Advent | Cup of Tea with Me | Day 5: Inner Circle

Want to sip a cup of tea along with me? You can find the Advent Calendar of English Teas I am using here: Advent Tea Calendar

What I’m Drinking: “Black Tea with Honey & Melon” (see flavor details below)

Day 5 Focus: Inner Circle, Close Relationships

Devotional:

Inner Circle

Don’t you love Facebook memories? Sometimes not so much, but today something I shared in 2012 popped up and it stirred my heart further about something that dropped in my heart today while driving home from work sipping on some Starbucks. I am now processing all of these thoughts over a cup of tea…

I heard, “Small circles are strong circles.”

At first, my response was “HUH?!?!”

But then I started thinking, feeling stirred, and then a bit later I saw this pop up:

It’s a matter of life and death who you spend your time with! Choose people who are going to push you to grow and are stable! Many people have the “hype” and appearance of being spiritually mature, but they’re simply not. Trust God to open the doors that need to be opened and close the ones that need to be shut. Just because something seems like a cool social opportunity, doesn’t always mean it is a beneficial opportunity. Be guarded with where, whom, and what you spend your time with or doing! – Jessica Ruth Taylor, 12/05/2012 (pre-marriage days)

As soon as I saw this it stirred in me what I had drop in my heart earlier, “Small circles are strong circles.” In over 30 years of life in ministry I have weathered my fair share church hurt, church splits, backstabbing, etc. I’ve recently been asking God and my husband if something is wrong with me that I don’t have many “friends” locally and that I don’t “go out” with many people outside of my family. Part of that is that most of my close friends are scattered around the country and world, but I just wanted to do a heart check up and make sure I wasn’t operating out of fear or hurt. And God has really been amazing in using other’s social media posts along these lines, even my own posts from years ago, and today’s little nugget to reveal that it is ok, even biblical, to have a small trusted circle of those who are for you, in fact there is health and strength in it.

So, I guard who I spend my time with and energy on. That doesn’t mean I can’t touch others’ lives or be a “hermit” away from society, but in ministry and life it is important to guard what influences you. Jesus had a large following or “congregation,” He then also had what we call the “12 Disciples” which could be likened to a leadership/ministry team, but we often forget that he had an even smaller circle than that. These were the ones he spent much of His private and prayer time with – Peter, James, and John. Many church historians refer to them as Jesus’ “Inner Circle” or “Best Friends.”

In life and Ministry I think it is important for our longevity and health to take lessons from Jesus in this arena. Like Jesus we should touch the masses with the anointing, love, truth, and compassion that only the Gospel can bring, but spend our personal time with a trusted inner circle.

Pastors, ministers, and friends, I hope that you can find an inner circle that is girded with strength, trust, and support that protects, lengthens, and strengthens the place you stand!

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death. (Proverbs 13:14 AMP)

He who walks [as a companion] with wise men is wise, but he who associates with [self-confident] fools is [a fool himself and] shall smart for it. (Proverbs 13:20 AMP)

Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character. (1 Corinthians 15:33 AMP)

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