I was talking with a friend last week about a new workout routine he was doing. A student in his youth group asked my friend to hold him accountable with his exercise goals now that his high school sports team was out of season.
My friend begrudgingly obliged, realizing they should probably participate together to make the accountability work both ways. This took some measure of effort on the part of my friend, because he’s neither a morning person nor much of a fitness person. I mentioned how inconsistent my own gym time had been lately, and decided to join their group by texting my friend the next morning after we each completed our routines (we live 6 hours and one time zone apart).
I shared this with a few friends at work, and they were on board, as well. These were also some of the same people who had completed almost 30 solid days of planking together earlier this year for “Fab Ab February,” working on our fitness daily right from our office.
I began to notice a pattern.
We’ve all heard that things are easier when there’s someone else involved, but it’s hard to see the benefits until you actually put it into practice. Sticking to an exercise routine seems less daunting when there are other people holding you accountable and expecting you to perform. And that’s only one example.
This got me thinking about a story from the Bible. I’ve been studying the book of Daniel for a blog series I hope to start in a few weeks. In chapter 3, we read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refusing to bow down to the king while they were living in exile. Consequently, they accepted the king’s punishment: they would all be thrown into the firey furnace.
Was the prospect of death easier to face with friends?
I’m certainly not comparing execution by decree to our meager group calisthenics, and I’m not trying to add to Scripture what isn’t there. But as I studied the story, I was reminded about the power of facing challenges together.
There are countless stories in the Bible of God working through individuals to fulfill his purposes. But there are also plenty of examples of believers “doing life together.” Even Christ took three friends with Him to the garden to pray before He faced the cross. (The failure of His friends to stay awake is another story altogether.)
When you read through Acts and the stories of the early church, you almost get the sense that God planned it this way–to live life in community, “bearing each others burdens,” and walking the sometimes challenging roads together. What a novel idea.
Many of us have a natural tendency to do things on our own. But some things in life call for a shared experience. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to face the challenge–or the blessing–with others beside you.
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