Shoulder Companions | Walking Worthy: Shoulder Companions

Friday, March 27, 2015

Shoulder Companions

I sat at the head of the circle, not sure what was about to happen. I watched as one girl shared and the avalanche began. As one girl let down her wall, another did, and they just kept sharing. They let one another see their wounded souls and shoulder companions were born. 

Shoulder-companion, when fighting in battle
Our heads we protected, when troopers were clashing, (Beowulf)

Shoulder companions went into battle fighting shoulder to shoulder or back to back. They trusted trusted each other with their lives in the midst of battle.

Paul also talks about shoulder companions. In Colossians 3:13 Paul calls believers to bear up with one another in love. Vine’s Dictionary tells us that to bear with means “to have or hold up, to endure, to forbear one another.” The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament tells us it means “to hold up or hold back from falling." To bear up with one another means to come alongside each other and help hold each other up or hold back from falling. 

I believe there is a connection between Beowulf and Colossians. Paul describes the evidence of a true believer in Colossians 3. He unpacks what it means to wear Christ’s covenant robe of righteousness.  He uses language that means to take off and put on as one does clothing. Paul is clear that Christians are transformed by the heart resulting in life change. An outside result of Christ driven heart change is bearing up with one another as Christ driven shoulder companions.

We All Need Shoulder Companions
We all get weary and worn. We need someone to come alongside us and spur us on toward Christ (Hebrews 10:24). Christ calls His church the body (Ephesians 4:12) and we are called to move and work as one unit that is interdependent and intertwined (Ephesians 4:16). There is a battle raging all around us (Ephesians 6:12) and we often feel alone.  Yet Jesus calls us to walk with others in essential fellowship and community (Hebrews 10:25).  We are called to look out for the interests of each other more than the interests of ourselves (Philippians 2:3). To be in the body of Christ is to be a shoulder companion to our brothers and sisters.

Transparency is Key
No one can bear up with you if you don’t allow them to. Bearing up requires transparency. It means we let down our walls and trust other people.  The community and fellowship God calls us to begins with gospel centered transparency. That means exposing what sometimes feels private or shameful. It means not fearing what others will think when they see the real you.  Bearing up requires us to be trustworthy shoulder companions that receive each other with truth and grace. Gospel centered transparency drives shoulder companionship.

Ultimately we Rest on Christ
We cannot be shoulder companions in our own strength. We are not capable of helping apart from Christ. Shoulder companions are rooted in the gospel and must rest in the character of Jesus. Christ is the rock (2 Sam 22:3), fortress (Psalm 18:2), present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1), shelter, mighty warrior that goes into battle for us (Zephaniah 3:17). He is the ultimate shoulder companion that strengthens and bears up with us (Psalm 68:19). Shoulder companionship rests on Christ.

Die to Ourselves
Who doesn’t desire to be affirmed by thinking someone needs them? Whose pride is not puffed up at being someone’s shoulder companion? We must fight that urge and die to ourselves daily (Colossians 3:3). We must remember we wear His covenant robe. It’s His character we live out as shoulder companions, not our own. We must daily die all the while clinging to Him.

Battle in Truth and Prayer
We battle shoulder to shoulder as we speak truth to each other (Ephesians 4:25) and lift each other up in prayer (Ephesians 6:18). I am convinced that two of our greatest tools are God’s Word and prayer. Without them, we are lost. Shoulder companions must speak God’s Word and pray.

Body Jesus, how are we doing? Are we bearing up with one another in love? Are we transparent with the people in our community? Are we fighting for each other in Truth and Prayer?

Photo by Jakub T. Jankiewicz
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