When we have established our service and relationship with God, we are prepared to go out. However, Christ doesn't want us to go too far, at first. There are several people close to you who need the gospel solidified in them before you can consider your community and the world at large. They are called your inner circle.
What is an inner circle?
The basic criteria for a member of your inner circle are thus:
Typically, those who meet the above criteria are your family. If you are a husband or wife, it is your spouse and children. If you are child, it is your siblings and parents. This inner circle can, at times, extend to grandparents as well. However, there are those who do not have immediate family. For them, a close friend or mentor could be their inner circle*.
*Note: If you do not have someone in your life that meets the inner circle criteria, find a person. It is very difficult to serve God without a companion to assist you along the way.
Now that we've identified our inner circle, let's take a look at a scripture about assembling:
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
This is often considered a scripture about coming to church, but it also applies to our inner circle. We must remember that our home and our close companions are our first church. Every day, we intermingle with our loved ones. If we are not assembled together in the mind of God, our home will not be safeguarded against the attacks of the enemy. Let's examine those two verse more closely to understand what we should do:
Provoke unto love and to good works
The word provoke doesn't elicit warm feelings most times, but the term here means to incite. Incite what? Love and good works. We need to get people stirred up with the love of God and a passion to do the good works of His Kingdom. Having someone within your inner circle to stir up these feelings pushes us when we would normally hesitate or forgo them to another time. God will certainly press us to serve, but having that like-minded voice to give the extra nudge helps tremendously.
Assembling together...exhorting one another
We have the advantage with our inner circle because we are in their company regularly. What better activity to partake in than to examine the Word, pray and discuss the things of God? If we use our free time with our inner circle to focus on the things of God rather than idle leisure, we will find ourselves growing in the Spirit and in boldness to serve Christ.
This doesn't mean we can't have fun. When I was a teenager, one of my mentors would get several of kids my age together and we would have a game night. Even while we were having fun, he made sure to bring our focus into God through natural conversation. Those conversations were some of the most important founding moments in my relationship with Jesus Christ and helped me in developing my walk with Him. We can do the same with our loved ones and those within our inner circle. Regardless of the activity, find a way to bring up God and let the conversation flow naturally. When we are relaxed and having fun, we are often in a state of openness. In that state, honest conversation can flow and growth can happen.
Grow Your Inner Circle, Grow Your Reach
We have a field right in front of us waiting to be harvested. Our closest companions need to be founded and developed in Christ. We can do it through the simple means of coming together with a unified purpose. If we will start growing our inner circle, we will find ourselves with a strong base from which we can operate in the Kingdom of God. Our ability and confidence to go and do for God will be enlarged, thereby enlarging the reach with which God trusts us. Can we reach for the world without first establishing our homes firmly in God? Some would say yes. However, without a firm foundation in God, the enemy will attack and we will be running back to a burning base of operations. Instead, when we solidifying our base, we will have a place to come back to be replenished and go further in God than we ever imagined.
We reviewed it a while back, but Rick Warren's Better Together is a great resource for bringing a small group together and making them stronger in Christ. It's got simple topics that relate to every age and level of relationship with God. Try it out and see how it helps your family. You can actually get it free with a donation on Pastor Rick's website right now.
Can you tell us where the picture of the bird on the wall was taken? Winner gets a download copy of The Way. Hint: It's at the top of one of the highest mountains in the world. Post your answers in the comments section below.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.