How Jesus Modeled Spiritual Partnership

Spiritual partnerships are gender-specific partnerships focused on propelling each other into deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. The result of our ever-deepening relationship with Christ is our spiritual transformation. We are becoming more like Him in character.

Spiritual partnerships are also mutual and reciprocal. There is no condescension or top-down approach in spiritual partnerships. As spiritual partners (comrades in arms) we recognize that we are both very needy before the Lord. We are humble before each other, transparent with each other, and boldly challenge each other in God’s Word.

We generally view Jesus’ relationship with His disciples as a teacher-disciple or mentor-mentee relationship and the Gospels bear out that this view is accurate. But as with any of our relationships, we may take on a variety of roles. For instance, with my adult sons I am still their father, but I may also serve as a friend, a coach, a mentor, or I may go to them for advice.

I believe that in addition to serving as teacher and mentor to His disciples, Jesus also cultivated and modeled spiritual partnership that was mutual and reciprocal. In Mark 3:14 we read, “He appointed twelve that they might be with him.” At the Last Supper Jesus said, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15) We should not be surprised by the fact that Jesus, wholly God and wholly man, should seek out and enjoy the company of other like-minded men.

We find a powerful example of Jesus’ desire for spiritual fellowship with His disciples in Matthew 26:36-38: “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’”

In this most distressing and troubling time, Jesus sought out His three most trusted disciples to be with Him and keep watch with Him. Why is it then, that when we find ourselves in distress, we crawl off into a corner by ourselves away from the presence and help of those closest to us? When we isolate, we are most vulnerable. Like a lion hunting gazelles, the evil one seeks to separate us from the “herd” in our weakened state and attack.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Who is your spiritual partner, your comrade in arms?

 

©2013 Rob Fischer

 

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