Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lessons from Community

Accountability: Man-that word can be terrifying sometimes. But it can also be such a sweet experience..one that leaves you feeling renewed/encouraged. I think that accountability goes hand in hand with community, and both of these areas can be a struggle when you are living in a place where the beliefs are so foreign to your own.  However, because of amazing friends and technology, I am learning that this can also be a time where you truly learn the beauty of these two aspects of our faith.

I am so thankful for the friends that He has placed in my life to walk alongside me in community and encourage me in accountability. This past week one of these friends shared with me a verse that she was memorizing for the week, and one that she was going to lift up over our little group. The verse was Colossians 1:11-12. In the middle of those verses it talks about endurance and patience with joy. While typing the verse out she capitalized that part, so obviously it stood out to me. I thought about what that looked like..endurance AND patience WITH joy. So many times I compartmentalize those three aspects of my faith. Endurance. Patience. Joy. Those things alone are often a struggle, but combined..that's a whole new ballgame, y'all! 

A couple of days later I was reading the parable of the sower in Luke 8. This is a common story to many of us, one I've memorized and thought I knew well. I read to the end of it, and something hit me right in the face.

"As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience."
 Luke 8:15 (ESV)

The good soil isn't just those who hear the word, and do it. The good soil refers to the people who hear the Word and bear fruit with patience. Endurance with patience. This is something that can be hard for me to grasp sometimes over here. I want things to happen on my time schedule, the way I think they should go. So often that is just not the case. Through these times, though, I should endure and be patient. Not only that, I should have a joyful heart as well. I know the Father is working. That should bring me great joy regardless of the timing of things. I know that He has placed me here. That should push me to endure through all circumstances. I know that He has given me a love for these people. That should cause me to practice patience with every situation I am faced with. The more I thought about it, the more I saw that these three things are so beautifully intertwined. You shouldn't have one without the other. 

From that one e-mail, the Father taught me all of this. How beautiful is community and accountability? I am so thankful that even though these friends are all over the World, they are still in my life to push and encourage me. This is how the Body was designed to operate, and I'm so happy to be a part of it. 

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