Monday, September 15, 2008

The Discipline of Choices - Chapter 11

Well, this chapter seems to have dragged on… this term there has been a lot of illness and numbers have been down, so we haven’t discussed much.

Last week we did however discuss the kind of ‘one-another’ relationships that Jerry talks about in this chapter.

On page 202 Jerry spoke about having friends who can help us in out struggle against sin. “Because mortification is a difficult work, aimed at subduing strong desires and deeply ingrained habits, we need the help of one or two friends to engage in the struggle with us. These friends should be believers who share our commitment to the pursuit of holiness and who are also willing to be mutually open with us about their own struggles”

How did you feel reading this? It would certainly be a humbling experience. My emotions feel torn on this point. On one hand my heart longs for help in the battle against refined sins of thought and deed, but dreads, even fears the thought of revealing my sins. My heart wants to hold them close and deal with them on my own. In discussion we agreed that Jerry probably does not remain revealing all the horrible and specific details as this would in some cases go against other scriptures where the bible warns us not to speak about some things, especially immorality. But it would still involve tearing down of the nice crisp image of ourselves we like to portray to others, and it would mean we’d have to forsake our pride and let that person see who we really are.

Jerry went on to say… “In the battle of putting sin to death, we need the mutual encouragement, challenge, and prayer support of one another. That is why spiritual synergism is so often taught in the New Testament. For example, we are to admonish one another (Colossians 3:16), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13), confess our sins to one another (James 5:16), bear one another’s burdens (Galations 6:2), and pray for one another (James 5:16).’ Page 202.

Even given the fear we feel in revealing our sins to someone, the ability to share, encourage and pray for one another in our pursuit of holiness is a powerful encouragement and reminder, that we always need Gods help in the battle. We are all sinful, and none of us have it ‘right’. With such friendships we can no only confess our sins, but encourage and spur each other on to godliness. Do you have a friend like this? Will you pray as the Puritans did for a friend like this, a ‘bosom friend’? For a friendship where you are both committed to helping and receiving help?