 59 circle coaching statements that serving one another is mentioned 8 times and prayer is only mentioned once. Should we assume from this that prayer isn't important? Should we conclude that prayer is nonessential? Should we decide then that prayer doesn't matter? I would certainly argue that you have made a serious error if you make this conclusion. Instead, what I would suggest is that the emphasis on service actually positions us for more effective and powerful prayer. How? Glad you asked. It is as you serve that you are also going to discover needs that you can't meet. You are going to find out that there is sickness that you can't heal. Hurt that you can't resolve. Brokenness that you can't mend. Lack that you can't resource. It is at this juncture that you suddenly come to the realization that only God can do this.