A Petty Performance

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).

The people who are the closest to us always know us the best. They see what no one else does—they get the unfiltered, uncut version of us when we aren’t in front of others.

What do the people closest to you see about your life? Jesus modeled the importance of family and friendship. From His example, we see that in the middle of our relationship with the Father and our ministry out in the world, that’s the midway spot where our everyday people are.

Some of us are so comfortable being with the Lord—we have a great one-on-one relationship with Him, and we work hard to be a good example for those who need Jesus and for our acquaintances at work, school, and even church. But our families at home and our close-knit friends get the leftovers. They don’t see the evidence of Jesus in our lives; they’d say it’s all a performance.

Some Christians can put a checkmark beside ‘spend time with God’ and they are willing to try and reach people for Christ, but their own families and friends—the ones they are meant to be pouring into and who are meant to pour into them—never see the evidence of the Spirit in their life.

Paul tells us to “bear with one another in love” so that we can stay unified. Our relationships with those closest to us aren’t meant to be superficial—they aren’t meant to be taken for granted simply because we’re used to these people.

We’re meant to invest in these lives. We have to take care of our own because we’re called to endure with one another. We are meant to serve them, and yes, they are meant to serve back—it’s a two-way street. “I pour into you; you pour into me.”

We can’t live our lives on a stage. Don’t just live to put on a show or desire the applause and admiration of people outside your home circle. Don’t leave your family and friends starved for community and connection because you’re so focused on putting on a show. Spend quality time with them, invest in them, and put in the effort to keep the unity between His sons and daughters.

We can’t just live out our lives in one or two areas of spiritual development and ignore the others—we’ve got to be all in. Jesus gave us the answers for how to live a fulfilled life, but we can’t set up camp just on the top of the mountain, or in the middle, or at the bottom, and expect to fulfill our destiny. We’ve got to invest in all three areas because Jesus did.

We must realize that Jesus wasn’t giving friendly suggestions. He was giving us commands. Living a life that’s worth imitating begins with us deciding how desperately we want to be like Him.

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