During our retreat last weekend, the elders of Glory of Christ Fellowship discussed how we can best help one another fight against sin. The calling to walk together in this way is a hard one because no one--at least no one of us--wants to walk around looking for flaws in others and constantly point them out. Finding problems with other people is the easiest thing in the world to do. It takes no talent, no gifting, and little effort. We don't want to go there. And yet the Bible is clear that we need one another to spot our sin and overcome it.
Mike Perry had a great insight at this point. He suggested that we look more for patterns in one another's lives and point those out, and then overlook the "one-off" offenses which could have more to do with mood or circumstances than anything. I found this very helpful. So the elders agreed: if we see sinful or less than helpful and upbuilding patterns in each other's lives, we're going to point that out in grace and then walk together to overcome. Good stuff.
Jordan Pepin then added that if we further develop a "culture of confession" where it's natural, normal, and perfectly acceptable to expose our hearts and sins and difficulties to one another, we'll progress all the more in helping each other overcome sin. Why? Several reasons, I'm sure: confession is humble; confession is honest; confession creates an atmosphere in which sanctification can thrive; confession tells others you're approachable; confession sets up the opportunity for Christ to display his mercy, power, and glory because he's already covered every sin we can ever commit or confess.
This whole discussion really touched me, and I feel so privileged to be part of a group of Pastors who want to grow in Christ and overcome our sin--together.
This way of life isn't just for pastors, you know! We should all develop relationships in which we are free to be who we really are, and in which we are growing in the skill of applying the gospel to our real life, everyday problems. I pray that the Lord will provide you with relationships such as these, and that you'll be eager to engage in them, for they are part and parcel of his plan. Growing in Christ is a community project (Hebrews 3:12-13)!