Read: Romans 15:22-29
Every time I see Carol, it’s the same reaction. She runs towards me with full speed, arms stretched out wide, screaming my name. I always have to prepare for a big embrace as her hugs usually bring me to the ground. I always know I can count on her to be excited to see me.
In high school, I struggled to make friends who truly cared about me and made me feel loved. I considered a lot of people my friends, but I failed to make deep connections with anyone. The people I was around didn’t truly care about me. They wouldn’t look out for my best interest. They were only my friends if it made them look better to other people. I also struggled to find friends who were living for God. I would surround myself with people who constantly led me down a dark path.
In return, my friendships affected my relationship with God. I was in a toxic community. I saw myself as worthless and would rely on the validation of others. I focused on pleasing people, God just wasn’t in the picture. I would do anything to make these “friends” think I was cool. All I longed for was to be liked.
It didn’t take me too long to see that Carol was a better friend than the ones I had for years. She had no interest in seeming “cool” to others and instead, she invested her time into loving people. She was a constant example of God’s love in my life and I quickly saw a change in my own heart from spending time with her. Even now, she continually leads me back to Christ. She prays for me and challenges me. After becoming her friend, and spending more time with others who were passionate about Christ, my life changed. My relationship with Christ grew. My worth actually began to come from Christ.
Community is an important part of Romans 15:22-29, Paul is writing to the church in Rome. Paul deeply cares about them and is excited to see them. Even though Paul had not yet visited church, they meant a great deal to him. Paul wrote to let them know he purposely planned on seeing them. In verse 29, Paul writes, “I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.” God desires for us to be in community with one another.
In verse 24, he writes “I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.” Paul asked the church to support his missionary journey to Spain. The community Paul surrounded helped each other out.
The Roman church would provide his way to Spain. In the letter as well Paul writes of the churches in Macedonia and Achaia supporting the poor in Jerusalem. As followers of Christ, we should help one another. We need to surround ourselves with friends who help us in our relationship with Christ and we need to be that friend to others.
of a way you can help someone out. How can you show God’s love by supporting
someone? Are the people you are surrounding yourself influencing for the bad or
leading you to Christ?