This weeks thought has been written by Rev Peter Thomas is Minister of North Springfield Baptist Church in Chelmsford, a member of EBA Council and Treasurer of The College of Baptist Ministers.
The people who have made the most impact on our Christian lives, who first helped us to faith and most helped us to grow along the way, are not usually a big-name speaker or the books or music of somebody we have never met. Many people would agree that for them a Minister, a Youth Leader, a Home Group Leader or close Christian friends were much more significant. And the times which have shaped our faith were not so much in crowds or even small groups, but the times which we spent with those precious individuals One-to-One. In this time of lockdown we have not been allowed to gather together in person in our churches or our Home Groups, and it may be a while before we can. But two households are now able to meet up. What better time to explore the rich blessings which come when Christians meet together One-To-One?
Jesus tells us to pray together
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20) Here Jesus promises to be present when believers meet together in some special way in which He is not present when they are apart and alone. And he promises that God the Father will answer the prayers of believers who come together in agreement about what they are praying for, more than if they had prayed alone and separately. It is very good to pray together.
Dialogue teaches the parts monologue can’t teach
We learn all kinds of things much better by talking about them and by doing them with other people than just by reading or by listening to a preacher talking about them. Talking things through helps us understand the things we have heard or read and helps us think through decisions we are making and find ways through problems we face. Meeting One-To-One brings encouragement in difficult times and helps us keep going when we feel like giving up.
Things “better caught than taught”
There are many things in life which we learn by watching other people: the piano teacher, the driving instructor, the personal trainer. So also in the Christian life other individuals can inspire and encourage us by their passion in prayer, their boldness in evangelism, their commitment to holiness and their complete devotion to God. From their examples we learn skills, attitudes and character. We learn hospitality, patterns of prayer and devotional reading. We learn how to cope with life. We are fired by their wisdom, zeal and love. They are our role models. We catch their faith. As other people share their lives with us One-To-One, we learn from them how to share our own lives with other people. The best way to learn to see Christ in others is to develop a close relationship with a fellow Christian.
God gives us other Christians so we can practise His kind of love.
We learn to love our enemies by practising loving our friends. God gives us other Christians so we can learn to love and accept and forgive. The discipline of making space for somebody else in our busy lives is good. Learning to really listen to them so that we will better at listening to others. Practising helping others – learning to be Jesus to other people.
It is so simple. Just pick up the phone to a friend. Go on WhatsApp or Messenger or Zoom. Get together. Encourage each other. Pray for each other. The Christian life is meant to be shared.
This thought is adapted from a longer blog post, “Twelve Great Reasons for Meeting Together One-To-One” which is online at http://pbthomas.com/thoughts/?p=140
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