A Gospel Environment for Relationships and Sanctification

Once a month I hold a fellowship/training/prayer meeting for my team of 22 leaders who help me lead our 20s ministry. These gatherings are a blast. Being with this team of leaders/friends is perhaps my favorite part of my job.

For last Sunday’s meeting each leader came prepared to talk about one significant aspect of their character that they want to have changed and sanctified. We listened as each member of the team explained why they want to change and how they hope the Spirit will bring change. We wrote all this down and have committed to pray for, love, and encourage each other other in this as we do life together over the course of this next year. Part of this process includes reading together Tim Chester’s, You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions.

Setting the tone for all that we shared at our meeting, I read this excellent quote from  Counsel from the Cross:

When relationships are built around the truths of the gospel—the truth that we are walking in light even though we are still sinners in need of cleansing by his blood—we can be free from feelings of inferiority and the demanding spirit that is born of pride. We can pursue relationships without fear of being discovered as the sinners we are. This kind of open relationship rests solely on the realities of the gospel. We are more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, and so is everyone we know. Because of this, we won’t be surprised by other’s sins. They won’t expect us to be sinless either, so we don’t have to give in to self-condemnation and fear when they see us as we really are. We don’t have to hide or pretend anymore.

The gospel also tells us that we are loved and welcomed without any merit on our part, so we can love and welcome others whose  merits we can’t see. We can remember the circumstances under which we have been forgiven, and we can forgive in the same way. We don’t deserve relationship with the Trinity, but it has been given to us. We can seek our relationships with others because we know that we have been sought out by him and that he is carrying us all on his shoulders. (Yes, he is that strong!)