Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that--whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent--I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel. Phil. 1:27
I still remember standing at the stoplight waiting to cross over the street. As a young girl, probably five years old, I guess I was feeling especially grown up that day, because when my mama reached to take my hand, I jerked away. I took my own hand and with great self-confidence said, “I hold my own hand.” I did just that! I took one hand in the other, even swinging it the same as it felt when my mama held my hand. I’m sure she didn’t let me take off on my own, being certain to have a firm grip on my arm.
I have fought this independence all of my life. When I am quick to open my own door, carry my own load, and solve my own problems, my husband is quick to turn on his best little girl voice saying, “I’ll hold my own hand”. We all entered the world the same way, with the words, “I, me, mine” never having to be taught. The independent nature not only rolls off our lips, but also beckons us to jerk away from God and other’s to just do it my way.
For many, self-reliance was deeply ingrained convincing us that to need help was a sign of weakness. We stomp off into life, swinging our own hand and finding ways to do life alone.
There is a huge problem with this mode of living. God never intended us to do life alone. His plan has always been for us to live in total dependence on Him and function as an individual body part connected to the body of Christ. I am learning to love leaning into those that God has placed around me for His purposes.
The body of Christ is to function just like our physical bodies. Each part, each organ is dependent on the other to work properly. When one part of the body is out of sync, the entire body struggles. Our key verse speaks of standing firm with one spirit and one mind, side by side or shoulder to shoulder.
The Lord has made this very real to me through the years as He has shown me through personal experiences, the power of standing with one another. I have dropped my hand and allowed others to come alongside of me. Where I am weak, they cover me with their strengths. Where I am unequipped, they are equipped. When I am blind, they bring discernment. When I am crushed and broken, they bring wholeness. When I am tired and weary, they pick up the slack. When I am confused, they bring wisdom. When I’m waiting on God, they wait with me. When I need to talk, they listen. When I am easily distracted from the straight path, they speak truth.
How do we get there?
Shoulder to Shoulder
It’s not a program. It’s not a study. It is not a method. But it is an intentional decision to be connected with others for the Kingdom of God.
"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)
Admit you need others in your life, because God said so.
Drop your hand holding and extend it to others
Invite a few others into your inner circle
Meet regularly for encouragement and sharpening
Contact Touching Hearts to learn how to begin a Shoulder to Shoulder Group by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.