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Day 30 – Healing in Community

Genesis 2:18; John 21:10–17; Galatians 6:1–2; 1 Thessalonians 5:14–15

This is our last day together, so I want to summarize what we have learned and add an important component of cooperation with the Spirit to move forward in your spiritual journey. In the first week, we asked the four big questions of spiritual formation.

  • Where am I? (Unique to each individual. Location is less important than being pointed in the right direction!)
  • Where am I going? (As Christians, we are going on to Christlikeness; reflecting more and more the image of Christ to the world. Over time, this means I become more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, and self-controlled.)
  • Do I want to go there or only wish I was more Christlike? (Wanting to go means I’m willing to do and endure hard things to get there.)
  • What are the obstacles keeping me from getting there? (We mentioned three common ones; unforgiveness, living out of lies deep in our hearts, and idols—particularly the “me god” who sits on the throne when we try to control our own lives.)

Recall the less-than-flattering image I used for a stuck spiritual journey: a dog hooked to a long leash, tethered to a post in the ground. There are times when the post is shallow or the leash is weak, so the dog pulling harder gets him free to run forward again. Other times the post is deep and the leash is strong, so that no amount of running harder will move the dog forward; it only exhausts him. Likewise, when we are spiritually stuck, there are times when reading our Bible more, praying more, and so on, will break us free. But there are other times where we will only exhaust ourselves with more spiritual activity.

This is when we need a healthy spiritual community to help us remove whatever obstacle has us bound. Forgiving someone who wounded us deeply, discovering lies that reside deep in our hearts, healing from the wounds or pride that gave birth to those lies, and learning to surrender our lives and trust God more than we trust ourselves all require the help of others.

In all of God’s creation before the fall, there was one thing not yet good: that Adam was alone. And in the aftermath of Peter’s shameful abandonment of Jesus at his most difficult hour, Jesus chose to restore him relationally and authoritatively after a meal and in front of all of his other friends and ministry partners. We were made for community and relationship, we are wounded and fall in community and relationship, and we will be healed and restored in community and relationship. There is no better reason to be a part of a local church, a small group where the relationships grow to be authentic and deep, and to find good spiritual direction and sound counseling. While it is Jesus who heals, he does so in the context of community.