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. 5 - Circle Component 4
Circles are everywhere. Entertainment. Games. And one of the most obvious places 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. 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?
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.
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 cannot 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. And then last week, from quarantine, we said that the third orbiting component was that we must pray for one another. Praying for one another is only mentioned 1 time directly compared to the 8 times we are told to serve. Our prayers can't be a cop out for serving. Prayer should accompany our service, not substitute for it! We must learn to invite God to do what only He can do while we do what we can do! As we pray, we correctly carry one another's burdens.
So, let's continue.
The fourth component, that orbits around love, is encourage for one another.
There are 6 coaching commands regarding encouraging one another. Going to read these out of order simply because there is one generic command and the others that tell us to encourage are very specific on how and why we are to encourage one another.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (2x - generic)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
There will be the shout of command, the archangel's voice, the sound of God's trumpet, and the Lord himself will come down from heaven. Those who have died believing in Christ will rise to life first; then we who are living at that time will be gathered up along with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. So then, encourage one another with these words.