Summary: Message 6 in a series exploring the essential elements to a healthy spiritual focus. These are the three basic Biblical directives. This message begins discussion of the second element -- Pursue meaningful relationships.
“CPR for a Healthy Walk" Part 6
I. Cleave to and continually cultivate relationship with Christ
A. Humbly Connect to Christ
B. Gratefully consecrate (present) your members to His service.
C. Continually renew our thinking or perception
D. Sincerely draw near to God
E. Live in the power of the Holy Spirit
If we would practice these things on a consistent basis, we would discover that the things of earth really would grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. But for a number of reasons, we find it difficult to maintain such a focus over an extended period.
We experience seasons of fervor for God but find it difficult to maintain that fervor over time. We feel like we should be able to keep it up on our own. There must be something wrong with us to so easily gravitate toward mediocrity. The Scripture is clear that living such a devoted, victorious life IS possible. It presents each of the elements we talked about thus far as the normal way of life of every genuine believer. The Scripture is equally clear that God intended that we live together in community. Ministry of the body to one another enables a fervent walk over the long haul. We need to learn and practice the elements under Cultivating relationship with God but we also need to develop the kind of healing community that supports one another in our walk with God. A brief study of the passages that regulate our relationship with one another will demonstrate the importance of community. A genuine stirring of our passion for eternal things must include a resurrection of our passion for meaningful community with eternal like souls.
Just as there were five elements to cultivating relationship with Christ, there are at least five elements related to our pursuit of community with one another. God designed us to live in community with like-souled people. God is trinity and has existed in community for eternity. As creatures created in His image, we too were designed to live in community.
From the beginning it was not good that man should be isolated and live alone. For Adam there was no one corresponding to him on the earth and God himself declared it is NOT good. So God fashioned the woman and thus was established the very first community. God commanded them to be fruitful and fill the earth. God made us to function best in community. It can be the most painful part of life but also the most blessed aspect of life on this earth.
Eccles 4:9-12 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
Solomon points out the value of companionship applied to many areas of life.
Productivity, help in struggle, warmth, protection. God created us to live in community. God created us to love and be loved. It is the pursuit, development and maintenance of meaningful community that empowers the church. Jesus said the distinguishing mark of His followers would be a loving community. I have attempted to categorize a multitude of instructions given regarding meaningful community into five basic headings.
I. Cleave to and cultivate relationship with Christ
II. Pursue, develop and maintain meaningful connection to the body of Christ.
A. Fervently pray for one another
A brief glance at the early church reveals a devotion to prayer that blasted the early church into worldwide impact. Paul instructed the Colossians to “be devoted to prayer.” Paul modeled a life of intercessory prayer. God saw fit to record the basic content of Paul’s prayer life. Paul referred often to the constant nature of his prayers for those he served. Paul understood the essential place prayer occupied in his own ministry. He asked for prayer. He thanked others for praying.
We had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many. 2 Cor 1:9-11
Many passages talk about prayer. I want to focus on three powerful passages that propel prayer to the forefront.