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Spiritual Partnerships—Growing in Christ

quest-7-3After cultivating numerous spiritual partnerships over a period of seven years, I still find it a struggle to develop a relationship with a new spiritual partner! And I know that I’m not alone in this. There are a number of reasons for this sense of awkwardness. One is that we rarely seem to pursue a relationship with someone intentionally. We often just let them happen serendipitously.

Another reason for this awkward feeling is that spiritual partners both know that they are stepping into a relationship in which mutual vulnerability and trust must reign. But left to themselves, relationships often require many years to reach that level of familiarity. Beginning a relationship with that understanding feels different—even scary!

Perhaps another reason that spiritual partnerships seem awkward at first is that we don’t rightly know how to proceed. So a spiritual partnership may feel contrived or staged in the beginning. In fact, I can almost guarantee that your initial meetings with your spiritual partner will feel awkward! So when you sense those feelings, just remember I told you it would be like that and press on. Soon you’ll forget you ever had such feelings.

Getting through that awkward stage and growing your relationship requires hard and deliberate work. As I mentioned in The Quest, we need to spend time together in real life. This means that we allow our spiritual partnerships to overlap into all other areas of our lives. This relieves much of that initial awkwardness.

We also must accept one another. Let me explain what this does and does not mean. Accepting one another does mean that we accept our differences in personality, ethnicity, taste, etc. We accept each other as Christ accepts us. We also recognize that neither of us is perfect. We’re both a work in progress. We have been transformed by Christ and he continues to transform us.

But accepting each other does not mean that we are satisfied to see each other continue in patterns of sin or poor choices. In fact, we care for each other so much that we cannot let each other off the hook over sin. Instead, we confront sin, we stand together, we battle sin, and we pray for each other.

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2 NLT)

©2009 Rob Fischer

1 comment

1 Brian CooperSmith { 08.10.09 at 12:52 am }

I know this because I ha ve experianced it myself with my friend that I have known for 18 years. And it had some trials and errors but now today we can talk about anything with each other and not care about what we are suppose to feel, all those feeling will in time go away, it did for me and it can for you too.