WHY THE COMPANY YOU KEEP IS IMPORTANT

WHY THE COMPANY YOU KEEP IS IMPORTANT

Cordless electrical appliances are great contraptions. You pick it up when you need it, then place it back into its charging point once you are done; and you know that, because it is being recharged when it is not in use, it will be full of power, ready to work when you next need it.

But despite its wonders, there is a downside, and it is this; when it stays away from its charging point for too long, it gets drained.

And that’s a lot like life, isn’t it? We all have our ‘charge points’. Be they our family, our hobbies, our holidays, or for some of us, even our children; ‘charge points’ are important because when we retreat to them and we spend time with them, they refresh us and give us the motivation we need to carry on.

Faith is a lot like that too. Trying times and difficult circumstances drain our faith. When problems mount and solutions are scarce, our faith is tested, it takes a good old beating, and we find that our trust in God starts to wane.

Now this would be alright if we could just pop a couple of aspirins and sleep it off. But the reality is, if we don’t do something about it when our faith runs low, if we don’t go back to our spiritual ‘charge points’ when we are running on empty, we could run the risk of ending up jaded and disillusioned, feeling like we have been abandoned by God. I say ‘feeling like’; because the reality is, we never are.

So what are spiritual ‘charge points’? Church? Music? Friends? Cell group? Sure. All these are great, if they work for you. But what if you can’t stand church? What if you can’t stand the people in your cell group? What then? Are the only ‘charge points’ that you can go to, the ones that are sanctioned by the church?

Well beloved, our Father, through the story of Jesus’ birth, gives us a good illustration of what we should look out for in good and Godly ‘charge points’, ones that will encourage you and fill you with hope so that you can continue your journey of faith in Him. So let’s take a look at what makes a good ‘charge point’.

A couple of days ago, we saw how Mary seemed to have been dealt a bad hand. She was a virgin, about to be married; and just before the wedding, she was told, by an angel of the Lord no less, that she would be with child, immaculate divine conception, before the wedding.

Now, anyone could have told you that there is nothing immaculate nor divine about being found pregnant before a wedding. So it is little wonder then that Mary “was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean.” Luke 1:29 [AMPC]

So whilst she was still reeling from the news, she could have sat there and began a process of self-introspection. Or she could have looked up her contemporary search engine for ‘ways to tell your husband that God made you pregnant’ or she could have turned to the gossip pages to see how others dealt with a similar situation.

But she did none of those things. Instead,

“Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth.” Luke 1:39-40 [MSG]

She was feeling a little low on faith, troubled at what God wanted her to do, so she ran to her ‘charge point’. But what made Elizabeth such a good ‘charge point’?

Firstly, we are told that Elizabeth was her cousin. She was familiar, dependable, trusted; she was family. So the first place we should look for encouragement are in the sources whom we trust. It need not be a member of the family if you are having problems in that area. It need not be a member of your church. Just someone you can trust. It could even be a source of writing, like the Bible. We can never go wrong when we run to the Word of God for help, can we? But whatever is your choice, it has got to be a trusted choice. Else, why ask if you are going to doubt?

Next, we are told that Elizabeth had a similar experience.

“Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:36-37

Now Elizabeth’s conception was equally, if not even more shocking than Mary’s, because this was how her husband responded when told by the angel Gabriel that she would be with child.

“Zachariah said to the angel, “Do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is an old woman.”” Luke 1:18 [MSG]

Even her husband didn’t believe that she could conceive. That is how ‘mature in years’ Elizabeth was. And yet, conceive she did, by divine intervention and prove that indeed,

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37

So for Mary, Elizabeth would be the best person to understand her situation and give her the encouragement she needed; for not only was Elizabeth’s experience similar, her experience was also complete, she had already seen God bringing His promise to fruition in her life. So she was fully charged with faith, ready to pass it on to Mary and ‘charge’ her faith batteries up.

Finally, not only was Elizabeth a trusted source, not only did Elizabeth share the same experience, she was also filled with the Holy Spirit, for when Mary came knocking, and

“…when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Luke 1:41-42

Our Father did not see fit to just have Elizabeth be Mary’s ‘charge point’; He had the Holy Spirit hang around to help the entire process along. And we know how, when our Father works, He never fails. For when Mary heard Elizabeth’s greeting, this was how she responded in the end.

“And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.” Luke 1:46-49

Notice the difference? Not a moment ago Mary “was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean.” Luke 1:29 [AMPC]

But now, she realizes what a great thing our Father has done for her and how blessed she really is. What a complete turnaround.

Now, let us for a moment pretend that Mary did not run to Elizabeth. Instead, she ran to the tabloids or to the nay-sayers. Let us imagine if she ran to those who did not believe, who had not the Holy Spirit in them, who shared not the same experience; but who could only see things from an earthly perspective. What do you think Mary’s fate would have been?

So you see beloved, the company that you keep is critical to your peace of mind. Even though,

“…the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 3:16

The world has a way of getting into your head and making you forget that.

When troubles come like ocean waves and beat against your boat, your faith is tested and it takes a good old beating. But it is precisely when these things happen, when your faith batteries are running low, that you should run to your ‘charge point’.

There’s no shame in admitting that we need a top up every now and then, because after all, as the Psalmist says,

“For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14

Why would our Father think less of you if you needed a charge up? Instead, because He is the One who goes with us, who never leaves us not forsakes us, He will, as Jesus promised, also ensure that the Holy Spirit will be hanging around to “teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.” John 14:26

So if you are running a little low on faith, find a good ‘charge point’, one whom you trust, one who can empathize with your situation, and one who is God-fearing, who is filled with the Holy Spirit; and draw all you need to help you get on with your journey.

And if there is none that can be found on this earth, then go back to the original source of all things and open your Bible. For when you begin to fill your mind with the things of Christ, He will expound to you “…in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27

And you will surely be refreshed.

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