Following Jesus has a cost, and God has been kind to reveal that cost throughout Scripture. We can be thankful that Jesus is our Great High Priest, sitting at the right hand of the Father and interceding for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).
When we are weary, broken-hearted, or suffering, we can take comfort that Jesus has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He is with us in our pain, grief, and distress.
He has also given us one another. We are called to bear one another's burdens and to bear with one another in all things.
Reflect on your time this week and discuss the following questions with your community.
Were you faithful to pray each day this week and to fast together with the church on Tuesday? If the answer to either is "no," share why with your community. Do not let guilt and shame take hold. The goal of these 40 days is not perfection in following the "rules"; it's a communal attempt by the local church to beg Him in faith to sow vast numbers of seeds among the nations, that a great harvest would be reaped. Our foundation is God and His Word, and our goal is that God's will would be done through us. This community is for you and with you. Rest in that knowledge, and take a moment to encourage one another, whether you have succeeded in what you set out to do or have fallen short of the goal this week. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
Have someone read aloud Romans 8:35-39. Nothing can separate us from the love of God we have through Christ Jesus. Our eternity is set. Jesus has purchased it for us. Let that truth give you rest today as you process it with your community. When you experience suffering, do you believe this is true? Does it feel true? How can you believe it when your feelings may not align with the truth of Scripture?
What does it look like practically to bear one another's burdens? Share some ideas with your community, and then talk about specific ways you can help bear one another's burdens right now.
God, thank you that Jesus is at Your right hand interceding for us. Thank You for giving us community to help us walk through life as we follow You. Please give us grace and patience as we serve one another by bearing burdens. Please help us count the cost together of taking the gospel to unreached peoples. Help us not to shy away from the unknown, because You have overcome the world. Through Your Word, You have given us everything we need for life and godliness. Amen.