We’ve encouraged our church to read through the book of Acts during our latest teaching series, Life In Bold. Reading about the lives of the very first followers of Christ is a fantastic way to learn how to live an effective, bold, and impassioned life for the cause of Jesus. I’ve shared some of my insights here and here as I’ve read one chapter each day.
We’ve read stories about baptisms and life change, and we’ve read about the persecution Christians faced. But, maybe my favorite part of the book of Act is the stories of relationships. Since most of the book focuses on the missionary trips of Paul, we are privy to an up close view of his faith, as well as his friendships. Without question, Paul had quite an impact on the known world. He taught countless people about Jesus, started churches in each town he visited, challenged the religious elite, raised money for the poor, and endured beatings and imprisonment.
But he was never alone.
Nope, Paul valued his friends. He took them on his trips. He prayed with them. He was honest with them about his temptations. He comforted them, and he knew how to accept comfort and help from them. He seemed buoyed by their companionship.
Could it be one of the reasons he was so successful in his ministry?
Being in relationships with other healthy Christ-followers is essential to our spiritual growth. When difficult situations arise, other believers can support us, as well as guide us through the challenges. When we struggle with temptations, other believers can help us stand firm. We grow in spiritual maturity as other believers teach us the lessons they’ve learned. And we do the same for them. Just as it was true for Paul, we buoy one another.
Together, we’re better.
I believe Paul was able to plant churches, travel all over the known world, and teach relentlessly about Jesus because he was never alone. He had a posse. He was supported, understood, encouraged, prayed for, and loved.
Are you? Are you investing into and developing healthy relationships with other believers? Not the surface kind. Not the kind where you pretend you have it all together. The authentic kind where you truly share your heart and life.
You need it. So do I. Open yourself to being challenged and supported by a trusted Christian friend. You’ll be better for it. Take it from Paul.