Friday Devotional: Called to call each other out.

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My role as a national advisor comes with a variety of responsibilities. One substantial portion of those involves planning and organizational work with the National Staff to help run BYX overall. The top priority is leading and guiding my eight different chapters around the nation. Each relationship with my chapters is different because each has a different set of men, different circumstances and things that they are doing well and need to grow in.

The most important part to my role is effective communication. I have to share clear vision, purpose, ideas, answers and help overall; indeed, my goal is to serve, love, and encourage my men in the best way possible.

But one thing is also clear: I have to be challenging. I have to ask the hard questions, press into areas that aren’t as malleable and have conversations that might be uncomfortable for my listeners or me.

Whether it is just me figuring out how to handle my communication for BYX, or if it is how we, as Christians, like to handle challenging situations generally, one thing is clear: we don’t like being uncomfortable. Walking on eggshells feels like we are walking on glass.

Normal human beings, for the most part, like to keep situations and relationships somewhat peaceful, but as Christians, I feel like we take this to a whole other level. We think because we are Christians that there should be a bigger level of amity amongst each other. Everyone should be “above reproach” and everyone should be handling his or her own sin, so why call it out when everyone’s mask looks really good? Besides, judging behind the back is so much easier.

Well, church shouldn’t be a masquerade people. In reality, we all know that those around us are dealing with something sinful and dark. Yet, too often we are too afraid to call it out, not only because we are sporting our own mask to hide sin, but also because we don’t like to feel “awkward” in addressing fellow believers.

But here’s the kicker: We are called to call each other out!

As believers, the Word encourages us time and time again to sharpen one another, take on the burdens of one another, fight and intercede for one another! How else will we overcome sin if no one in the body of Christ actually comes together and shed’s light on the darkness inside all of us?

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassions, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you…Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

– Colossians 3:12-13,16

10616113_10152677279187859_3353591440797986919_nAdmonish means to “warn or reprimand someone firmly” or “advise or urge (someone) earnestly.” It doesn’t say, “to warn someone if you feel like it” or “advise or urge someone timidly.” Bearing with one another is a grind and admonishing one another takes a lot of effort! It honestly takes the strength and humility of the Holy Spirit.

But what is the outcome of that? Admonish also means to “warn someone of something to be avoided.” So we aren’t just calling each other out to make each other feel bad about their sin or their walk; indeed, condemning communication is not our goal. We are addressing and admonishing each other because we want to push each other towards Christ, away from our sin and towards our Savior.

One thing we have to realize when we are striving to call each other out: Because of sin, we all fall short and consequently are an open target.

“Our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of suffering.” -1 Peter 5:8-9

Isolating ourselves gives the enemy more foot ground. We aren’t supposed to be in the fight alone. We are mandated to come together, no matter how uncomfortable it feels, to sharpen, push and encourage each other in Christ.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Although this verse is used a little too freely in my opinion, it speaks solid truth on what admonishing and challenging each other really looks like: rough. The actual sharpening of iron is violently abrasive. And just like this verse says, our admonishing interactions may cause some sparks to fly.

If we can actually wear away our surface-level, comfortable Christianity and get to the realness and truth of our personal walks, then and only then will we see growth in holiness. Coasting through Christianity keeps us from setting foot on the solid foundation of kingdom purpose and the soil of life-change and eternal influence.

So I encourage you, take that challenging step. Get on your knees and address your own personal walk with the Lord. Then put on a heart of compassions, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, and sit down with your roommate, spouse, small group leader, brother, girlfriend, pastor or father to address what you know needs to be addressed and should have been addressed a long time ago.

It won’t look pretty, but it definitely will produce redeeming, empowering, and healing transformation. Jesus is with you every step of the way.

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