Arm in Arm

As a college sophomore I got the opportunity to spend a summer in Japan teaching English with a Christian organization.  The summer program was called Scrum Dendo.  We were affectionately called “scrummers” all summer.  The name came from a rugby term which they explained since others like me also knew absolutely nothing about rugby.   When players lock arms to restart a play after a foul made by their opponents, it gives them an advantage.

When our enemy plays foul (which he always does), we need to lock arms with our fellow sisters in Christ to give us support.  When we are hurt, depressed, or feeling the enemy fire bearing down on us, our tendency can be to isolate ourselves.  We hit ignore when friends call.  Rather than reaching out, we retreat.  We skip Bible study thinking we’ll only bring others down with our problems.  This is right where Satan wants us.  Alone.

In order to stand again Satan and his schemes, we need each other in the body of Christ. All over the Bible, we find instructions that include the words “one another.”  Here are only 8 of the 209 verses that come up on Biblegateway.com if you search for these words in the HCJB translation.

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.  By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

“Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10

“Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way.” Romans 14:13

“For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.” Galatians 5:13

“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

“See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15

“And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” James 5:16

We need each other desperately.  However, we must have God’s Spirit and His Word to help us treat each other right. When we encourage, forgive, pray, and love each other, we stand together checking our armor and strengthening those who are weaker.  However, sometimes we can open the door for enemy fire by judging each other, retaliating towards a fellow soldier(ess) when we are wounded, and tearing each other down with actions and words.  I find the enemy often goes for the friendships of godly women setting his sights to steal, kill, and destroy.

In order to fight a very real enemy who has a plan, schemes, and a wealth of information about human behavior, we need our girlfriends.  We must stop turning on each other and see that we need to walk arm and arm like the scrummers do on the field.

I need this reminder over and over.  Yesterday I left a doctor’s appointment with my 12 year old daughter who has recently been diagnosed with alopecia. (Her hair is falling out.)  I waited until I had checked her in at school before allowing my emotions to pour out.  Right in the parking lot I wept.  I got home and let my emotions run their course.  I laid on my bed and gave God my pity party.  When my words were spent, He met me with two instructions.  #1 – He wanted me to trust Him.  (Still working on that)  #2 – He said I needed to invite some encouraging girlfriends over for lunch the next day to share my struggles and pray.  It was very last minute so I was thankful a few gals had some margin in their schedules to come.  The time with them was like water to my soul.  It helped me with #1 and gave me the courage and strength to sort through my worries and fears.  They didn’t have any great revelations, but they reminded me of God’s truth, pointed out ways they see God working in my daughter’s life, and kept me from the overwhelming sense of aloneness that threatened to distort my vision.

When we face struggles – whether its health, relationships, finances, or anything else, our pain can mar our perception.  We need each other.  Just as the scrummers must lock arms and support each other, so we must obey God’s “one another” statements found in His Word.  We may know nothing about rugby, but when the enemy plays foul, we can scrum with other women of faith to restart the play arm in arm.

 

 

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