As men we are told we need to be independent, Lone Rangers, but God made us to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron(Proverbs 27:17). Just like Jonathon needed an armor bearer who was with him heart and soul, so we need each other to fight along with us.
If you are in need of an armor bearer, the study below will help you to find one.
The purpose of this lesson is to address shortcomings in our city ministry—there are drifting relationships AND one-way or non-reciprocal relationships. We will look at the example of Jesus in the first part of the Gospel of Matthew, focusing on three points:
- The Power of Initiation
- Importance of Being Involved In Each Other’s Lives
- Finding Your Armor Bearer
The Power of Initiation
- Jesus went to call people, who respond and followed (vs. 18-22).
- Jesus “went”, “taught”, “preached” and “healed” (vs. 23).
- News spread. People then came to him (vs. 24).
- Contagion Reciprocity: geo-Galilee, Syria, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, across the Jordan, needs—diseased, hurting, paralyzed, seized and possessed.
- Only Nazareth appears not reciprocal (Luke 4:14-30), which is why he left so soon (Matt. 4:13). Why do you think they did not exhibit the same attitude about Jesus as the other groups?
- From now on there are people are looking for Jesus (8:1-4, 5-13)
The Importance of Being Involved in Each Other’s Lives
Matthew 8:14-17, 9:9-13, 10:1-4
- Jesus “saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed”, and responded with healing.
- She responded to his initiation with service (8:14-15).
- This is another example of the power of reciprocity
- Jesus continued to go to new places (tax-collector booth, homes of sinful people) and controversial people like Matthew followed him (Matt. 10:3)
- Side note A: Do you see a pattern about the people that Jesus’ focused on and those whose needs he met in between?
- Side note B: Do we sometimes focus on highly needy people and avoid people that can reach more people?
Finding Your Armor Bearer
1 Thessalonians 2:10-20, 4:1-12
- Paul’s relationship with some of the Thessalonian Christians was like father/child—encouraging, comforting and urging (1 Thess. 2:11-12).
- Again, notice (from what Paul feels) the power of reciprocity (1 Thess. 2:19-20)
- Over the course of our lives there are at least eight areas where we struggle for objectivity and authenticity. Paul mentions holiness, purity and lust as it pertains to our bodies. (1 Thess. 4:3-8)
- He also covers ambition, our private lives and the respect that we engender among outsiders (1 Thess. 4:11-12)
- The suggestion is that there are, besides spouses, around three people who we can count on as mentors/father figures, peers or leaders. Some of them will be lifelong and even faraway where others will be local or situational. They will help us with these categories of questions:
1. What are your strengths?
2. What are your known weaknesses and blind spots? “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”(Lam 3:40).
3. What are your struggles? (Such as sin, addictions, areas of grief, psychological issues, broken relationships, etc.)
4. Family life: What are the dynamics of your marriage like? How are your children doing?
5. What are your lifelong aspirations?
6. Questions related to flexibility to go and meet a need in God’s kingdom (being called) versus unwilling to step beyond your comfort (entitlement).
7. What mode (or mood) do you go into during stress or strong disagreement?
8. Time: what are your responsibilities and extended commitments? (income streams, boards that you serve on, ongoing education and other time consuming efforts)
- Without an armor bearer to help us with personal challenges we are at best living in an echo chamber with our own thoughts or worse—regurgitating the minds of thoughts and attitudes that lock us into defeat or disappointments.
- Write down (for you to keep) the names of people who you fight alongside with
- Write down the names of those who you would like to initiate this kind of relationship with