…the primary message driving James; letter is that Christians’ faith in the gospel should work itself out in a life of obedience. As he says in 1:22, believers in Jesus should not just hear the word and believe it, but they should also do what it says. The gospel of Jesus – which James understands deeply and affirms completely – results in a new life of obedience when a person believes. – Greg Gilbert, James
I read this quote and immediately start thinking of the 99 million ways I’m not doing what the Bible says. Condemnation begins racing to overtake my soul and mind. Thoughts like, “I am such an awful excuse for a Christian,” begin to scream through my head. But, then the still small voice of the Holy Spirit floods the same soul and mind. “Just one thing,” He powerfully whispers. This Christian life isn’t a journey of perfection, but of faithfulness. What one thing is God specifically calling me to work on today? For me, the answer was clear…fellowship. How am I pursing the fellow believers in my church, specifically in my care group?
Let me elaborate. My life is full. I’m very good at taking on more than I should. For example: I work full-time (in a job that requires more thinking than I thought possible), I work part-time on Sundays, I’m taking two classes a semester (i.e. my nights are filled with homework) at my community college, I own my own home (with a yard that is rather massive), I have two dogs, I attend care group 3 times a month, and I occasionally coordinate weddings/design flowers for weddings. Somewhere in there I also try to purposefully plan time with my family. I’m tired just typing this out! And if you know me, you know that I’m an introvert that prefers thinking through and analyzing every little jot and tittle that life throws my way. Yet, this crazy schedule and crazy brain is why I desperately need fellowship!
I often joke around and say that I need to get out of my head, but it’s true. I over-think EVERYTHING! When I have down time, my preference is to be in my quite little house with my puppies watching a movie. But, doing this ALL the time does not serve my mind or my soul. I NEED people! I need people to laugh with and have fun with. I need people to cry with. I need people who I trust to seek counsel with. I need people that will speak truth to my over analyzing head. I prioritize Sunday mornings and small group nights. Even when I’m tired I know that I need that time with God and my fellow believes. And more importantly, I believe Scripture requires me to “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25). But, as a single introvert who lives in her head, I’ve been convicted that I’m not availing myself of the grace God has placed in front of me; the grace of fellowship.
As a single, I find it’s easy to blame other people for this. Excuses like, “well, if married people would actually invite me over.” or “well, they aren’t pursing me outside of church/care group, so why bother.” But, it’s just a convenient excuse to shift the blame away from myself. A wise person once told me that if you want meaningful relationships you can’t sit around waiting for someone to pursue you, you have to pursue them. Should they? Maybe so. But, I’m not responsible for someone else, I’m answerable to God only for myself and my actions. Everyone is busy and has a crazy schedule. So, it’s honestly silly to judge and/or blame others when I’m just as guilty.
What was my take away from this quote? What was my “one thing”? It was to “bite the bullet” and “just do it”! It is time to stop theorizing and planning to do it “one day”. I need to just get off my duff and do it. So, I sent e-mails to a few folks from my care group inviting them over for dinner. And once those dinners are scheduled, I’ll tackle the other half of the group. I love having people in my home, so this is a proactive way to combine my need for fellowship with the love of my home. The meals will be simple, because let’s face it I don’t have the time or money for elaborate. But, who’s expecting elaborate anyways? I mean really. So, there you have it. That’s my long-winded thought of the day.