And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
I’ve been thinking a lot about these verses. We often use them as a conviction card, throwing it in the face of Christians who refuse to go to church. And while this certainly applies to them, we forget it’s application to our own hearts.
A Christian can, indeed, attend church while simultaneously disobeying this command. We may meet together on Sunday, and then ignore virtually everyone while remaining in our own little bubble for the rest of the week. In fact, many people do this.
I’ve written in the past about how utterly needy we are as Christians, and how Jesus has provided not only his physical body, but his Body, the Church, for our needs.
When we don’t recognize our need, we disobey both the command to reach out to others for help and the command to help others. (James 5:16). I think there are a few reasons we do this.
1. Pride or fear of man.
The most obvious reason people don’t reach out for help in their walk with the Lord is pride.
It takes major humility to say, “I need help.” and even more humility to tell someone why.
I know I could grow in the humility department and I’ll bet you could too. We want to look perfect to others, and that causes us to care more about what people think rather than what God thinks. Boy, do we have that backwards! God, the holy and righteous Creator of everything, has forgiven those in Christ for every sin we have committed or will commit. We need not fear a mere human’s opinion of us. They are just that…human–like us. A sinner, like you and me.
2. Self reliance.
Often times, we downplay a sin struggle in our lives. We convince ourselves that we don’t really need help because we can figure it out on our own. This is just another form of pride.
Many times, we are be blind to the root issue of our sin. In those times, it’s helpful to have another believer who is able to check our blind spots. On multiple occasions, I have met with a wise friend or mentor and told them what I was wrestling against, in which they pointed out a possible root issue I had yet to consider. This made it easier to see the full diagnosis rather than trying to tackle the issue from the symptoms.
Surely, there are times when we just need to wrestle a little longer until God reveals truth to us. But if you are continually falling back into the same struggle, you need help finding the root and God has provided the believers in your life for that purpose.
It’s crucial that we recognize our need for Jesus’ Body, the Church.
3. Fear of rejection.
I get pretty overwhelmed with my own sin and I have come to realize that I pretty much need women constantly telling me truth. I can be quite forgetful of God’s goodness toward me.
A couple years ago, I was in a season of feeling like a mentor relationship was missing. I reached out and reached out but it seemed everyone was just too busy. There were times where I needed to work through some really painful thoughts and feelings and it felt as if no one had time for me. I was frustrated and started to wonder if I should give up on seeking help.
If you’re there, I want to tell you to keep reaching out. Sometimes, God takes us through seasons where he wants us to work through pain or sin with him alone, and he uses that to grow us. But in his timing, he will provide women around you to speak into your struggle his words of life.
People are busy and we have to learn to be okay with hearing that as a response, trusting that the Lord will provide either someone else or himself for our need. That being said, I think we all need to take a look at our schedules and reevaluate priorities from time to time. We are called to teach other women the word and if we are neglecting to do so we need to make room. (Titus 2:3-5).
Open Your Arms
Women both young and old need each other. Each Christ following lady in our life has wisdom they can offer us. And we have wisdom to offer others as well. None of us are exempt; we all need one another.
Older ladies, you may be thinking, “But younger girls don’t want to hear what I have to say.” That could be correct about some of us, but not all of us. Personally, I love to be around women that are in a further life stage than myself. I want to soak up every ounce of wisdom that I can. I’m certain I’m not the only one. Furthermore, it is a command that you teach younger women regardless of how you think they might respond. (Titus 2:3-5).
Younger women, you aren’t exempt from this either. There are women around you who are younger in their faith that you can pour into. You also don’t have to wait for an older gal to seek you out. The statement, “But older women are supposed to reach out to me.” is true, but there’s nothing in the bible that says you have to wait to be sought out. If you see wisdom in a woman you know, ask her if you can meet her for coffee or come help her with housework. It’s in the simple things that we can glean much wisdom from those around us.
This takes effort doesn’t it? Sometimes, we would rather just hide in our closets and focus solely on our personal relationship with the Savior. But God calls us to love our brothers and sisters also. We can’t do that if we keep hiding. When we let go of all our pride and fear of man, the Body will be free to build each other up in Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Ephesians 4:11-16).
This is my call to women to reach out. Whether it’s reaching out for help or reaching out to help, extend your arms! There is healing and sanctification to be grasped. You don’t have to struggle alone against sin and you don’t have to let someone else struggle alone.
Who will you strive side by side with today? Whose burden can you pick up?