Do you feel that you are growing in your relationships with people?
Last year in my garden I tried companion planting and it was hugely successful. Companion planting is when you plant two or more different types of plants together in order for them to assist one another. The different attributes of one plant can help another plant grow stronger, produce more fruit or even protect that plant from insects. This meant I had to use fewer chemicals if any, and got a much greater yield.
God has designed nature this way in order for it to survive and flourish. But God has not limited this idea just to plants: He has called us to live in a similar way.
Scripture often refers to the believers as the body of Christ, Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12:12. We are designed to live in connection with one another in order to benefit each other. Each part of the body is significant in God’s purposes and plans and we work together to see those plans fulfilled.
We see this in Jesus relationship with His disciples and the concept continues with the early church in Acts. The believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship with one another. It was not just a once a week event, they shared everyday life together, helped each other out, had meals together and prayed with each other.
We aren’t put together to have warm fuzzy feelings. God brings us together for a purpose: to protect and to strengthen each other.
It's interesting that companion planting uses a lot fewer chemicals and the simple act of the plants existing in close proximity gives two forms of protection.
Firstly, it means that there is less chance of predators coming in and attacking the plant or its fruit. Ecclesiastes 4:12 states that a person standing alone can be attacked or defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.
Secondly, it prevents diseases from forming and spreading within the plant. We also prevent the insidious spread of sin within the body by helping each other to see what we may not be able to see ourselves. And we hold each other accountable to the word of God.
There are similar benefits when we live as a united body. Not only does unity give protection but it also helps us to grow and mature in our faith.
Proverbs 27:17 says that as iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
When a metal tool is rubbed against a blade it causes the blade to become sharper. There is action in sharpening the blade and there is action in us sharpening each other. When we sharpen each other we strengthen our relationship with God and with others. The body of Christ in community is to sharpen each other. This involves an active relationship, not a passive one.
My faith has grown and developed through relationship with others. Heartfelt discussions, comments, ideas and even correction have helped my faith to sharpen. I have also been able to speak truth to others so that they are encouraged and strengthened.
We are sharpened and we sharpen others when we open ourselves up to community.
God plants us side by side so that we don’t have to stand alone.
Are you in relationship with people in such a way that you are being sharpened and sharpening others?
I want to encourage you to get involved in two-way relationships that allow you to be sharpened and sharpen others.
Thank You for the security, and strength found in community. Thank You for uniting us and not isolating us in our relationship with you.