#8 Solo Journey Together

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Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

– Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Have you ever undertaken an arduous trek? Perhaps it was a difficult hike, a challenging run, or long walk in the city. Did you go it alone?

Oftentimes, our journeys are made solo – but that doesn’t mean we take them alone. We carry items with us that can make these mini-adventures more bearable – fun, even. Our mobile devices, comfortable shoes, a utility tool – these are the weapons of our trade that help us make it through.

A life in the spirit is very much the same. What (or rather who) we take with us on our way can help mightily – a church body for support; strong leadership for accountability; loving friends for encouragement. A life in the spirit may be our own – but it was never meant to be lived alone.

Pray | Ask about your friendships and ask for spiritual accountability

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: Heb 10:24-25 / 1 Cor 12:21-26 / Gal 6:1-5 / Heb 13:17 / 1 Thess 5:9-11

Act | Build further accountability in your walk with Christ for yourself and/or others (ex. consider finding an accountability partner)

#7 Gust of Freedom

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Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

– Matthew 11:29-30

It seems counter-intuitive to think that a windy day may be the best kind for a runner. Though fighting against strong gusts slows the runner down, making her push harder for less result, it’s not disappointment that she feels. Instead, the runner is exhilarated, cooled by breezy blasts that make the punishment of running into a task that’s enjoyable.

A life lived according to scripture sometimes feel the same. Weighed down by laws, demands, rules, and morals, the “word of God” could seem stifling, like the words of a tyrant that are outdated, out of touch, and unwelcome.

When lived out legalistically, scripture can indeed be all that, like a hot blast in an already burning heat. But when one comprehends the meaning of grace, running that life becomes the opposite experience, like that of a runner basking in a cool breeze blowing in her face. This, she notes in breathless wonder, is freedom. And that unfettered, brisk, refreshing existence lies in wait for us, too.

Pray | Ask to understand with your heart, if not also with your head, the freedom that grace can bring

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: James 2:8-11 / Romans 6:11-14 / Hebrews 10:1-4 / Galatians 2:15-16 / James 2:12-13

Act | Think of the moral rules you live and/or judge others by and contemplating how grace meets us when we’re unable to live by those same rules

#6 One True Love

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So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

– Genesis 19:20

It may be far-fetched, but the fanciful thought that “one true love” exists for each of us is certainly appealing. Television, movies, and anime tell us that perhaps there is such a thing, and in our heart of hearts, we may believe it, too.

We all desire a fulfilling love. Some of us know this inclination intimately, as our thoughts and actions frequently stray toward seeking affection. Others may already have devoted support and not even comprehend that they’ll feel incomplete if they lost such affection.

We are designed to love – to give it and to receive it. Our relationships, imperfect as they are, demonstrate as much. They also suggest something splendid: although the love we experience is faulty, a perfect, pure, and never-failing love lies in wait for us.  It’s all ours – we only need surrender to it.

Pray | Ask to experience God’s love, either more fully, if you’re a believer, or in some shape or manner, if you are not

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: John 15:9-17Matthew 6:24 / 1 John 3:18 / Proverbs 17:17 / Psalms 63:3

Act | Reflect on the role that the desire for love plays in your life, and how that relates to your relationship with God