Key Verse: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.---Romans 15:5-6 NIV
One of my favorite movies is Ferris Bueller's Day Off. If you grew up in the 80's like me, you probably recall the wisdom of our young hero Ferris as he addressed his audience..."Life Moves Pretty Fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!" Indeed, life seems to be spinning faster these days. Some mornings, I fear we are moving so frantically, the earth may spin right off its axis. It seems a sense of urgency has gripped our world as never before, and in its wake we sometimes feel the necessity to be innovative in our communication methods.
Twitter. Facebook. Texting. No doubt, our modes of communication are changing radically. I confess, up until recently, I was a self-proclaimed Facebook junkie. It was exciting to reconnect with long lost "friends", convenient to keep up with current acquaintances, and fun to entertain my "peeps" online. However, life isn't just about entertainment and convenience. Life is far more complicated, and tends to get messy. Therefore, our relationships with fellow believers must be deeper than a Facebook update or a "tweet" on Twitter.
Communication is a priority in God's Kingdom. God has used angels, prophets, the Bible,and His one and only Son to communicate His desires for His children. Likewise, it must be a priority for God's people to "communicate the hope that is in us" (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) Effective communication begins with time alone with God. It is imperative as God's children that we learn to sit at His feet and quietly listen each day. As we read His word and meditate on His truth, our minds are renewed and our hearts transformed to be more like Christ. It is only then that we are truly ready to engage a lost and confused world. For it is in communion with our Heavenly Father that we train our heart to encourage and endure.
Likewise, we are challenged to make time to meet with our sisters in Christ face to face. After all, communication is more than words and emoticons. Expressions and tones can be lost in the translation of a text message, leaving us confused about the motives and actions of our loved ones. Without the clarity of open communication, we are likely to be deceived into making assumptions that damage a relationship unnecessarily. In short, we must allow ourselves to be available to those whom God has placed in our circle of influence. God has placed a number of folks in our midst today. Some are there so that they might be influenced. And some are placed there to be an influence. Either way, influence is greatly marginalized when we limit our interactions to social networking.
Today, let's commit to talk more...really talk. Accountability and honesty must remain in a free transaction between active participants if we are to truly continue to grow in Christ. We must commit to make ourselves vulnerable with trusted sisters in Christ, who can speak truth with love into our lives when the time is deemed necessary. Otherwise, we are likely to be deceived by our enemy who "prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NIV) Let us never become so busy that we forget to check on a friend. And I pray we never become so distracted that we fail to speak loving truth into our friendships. As our methods of communication evolve, we are challenged in this fast-paced world to speak wisely, not in haste but in love. Let's not miss the chance to minister with words of truth and love.
We praise you for you are never to busy for your children. You are always present and you never grow weary of hearing our cries. We confess that we are sometimes distracted by insignificant cares as they drag us away from the relationships you have placed in our midst. Help us to make our relationships a priority by taking time to talk each day. Give us words of loving accountability to encourage one another and give us endurance in these hectic days. We praise you and thank you for the dear friends you have brought into our lives. Help us to connect in real ways that bring you glory, that we might shine for you in this dark and lonely world.
Reflection: How might you connect with a friend in a way that brings unity and encouragement to the body of Christ?