God’s purpose in our lives is to shape us to more fully embody our Lord Jesus. It’s basic to following Jesus and it’s at the heart of disciple-making! Transformational relationships is the third characteristic of a God-designed community.
Early in my Christian life, I caught a vision for disciplemaking. These words from the apostle Paul grabbed my heart:
“Him (Christ) we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” Colossians 1:28,29 ESV)
A lifestyle goal for every follower of Jesus is to live in such a way that those around us become mature in Jesus and reflect Him to a watching world.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (NLT).
Community, the way God designed it, is meant to be a transformational experience!
I’ve been in small groups that fulfilled this amazingly. And, on the other hand, I’ve been in groups where members didn’t take seriously their assigned purpose of sharpening one another.
I once attended a gathering of men where talking about real issues was “off limits.” One morning, as I sat with these brothers in Christ, I shared vulnerably about a conflict Pam and I had been having. We had had a difficult argument the night before. I’ll never forget the look on their faces, which said, “You are not supposed to share stuff like that!” I needed sharpening, but I didn’t get it that day.
I’m a better man because of a few other friends who have repeatedly and faithfully played the role of “sharpener” over the years. I’m still being transformed because of their influence.
Transformational relationships—we need them and so do those around us.
How about you? Are you sharpening others? Are you being sharpened and transformed by the influence of others in a God-designed community?