Now I don’t know about you, but…I don’t really like working out that much. I know, right? I bet you had no idea. (I’m joking, I’m joking.)
I wanna be healthy and everything, but I’ve never really enjoyed having to work out to be healthy.
Here’s a pro tip: we all need help in order to do a good job working out. You really can’t do it alone.
Some of us use a trainer. I’ve had trainers over the years who really helped me a lot. And some of us like to work out with friends. There’s just something about that accountability. You feel like you actually have to show up because you’re meeting someone, so you should be there too. When you’re in the middle of a workout and you hit the wall and feel like you can’t go any longer, that friend or trainer says, “Come on, let’s keep going. We’re gonna make it!”
When you work out in a community of people, you grow in your overall fitness. Your lifestyle starts to change. The people you hang around with at the gym are saying, “We gotta look at our diet,” or “Let’s do this challenge.”
Pretty soon you are eating a particular way for a certain amount of time. And soon you are preaching fitness to family and friends. The workout community is so helpful!
The same principle applies to the entirety of our lives, and especially to our spirituality.
There’s an old saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” And there’s a famous truism that you become the average of your five closest friends you hang out with.
We look and act like our tribe.
And that’s what I love so much about who Jesus is. Jesus doesn’t just save us from our sins. Jesus says, “I want you to follow Me.” He invites us to be a part of a family. And that family is called Church.
I get it––many people have bad histories with church or bad experiences with church. And I’m the first one to say there’s no such thing as a perfect church, because there’s no such thing as a perfect person, and every church is a collection of people.
But God designed us to grow spiritually in community. And I want to encourage you to find your running mates, the people you’re moving through life with. They should motivate and help you grow, not hold you back from growing spiritually.
Don’t get me wrong…the Bible doesn’t tell us to abandon our lifelong friends, but we need to make sure that we don’t give people who are not helping us grow closer to Jesus too much influence in our lives. At the same time, we need to make space to be influenced by people who can really help us grow.
I’ve heard it said that everyone who wants to grow spiritually needs a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy. What’s that mean? I’m so glad you asked.
Everyone needs a spiritual mentor, and Paul was a great example of that. He mentored Timothy and a lot of people in the faith. We need someone who we can look up to, who’s farther down the path we are on, who’s had more experience walking with Jesus. A wise counselor who can help us see things that we don’t know are coming around the corner. Everyone needs a Paul in their life.
Barnabas and Paul were ministry partners. They were peers. They were friends. They moved through life together. And all of us, if we want to grow spiritually, need someone like Barnabas who’s on the same step we are. That way they’re encouraging you, and you’re encouraging them to keep on going.
Timothy was a young man in the faith who Paul invested in and helped to grow in life and ministry. These are the people you are pouring into, relationships where you are making a spiritual deposit. Believe it or not, even if you’re just starting to walk with Jesus right now, there are people who don’t know the Lord at all yet, and you get to make spiritual investments in their lives.
It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 9:24, which says: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? So run in such a way to get that prize.”
We are all running the race of life. Running it with others makes us successful. So surround yourself with godly people who you invite in and allow them to influence your life. Walk alongside people who you encourage, and they encourage you. And pour into people who need your influence to keep walking with Jesus too.
It’s what we call a team––it’s what the church should be.