Do you ever fall off the wagon? Come on, it’s the end of February. Surely lots of folks have lost track of their New Year’s Resolutions by now, and we’re all back to a steady diet of Doritos and chocolate. Right?
Or maybe your resolution wasn’t food. Maybe it was praying more. Maybe it was being kind. Whatever decision you made at the beginning of the year, you’d planned to be a different person by now, but you keep screwing up. You ate something you shouldn’t have. You said something you shouldn’t have. You forgot to pray and fell asleep instead.
Those are the moments when I feel hopeless, like I’ll never be able to change. In those moments, I feel alone, because surely God’s given up on me by now. How many times is He going to listen to me make a promise that I’ll ultimately be unable to keep?
Sometimes it feels like God is silent in my life, and it takes other people around me to point out what my brain knows: Of course, God hasn’t given up on me!
Today’s verse is Matthew 18:20.
For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.
Usually I hear this verse in connection with prayer, but today it struck me differently. Yes, if two or three are gathered, Jesus is there. I believe that. But Jesus is God, so He’s everywhere all the time. I believe that too. But what what I’ve learned about myself is that many times I can’t see God’s work in my life when I’m alone. Others have to point it out to me.
Jesus is always with us. He never leaves us. He always hears us. We are never alone. But how much more obvious is He when we’re surrounded by His people? When He can speak to us through someone else. When we can hear His words spoken out loud.
I’m too close to my own life to see the good ways God is changing me. I see good things, yes, but most of the time I see my failures. But others can come along and point out the areas where God is obviously working in my life, and that encourages me.
Jesus is always with you, but if you let another Christ-follower into your life, you’ll actually get to hear Jesus speak to you through her (or him). God uses His children to bless us, but they can’t do what God has called them to do if we keep our doors and windows shut. We need to be investing in other Christ-followers, and we need to let other Christ-followers invest in us. It’s hard, especially if you’re a private person, but we all need it.
So don’t hide yourself away. Don’t shut other people out. Let your brothers and sisters in Christ encourage you, and see their kindness for what it truly is: Jesus reaching out to you.