Have you ever noticed the water that pools behind a log jam in a creek, stream or river? Often it is less than desirable looking water. It is not water I would dip my thermos into for a nice long drink. I probably wouldn't swim in it either. These pools of water become homes to stagnant pollution and bacteria. What makes a river or stream appealing is its motility. Whether it is a river raging over a cliff like Niagara Falls, or a simple brook gurgling through a stony gully; the sight and sound of water moving sets our minds at ease. Unless it is plumbing!!
I love the water analogy and as we talk about growth, this month, you will hear me refer to it again. Life, even in its chaos can become brackish. Especially in our friendships. Just like our marriages, our friendships can get thrown on that same, "I'll do it later" pile. Friends are part of what keep life moving. They add dimension and color to our daily existence, just as the stones and crevices add music to the water's journey. However, we can allow these relationships, just as our marriages, to grow stagnant.
Revelation 3:14-22 refers to the church at Laodicea as being lukewarm and this was not a temperature that God looked favorably upon.
The word used for "spit" literally means "vomit". That's a pretty strong statement coming from the Almighty. While God was referring to this church and their deeds, we can become lukewarm in many aspects of our lives, including our friendships. Aren't we commanded in Hebrews 10:24 to stimulate one another to love and good deeds? How can we stimulate or encourage if we are lukewarm? How's this for mamby pamby:
No wonder God said, "I will spit you out of my mouth."
Our friendships are in no less need of growth and vitality than any other part of our lives. We need accountability. Accountability is basically being responsible for your actions. Friendships offer a way to have someone else hold you accountable. Lack of accountability results in a free-for-all, undisciplined life. I need my friends. My "sisters" help me to refocus when my boundaries are getting blurry. They literally keep me walking the straight and narrow with their questions, shopping trips, book clubs and with their prayers. Growth is mandatory to keep these important relationships from becoming lukewarm, spit out of the mouth casualties.
I have a group of ladies that I get together with every other week. These three women have been a source of inspiration for me. Their varied life experiences, their faith and their ability to laugh at me and themselves are magnified by their desire to never stop growing. We have read everything from D.L. Moody and A.W. Tozer to novels like A Tale of Two Cities and our current challenge Pilgrims Progress. We talk, we laugh and sometimes we get very serious. We all know that life is hard and that we need each other to keep on keeping on.
I guess, what I have discovered over this past week as I've begun to write about growth, is that growth will happen all around if I, personally, am growing. In order to do that I need to surround myself with people, who are interested not only in their own growth, but mine, as well. I hope that in some small way, this blog will become like a friend to you. I hope that I will become a friend to you and that we will help each other to grow.