In the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another (Romans 12:5 CSB).
Friend to Friend
They lined up one by one, no questions asked.
They didn’t come begrudgingly. They came with an eagerness you could see on their faces. They were ready. They were excited. And they were together.
The front lawn of our local elementary school was the stage for the epic tug-of-war championship between two fourth grade classes … while some may call tug-of-war a game, I feel confident the fourth graders holding the rope approached this as anything but a game.
Mrs. Johnston’s class formed a line down one half of the rope, while the opposing class took their places on the other half. Because I had a daughter in the class, I had heard the stories of disagreements and misunderstandings. I knew all these students weren’t best friends.
However, whether they never played together at recess or sat next to each other at lunch, at this moment, it didn’t matter. There was a tug-of-war championship on the line, and it was one class against another. They needed every hand and body if they wanted to be the strongest they could be.
So whether they were friends or not, one thing remained true: they were all part of Mrs. Johnston’s fourth grade class.
Like a lightning bolt, the P.E. teacher dropped the rope, and the students in Mrs. Johnston’s class leaned back as one force. Acting as one, they pushed and pulled and tugged the rope. And in only a matter of seconds, they had successfully moved the middle of the tug-of-war rope across the line that signaled their victory.
Classmates jumped, hollered, raised their hands, and showered each other with high-fives. Together, they had done it, and together, they enjoyed it.
A few years after that epic face-off, I came across another kind of tug-of-war. Instead of joining with others to pull in the same direction for victory, this version put four people up against one another, and it was every man for himself.
Each person pulled in their own direction, and the winner was the one who pulled harder and faster than the others to recover a flag.
In the first kind of tug-of-war, you operate alongside others. You share strength and resources. You encourage each other and strive side by side. But in the four-way tug-of-war, you have only yourself to count on—or to fault. You have only your strength to draw from and only your thoughts to keep you moving.
As I considered the disparity between these two tug-of-war games, I couldn’t help but think about how these approaches play out in our daily lives. Too often, we pull in our own directions. We face life alone and try to figure it out, catch up, or keep going. But there is another way.
Today’s Truth shows us that when we belong to Jesus we no longer have to live separated and alone: “In the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:5 CSB).
As followers of Jesus, we can unite with others to pull together for the cause of Christ. Instead of striving for our own way, we can live connected to every other follower of Jesus as fellow members of the body of Christ.
Because of Jesus, we have been reconciled to God through one faith. Because of Jesus, we have been united into one body. Because of Jesus, we belong in the body of Christ.
Which example best describes your approach to life as a Christian right now—the four-way tug-of-war or the original version? Why?
Dear God, I’m exhausted from trying to handle life all on my own. Thank You for giving me a place to belong. Help me to put down my own ways and pull side-by-side with other believers to accomplish Your purposes.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Who may benefit from you picking up the rope and pulling in the same direction with them?
Our willingness to be one with the body of Christ impacts not only our lives but also the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we step up to the rope and pull in the direction of Jesus, other members of Christ’s body are helped, strengthened, encouraged, and equipped.
Who is one member of the body of Christ you can reach out to today?
More from the Girlfriends
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