The Two R and Rs we need …


The current situation we are all in is likely stressing you. It is stressing us all.  That is because we are not designed to live this way. Two internal mechanisms that God installed in each of us have been short-circuited.

God wired us for rhythms (not the toe-tapping, keep-time-to-music variety) and relationships. Let’s look at those two areas to see how important they are, and why it is important to restore them.



“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” Exodus 20:8

Notice the cadence that our week is to follow: six days of work and one day of worship and rest. Every week. Every month. Every year. You might say that God wired us to keep the beat of 6/7 time — six beats per measure of a week, with a long sixth note that rests through Sunday.

As you read your Bible you will notice that God designed seasons of life, appointed times of feasts and celebrations, and prescribed points in time for resetting life.

“And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years …” Genesis 1:14

When we see a sunrise, or look into the starry night we are reminded of cycles and rhythms.

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places. “These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.” Leviticus 23:3-4

Days and nights, months, four seasons, appointed celebrations … can you feel the gentle hum of the rhythm that He composes?

The arrival of quarantines, social distancing, and postponement of worship services has disrupted the rhythms of our lives. It is more significant than we think. We can’t go to eat together, worship together, or even laugh and talk at ball games or kids’ events. To not be able to do these things affects us more than we think. The 6/7 rhythm that God implanted in our souls is now 1/7, or 3/7. We are off kilter. Just knowing this helps us to establish temporary rhythms until we can return to familiar ones.



We are created to relate. We are to relate to God first, then others second. While our relationship with God can grow deeply during trying times, our relationships with others can be strained. Currently, we are are advised to stay away from each other to promote public health. Social distancing can strain our relational souls. While we follow those guidelines for preventing illness we can still reach out to each other in meaningful ways.

The New Testament lists over 30 “one another” statements/commands. You are likely familiar with many of them. The relational cues from the New Testament are critical to our relationships, and to our spiritual growth. Having studied these “one another” statement for years — and polishing up a book manuscript on them, shameless teaser, sorry — I can tell you that our “one anothering” has deep roots in us, by design.

Here are some examples:

  • “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
  • “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thess. 5:11
  • “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” Ephesians 4:2

These are just a few of the beautiful admonitions that God gives us on how to relate to, treat, and help each other. Take some time and look up (i.e. Google) each of the verses in the New Testament that contain “one another.” You will be surprised how many there are, and how they enrich our lives. It is well worth your time to study them. I promise. Or, wait for the book to be published. Better yet, get a head start and go ahead on your own.

Remember, God has designed your life for rhythms and relationships. During these disruptive times, try to regain some rhythm and develop your relationships as best you can. Reach out to someone  by phone. We need to hear each other’s voices. Offer encouragement, pray for others, and then let them know that you are there for them. We need each other … more than we think.

Let’s get our souls tapping in time to God’s rhythms and lives re-connecting to “one another.” We will all be better off, and better for it.

Hang in there. God’s is nearer than we think and aiding and protecting us in ways we do even know yet. Let’s follow His R and R during these unusual times. It will help us and honor Him.


The “one-anothers”

Under the hat of modern evangelicalism dwell many heads: some gold, some wooden, some stubble. This is evident by the variances in professions and practices of faith. While this post could meander down a passel of trails lined with these variances, it will not. Instead, we will begin a brisk walk along a fence row that separates sheep from … relationally odd sheep.

Shakespeare stated that brevity is the soul of wit. Likewise, it is the soul of sturdy writ. So, let’s take long strides with few words on our walk in order to move us through this meditation which will serve as an introduction to several that will follow.

The topic focuses on relationships among believers. This is not about relationships of the God’s-will-for-finding-your-soulmate-completer-dot-com variety. Rather, we will consider the teaching of the New Testament on how we are to relate to one another within the body of Christ.

The spectrum of relations among Christians in congregations ranges from the priggish parishioner who can only look down his/her spectacles in judgment to the needy hug-o-phile who loves and accepts everyone into her/his affirmation-fest. You know both, and the free-ranging herd in between. A quick pondering of this nutty gamut is puzzling at least, off-putting at best, and repulsive at worst.

If evangelicals are going to promote, or feebly peddle, a “relationship with God” to the lost folks around us, then shouldn’t we place our relationships with other believers under the microscope beforehand? Yes. Yes, we should. Unless, we prefer instead to add a fresh coat of white wash to our already shiny exoskeletons.

The key phrase, and central idea, to this series of posts is “one another.” I will not make this cute by converting those two words into the hyphenated term of “one-anothering.” We’ll be glad later. Also, I will not use the popular term “perspective” in regard to biblical teaching and relationships. “Perspectives” are akin to rabbit holes dotting my favorite woodlands: all too common and often empty. There. Besides, God’s perspective is the only one that matters.

Depending upon how you cut and stack them, the New Testament contains over two dozen “one another” commands. They are not tips or suggestions; they are commands. There is some overlap and cross-pollination among them. So, I will attempt to simplify this by sorting them into one of two boxes: attitudes to build in ourselves and service to offer to others. Clarity will emerge from doing it this way once the light of more posts peeks through the clouds.

Let’s get started with the most common, and foundational, “one another” in the New Testament: Love one another. To “love one another,” is a single command among the King-sized list of the “one another” principles, but it is repeated over a dozen times in different ways, and with different descriptives. The one instance that is familiar to most, and sets the tone for them all, is found in John 13:34-35. There are weighty words and sobering truths compressed into those two short verses.

Pull up to the gate, put on the parking brake, look up the verses, and sit there before we begin our fence row trek.

Roll down the window and take a deep breath. Those verses will cause your brow to moisten.

The hike that we will begin will be uphill, and will bring on a full soul-sweat. You will need to pack some water, and snacks, and extra socks. From where we will start to where we will arrive will result in some calluses, and a better heart.