One major focus here at The Front Porch is to provide a network of women to charge one another on toward Christ and build each other up in Him. In this first year, the Lord has blessed the TFP writers and readers through the words that have been shared and the encouragement that has been posted.
Community among believers is not an option — it’s crucial. God proves that time and time again in His word through the lives of His people.
A few weekends ago, I visited my parent’s home church in Georgia, and the pastor was preaching on the Israelites in the wilderness. He pointed out how almost all of the Israelites grumbled while they wandered and yearned for Egypt, even though their time there was quite literally spent in chains (Exodus 16:3). Instead of looking forward to the Promised Land, the Israelites, God’s chosen people, looked behind them because it was the “best” thing they knew.
It was all they knew.
What stood out to me the most in this sermon was how the pastor brought to light that Caleb and Joshua were among the few Israelites who truly saw Canaan as the blessing God had promised to their people. (You can read their story in Numbers 14:5-9 and Joshua 14:6-15.)
I imagine that both Caleb and Joshua had their human moments. There were days when the heat in the wilderness was unbearable. There were probably meals when it was all they could do to choke down their manna. There is no doubt they had days of despair.
But God was faithful.
I believe God gave them each other to point them to Canaan. When one was discouraged by their people’s displacement and was tempted to turn back to captivity, he had the other to say, “Remember Canaan. Remember God’s promises. He delivered us from slavery, and He will do what He has said.”
Community is vital in the life of a believer because times in the wilderness are inevitable. When those days come, we must have others in our camp pointing steadily to God’s promises.
Who is your Joshua? Who is your Caleb?
Someone told me when I was young that deep, meaningful community among believers is crucial because even God is a community within Himself. If God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, how can we expect to survive alone?
Even Jesus made a point to prove the importance of community by investing in His disciples while He was on earth. He set a great example by choosing a select few to share the weight/gravity of His purpose with — the same select few that learned to lean on one another in carrying the message of the Gospel, even after the death and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:12-14).
Peter, James and John were all specifically blessed to see Jesus in ways that the other disciples did not. At the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-17), the three men saw Jesus in His full heavenly form. In the same way that Joshua and Caleb were able to encourage each other toward Canaan, I believe Peter, James and John persevered through times of persecution by reminding themselves of their experience on the Mount and pointing each other to the promise of Christ’s return.
As believers, we are called to do the same for one another. We have to seek out how we can serve one another. We have to learn each other’s deepest struggles in order to know how we can best encourage our brothers and sisters in the faith. Like Caleb and Joshua and Peter, James and John, we have to be able to point out God’s promises and preach them to each other daily as we walk through the good, the bad and the ugly in life. When we are able to witness together the effects of God’s promises, we can sustain what we share with each other. When you pass on a flame, the fire only grows.
I pray that we will identify the prayer warriors and heart friends that the Lord has given us. May we be vulnerable to share our own struggles and become soft-hearted toward the struggles of our neighbors. May we reflect Christ in the way that we fellowship with one another.
When persecution comes, we have to remind one another of the Mount. When strength is waning in the wilderness, let’s aim to faithfully point each other to Canaan.