Last week at Vinelife, I encouraged our local church in way that I thought would be appropriate here.
We are still in the initial stretch of January. Whether you’re a “resolutions person” or not, you’ve probably given some thought as to what this year will hold for you. You may have asked questions like…
What type of person am I becoming?
What kind of fruit is my life producing?
What do I want to accomplish this year?
What are the obstacles holding me back?
What risks do I want to take?
Besides becoming a better person, there is another important reason these questions are vital. Who you’re becoming matters for everyone in your life.
When it comes to the people you do life with, your personal breakthroughs matter just as much for them as they do for you.
Here’s how it works. Every time you take another step forward creatively, spiritually, professionally, or relationally, your initative raises the bar for everyone watching. When you overcome a particular fear or leap over an obstacle, it sends a message to everyone else in your life. It tells them what’s possible. Your growth removes any excuse they have for not growing themselves.
In the New Testament, Peter writes about this principle in how the church should function. For those who are followers of Christ, Peter said that we are “living stones” being built into a spiritual house on the foundation of Christ as our cornerstone.
He didn’t say that we are spiritual sidewalk. We are not stones all laying next to each other, totally independent of one another. We are a house. Houses are built from the bottom-up. Each brick rests on another. Each brick provides support for another.
This means that when you grow and become firm in your identity, it actually creates substance for others to stand on. The places in your life where you are advancing and taking ground become a launching pad for others to build off of. When you move forward, you invite others to do the same. It’s as if the Father is a brick layer, fitting us perfectly together for this purpose.
But even outside of a spiritual context we see this principle play out. It’s amazing that when a certain world record is broken, someone else comes along shortly after to break it again. For Instance, Roger Maris’ home run record was left untouched for 37 years, and then both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke the record in the same year. Three years later Barry Bonds broke the record again (with the help of some steroids).
The same goes for Olympic running and swimming. For the last 100 years athletes have pushed themselves to outdo one another over and over again. With technology, better training, nutrition, and yes performance enhancing drugs, records continue to be broken.
We have a way of pushing each other. This last year, I witnessed so many of my close friends and family grow and mature in unprecedented ways.
I had friends step out in insane generosity towards others. It showed me that I can be just as generous and be free of insecurity.
I saw friends take creative “risks” in their art and music. This pushed my own boundaries of what I thought was possible.
I saw friends repent and be healed of sin. Their humility made it that much easier for me to humble myself.
I have a friend who is aiming to take one thousand risks this next year by loving people every day. This shows me I have no excuse.
I think this is the principle Peter was getting at. When you grow, we grow. When I grow, you have the opportunity to grow. We grow together.
In what ways do the people in your life and community need you to grow this year? How have you grown because of someone else’s personal breakthrough?