Swim between the flags

Being part of a Bible study group is a bit like swimming between the flags.

At many beaches it is dangerous to swim on your own. Between the flags you swim with others, and lifeguards will blow the whistle if you stray into danger, sound the siren if there is a shark and come out to rescue you if you get into trouble. Away from the flags you are vulnerable to strong currents, dumping waves and whatever lurks beneath the surface.

As Christians, God has called us into his church to love, build, teach, etc, one another.  It’s hard to benefit from this, or contribute to it, if we are distant from others. God has also appointed leaders to pray for us, teach us God’s word, model Christian living and protect us from danger.  If we aren’t in a group we face the powerful forces of the world, the flesh and the devil alone.

It’s true that some Christians continue in the faith apart from being in a Bible study group. However, it’s also easy to underestimate the dangers, overestimate our own strength, or just miss out on the joy and spiritual growth that comes through fellowship with others.

In February our 2018 Bible study groups will start. If you’re not already in a group, I warmly urge you to join one this year – and not just on paper, but by being there each week.   

Some Christians feel too busy, weary or lazy to be part of a group. If that’s you, I suggest that you especially would benefit from making it a priority. It’s when the currents are strongest, the waves are biggest and when we’re feeling most worn down (or most over confident!) that we are most vulnerable.

Of course, for some of us circumstances of life make it impossible or unwise to join a group. If that’s you, then along with being regular at one of our larger church gatherings, I urge you to consider other ways you can keep yourself strong and growing in Christ. Perhaps you could arrange to meet regularly with one other person, at a convenient time and place or even online, to feed on God’s word and pray together.

Here are some Bible verses to reflect upon: Romans 12, Ephesians 4:11-16, Colossians 3:12-17, Hebrews 3:12-13 & 10:24-25.

Neil

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