Don’t Walk Alone (Part #1): People need coaches. “It is not good for man to be alone” Gen 2:18, NIV
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 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.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Eccles 4:9-12, NIV
I have always understood these verses as “advice”. Two people are better than one! Invest yourself in others. Nurture friendships. Bear one another’s burdens. Love one another. David had Jonathan. Naomi had Ruth. Paul had Barnabas. Batman had Robin. The Lone Ranger had Tonto. Yada… yada… yada… Help others in need. “Be Christ” to one another. This is sage advice for living but hardly a matter of life and death. So I used to think…
But not anymore! In the verses, above, God’s tells us that “relationship is essential” . Stop and digest this. “Essential” means indispensable, crucial, necessary, vital and critical. Essential in not optional! Relationship is mandatory! Since creation, loving your neighbor (i.e., relationship) was always His solution for living. In truth, man was created with “holes” that he cannot fill, himself. Close, personal relationships supply the mandatory nutrients needed for healthy life! Personal interactions fill these cavities! For example…
Nutritionists don’t suggest that our bodies get 13 vitamins daily. They warn us that without 13 essential vitamins, we become sick and die. Vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients are “needs” that we must satisfy. Remarkably, our bodies don’t produce all of the essential nutrients needed for healthy living. We add nutrients from sunlight, the air we breathe and the foods we eat!
Similarly, God’s original plan for healthy people compels personal connection. Like “One A Day®” vitamins, God engineered people to give and get relational nutrients from others. God’s plan for balanced living, from creation, was always to satisfy relational needs through close personal friendships.
Bill Bright’s Four Spiritual Laws, published in August 1994, (arguably) sum-up God’s purpose and plan for restoring God-to-Man:
- 1st Spiritual Law: I know that God loves me. He has a wonderful plan for my life.
- 2nd Spiritual Law: Man is sinful. His sin separates him from God.
- 3rd Spiritual Law: Jesus is the only provision for man’s sin. Though him we can know and experience God’s love and plan for life.
- 4th Spiritual Law: Individually and personally, we must receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to know and experience God’s love and plan for our life.
What is missing? Humbly, let me suggest that we’re missing the 5th Spiritual Law which is also part of God’s purpose and plan for restoring Man-to-Man.
- 5th Spiritual Law: “God created man with relational “cavities” that others fill.” In God’s original plan, Christlike character grows when God’s people, through God’s Spirit, complete one another. (Gen2) Friendship and fellowship is essential for faith to become complete. Note: Relational health is not exclusively for Christ’s followers. How much better, though, is God’s purpose and plan when it is lived-out in the Kingdom of God in the robust manner originally intended!
Spiritual Laws #1-4 show Jesus restoring God-and-Man. Spiritual Law #5 shows the Holy Spirit restoring Man-and-Man. This truth, that the Holy Spirit empowers people to complete each other, is central to discipleship, coaching (i.e., mentorship), spiritual growth and the Kingdom of God!
God has never created a “lone wolf believer”. After being restored to God, Christlikeness is about nurturing relationships that fuel and re-fuel our tanks in bonds of friendship (Rom 12:10). By coaching one another, believers tend and attend to one another’s needs. Both friends grow spiritually as iron sharpens iron. Making and mining personal bonds was God’s perfect plan, at creation’s beginning, for His Kingdom people!
- “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov 17:17)
- “A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov 18:24)
- “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Rom 12:10)
- “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Col 3:12-14)
For more on this idea and how it looks in practice, read the next two devotions on “Don’t Walk Alone” – Discipling Men (Part 2) and “Don’t Walk Alone – Coaching Men (Part 3).