When we really determine to walk the pathway of a disciple, it will cost us. The pathway is not always traveled by as many of those we call "friends" as we'd like to think. Yet, when we find someone to travel with us in this journey of faith, what a blessing it is! We need each other to understand and fulfill God's calling on our lives. We each compliment the other, challenging and uplifting, learning together what is contained deep in the Word of God.
Keep me safe, O God, I've run for dear life to you. I say to God, "Be my Lord!" Without you, nothing makes sense. And these God-chosen lives all around—what splendid friends they make! (Psalm 16:1-3)
David's words ring true in the hearts of many who engage in this walk of discipleship with Christ - without you, God, absolutely nothing makes sense at all. We can attempt to make sense out of tragedy, loss, or even a success all on our own. Without God, and those he places in our lives as fellow travelers, we often miss the meaning hidden deep in the recesses of that experience. If there is one thing I have learned in this walk of faith, it is that the study of his Word presents a challenge to those who walk alone. The Word of God is not meant for individual interpretation - there is something that is missed when we attempt to see it through the eyes of our limited perception. As we seek to discover the will of God for our lives, we are often reminded in scripture that there is wisdom in good counsel. In other words, we need to hear how another may "perceive" life and the choices before us.
Isaiah was called to bring a message to Israel - one that reminded them, and all down through time since then, of how much God wants to be the one who teaches us what is best for us and to direct the ways we travel. Isaiah 48:17: "I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go. If you had listened all along to what I told you, your life would have flowed full like a river, blessings rolling in like waves from the sea." Lives flowing full like rivers, blessings rolling in like waves - I am pretty certain that most of us would definitely "sign up" for this kind of life! The challenge - listen - not just occasionally, but ALL along.
The challenge comes in our consistency - we waver, sometimes dilly-dally, and often just simply "peter out" along the way in our independent pursuit of godliness. That is why we should not travel this journey alone. Not only do we need each other to encourage us to take in the different perspectives of what God is doing, but we need the straight-forward teaching of his Word to steady us on the path - sometimes with lessons learned not in our personal study, but in the study of another. When the Word does not make sense - we might need the help of another to open it for our understanding.
The Word of God guides us in the very practical issues of daily life - how to relate to one another, when to let an offense go without the need to retaliate, what a wrong choice will cost, etc. We may not know how to live as a member of the family of God, but he provides those we can figure this out with to guide us in that journey. Without God's perspective, nothing makes sense - without the perspective of another God places in our lives, nothing makes sense. We need to discover his will for our lives - we need to run to him for his perspective. When we are consistently running to him in this way, we are less likely to drift into rebellion or areas of sinfulness that will leave us wounded and hurting. It is God that teaches us how to live right - he is the one that gives us the plan. It is also God who places others in our path that assist us in maintaining our walk - in broadening our perspective of God. What splendid friends God-chosen lives make! Just being a friend!