Q. I have known for years that I need to make a certain kind of change in my life. I have heard many sermons on it, I have prayed over and over again, and yet there is no significant progress. Shouldn’t I have been able to make this change by now with the power of God in my life?
A. Significant spiritual growth comes out of profound community. Doing the “Togethers” makes deeper spiritual growth possible. God designed us so we would need each other. (Adam needed a helper, though he was still perfect at the time!)
If you could acquire difficult spiritual growth just by reading, or listening to sermons, or even praying, you would have already acquired what you so desire. However, God wants most growth in Christlike character to come from the loving interaction of believers.
Unfortunately, almost everything in today’s Christianity is geared toward individual spiritual growth and obedience — actually inhibiting the society of believers that God wants. But desiring to raise up a church more than a single Christian, God makes it almost impossible for spiritual growth to happen apart from a group of believers acting the way He has prescribed. God asks His people to love one another through specific interactions, what we call the Togethers.
For example, He tells us in Hebrews 10:25 to meet together regularly in order to encourage one another. Why? The answer is that He knows we do not have sufficient courage individually to do what He asks of us. But together we can do as asked and glorify Him. We must eliminate the idea that the individual is the apple of God’s eye. When Jeremiah used that phrase, he was talking about the nation of Israel.
Consider Together #41, Disciple One Another. It is a lot more than what is typically called “mentoring.” Discipling means taking someone (or a group, as Jesus did) and doing things of the faith with him or her (or them). Being discipled means going along and seeing how it is done. And then doing it yourself.
For example, if you do not know how to trust God to provide money for an urgent need, go through this process with another friend who has a similar need but has the kind of faith you want and need, someone who has demonstrated it consistently over time. Or if you are a person who is hurt easily and has trouble bearing with a hurtful Christian and forgiving automatically, work this through with one of your friends who can do this easily and does not get offended. Find out how that fellow believer thinks when he puts up with insult and easily forgives.
Study the Togethers to identify those that would help you achieve your most desired spiritual goals. Your spiritual growth is, to a great extent, in the hands of your friends.