Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Galatian 6:1-6
Without even knowing it, many of us keep places of our heart off-limits to not only God but those around us. We project a false image of ourselves in an attempt to keep people at bay. In this highly competitive world that values strength and perfection, we don’t want to appear weak, needy or vulnerable.
This desire to look like we have it altogether not only drives us crazy; it also pushes us away from others.
When we’re under pressure, we’re more likely to use people to get what we want. With this mindset, people either become pawns or obstacles in our way. Rather than connect, we compete against one another.
Competition never leads to connection - only isolation. By living alone on an island, our view of ourselves gets distorted. It’s easy to believe we love everyone when we are living alone. We don’t have to deal with the headaches that come with engaging others and living in a broken world.
Our character remains untested. Faith is something we only know in theory. Spending our days safely in our isolated bubble keeps the actual state of our heart from being exposed.
Faith was never meant to be an individualistic venture. Change, growth, and transformation require a village. The renovation of our heart is a community project. Loving relationships provide a context for us to process our faith safely. Each one of us needs people in our lives who will always point us toward truth and not just what we want to hear.
These type of connections don’t just happen.
They require intentionality on our part. It entails pushing against our natural tendency towards self-preservation. It requires humility and to put the needs of others above our own. It means looking out for the interests of others and being concerned about their character and heart.
Grace is met with accountability. When we love people in this way, we allow them to belong while helping them to become everything they were meant to be in Christ.
· Where are you competing with others rather than connecting with them? What drives this competition? Where do you need to display humility?
God, I’m tired of competing with others. I want to connect. May I love others even when it isn’t convenient or comfortable. Allow me to enter people’s mess as well as be honest about the state of my own heart. Help me to love others in a way that points others to You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.