Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promises is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.
I am a runner and have participated in many half-marathons and other races for over fifteen years. I completed one marathon and attempted another, unable to continue because of a severe cramp. I found that running with others when training increases my chances of finishing with a “PR” (perfect run or personal record). I moved away from my running community last year, and this year’s Houston Aramco half-marathon was the second worst in my running career. I attribute it to training on my own.
My spiritual growth can be compared to running. I am not designed to go through life alone, especially my spiritual life. That’s why a small group of believers is essential for growing my faith in my Lord, Jesus Christ. Small group members can encourage, teach, pray, and help each other along our spiritual path and life. An intimate relationship with a few people has been critical for keeping me focused on what is essential in my life. And that focus is on Jesus Christ.
Saddleback Church founder Rick Warren is adamant about small groups and their importance in our lives. I am currently taking his “Forty Days of Purpose,” and almost every message includes the need to have fellowship with a few others, with Jesus as the focus. I am so blessed to have some people I call friends that come together each week to talk about our lives and Jesus Christ, our Lord. The difference between running a marathon and our spiritual growth is that running a race is over after 26.2 miles. Our spiritual growth is lifelong. I am so thankful I don’t have to do it alone.