I’m still thinking about community and its purpose. The other day I was able to spend time with a dear friend. We didn’t talk about the weather, we shared about our walks with the Lord. During this time we both shared some very personal struggles with each other, things that others may choose to judge. In our community time together, we shared God’s grace and the grace we are to have for others. We encouraged each other. If we spend time only on our own, we won’t receive the encouragement we need, and most of all, we won’t be able to encourage others. I want to share with you a devotion I read from Mike Mobley at Before The Cross.
For Christians, being in community with one another can be a tricky thing. I think most of us realize that relationships are important in our walk with The Lord and that we need community, but often are not sure of how that should play out week to week or miss all together the real importance and priority of community.
Let’s face it, we are sinful. And after following Jesus, we are still sinful. That means people are complicated, relationships are messy, and because of our own baggage it’s typically easier to just remain in isolation and to avoid community. I obviously can’t speak to everyone’s situation, but I’d love to encourage you with a few points in regards to Christian community and it’s importance.
Isolation Is Never The Answer
Sometimes we think going at life alone is really the answer, when it’s not. While it may “seem easier” not to be involved with people and maybe sometimes conflict, the problem is you were designed for relationships. Not only that, you are still sinful and need Jesus and need the Church to help you grow in your walk with The Lord. If no one is ever around you, how will you get poured into and how will you pour into people?
Satan would love nothing more than to keep you in isolation. That is where he will deceive you by telling you “you’re not good enough,” “you’re probably not a Christian,” and “you’re better than those other people and you don’t need them”, which encourages pride. Don’t believe his lies or your own lies telling yourself things are easier without community. You need relationships. “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1)
We Are Going To Be With Each Other Forever
If eternity is a real thing (which it is), and we are going to be together forever (which we are), then why not starting acting like it today? Here’s the deal, for all of us brothers and sisters in Christ, we will be together as the Church for all of eternity. That may sound scary, but there’s something greatly redeemable about that thought.
We can serve and love one another, call each other out, and be there for each other in ways that this world will never understand. And we can (and should) do all of that because we are family. We are family, for eternity. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
There’s A Real Purpose Behind Community
Probably the most important reason that community should be a priority is that Jesus has provided a real purpose behind it. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” (1 Corinthians 12:14) The world will know that you are a disciple of Christ by the way you love others. There’s more at stake in regards to community than your preferences, but rather, a calling that The Lord has given you to be obedient to. As you love others and do life with them, the world will take notice. Yes, even if people are messy and complicated, that’s even more the reason to love them, because while the world would walk away from those people, Christians should draw near to those people.
The Church is made up of many members and not just one. God hasn’t called you to follow Him and be on your own, but rather has given you a purpose and you are to live that out within the Church. If we are all part of one body, and let’s say you are a “right arm,” you can’t just float out there on your own, but need to be a part of the larger body so the right arm can work the way it’s supposed to work. If you’re not in community and part of the Church, you’re missing out on the purposes that God has for you.