“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. “1 Peter 5:8
Five of us sat around a beautifully decorated table, drinking our tea, eating cucumber sandwiches and enjoying an afternoon of girlfriends. No husbands and no children. Just five females with little girl hearts and grown women schedules.
After chatting and laughing, time led us deeper in our conversation. We talked about our heart hurts and soul joys. The glory of God shown upon us simply because a) we invited Him to be among us and b) we were real with each other, not apologizing for tears nor editing our words.
This is community. And it is VITAL.
My pastor described an attack of the enemy in church this past Sunday using the analogy of a cheetah.
The cheetah runs after the herd of gazelles with amazing speed. He can’t attack all of them, so he gets between them and separates one family. As he chases them, he looks to the weakest and separates that lone gazelle. Then he catches up to it and unmercifully pounces and devours.
The enemy of our hearts wants to devour each of us. One way we can fight him is to make sure we are not isolated but in community, surrounded by those who will strengthen our relationship with Jesus.
I am so blessed to have friends who point me to God. We could use our time together drinking tea and gossiping or drinking our tea and tearing someone else down, but we don’t. At least we try not to.
What is your community like? I have many friends and many more acquaintances but my community, those who I trust my heart with, are folks that love me for me, tell me the truth, and encourage me to follow Him.
Dutch minister Abraham Kuyper wrote, “He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God.”
If you don’t have a community like this, start praying for one. It will take time but pray, seek and wait. You might find it in a Bible Study or a group of Jesus followers who serve in a capacity that is important to you. You may find it in friends or fellow parents. When the Lord leads you to a community, cherish it and take care of it.
And don’t be afraid of the cheetah, but be aware of the cheetah “He who is in you, is greater than He who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4