Community is a unified body of individuals. The Christian community is unified in and through Christ Jesus.
I left the service this last weekend upset with the message. Our pastor, once again, mentioned the importance of community. His sermon wasn’t actual on community, it was Contending For the Faith, a study of Jude. He talked about the fact that it’s not going to be easy to hold on to truth, especially as the days grow close to Christ’s return. False teachers are in the church (universal) desiring to lead us astray. It’s important, it’s crucial, to have believers around you that stand with you. Those who will encourage and spur you on. Those who will hold you accountable to truth….Blah, Blah, Blah….
Yes, I was upset. Almost angry, and not for righteous reasons either. I am so tired of hearing about how the community of Christ SHOULD be. In fact I am so tired of it that a little over a year ago I just gave up. Yep, I just gave up on community. Funny thing is I doubt seriously that anyone noticed it anyway. I was just tired of pursuing, tired of people saying “lets do lunch/coffee” only to never schedule a date.
I thought who needs community? I have the Spirit, the Word of Truth, it’s enough. I have my family. I even have a few friends I can count on to speak truth and hold me accountable, even if all but one live states away.
I had to laugh, in his sermon our pastor addressed this too. Saying that, while we do have the Spirit living in and through us, God still calls us to live in community with one another. (Sigh) I wanted to stand up and shout, “Then why is it so hard?” “Why don’t we do it?” “You keep preaching it but I don’t see it!”
I left totally frustrated.
On Wednesday I allowed my frustration to drive me to the word. I went to the only place I know to go for answers. The Word of God. Below are some of the verses God took me to and the questions I began to ask myself.
How is God’s love manifested in and through me? (1 John 4:12-14)
What does God mean when He says that I am to love one another, fervently from the heart? (1 Peter 1:22)
What does God mean by, “Above all put on love which is the perfect bond of unity?” (Col 3:12)
What does it mean to show love in deed and truth? (1 John:18)
These are questions and verses that I know. I could answer them without further study. They seem almost too simplistic. Yet they are among the hardest to live out.
Oh it’s easy to tell YOU how YOU should live them out, but that’s really not what God wants of me. No, He is more interested in the condition of my own heart. He wants the freedom to search the depths of my heart and show me the area’s that I may be holding on to. Things like idols, sin, hurt or even a bit of all of them.
I must admit that I have tried to ignore the problems. I mean, I do understand what the issues are. The real problem is ME. Oh it’s not just me I do understand that, but unless I have a right attitude, unless I allow the Spirit to change me how can there ever be change in the community of Christ?
God does not call us to give up, He calls us to pursue, to endure, to keep running the race. He calls us to live in community.
So today I take one small step to make my community of believers better. I will choose to allow God to search my heart. To teach me what it truly mean to live as a unified body. Today I choose to seek God’s heart for community. I don’t want it to be about me, it’s about Him. It’s how Jesus lived here on earth. He lived for others not Himself. He lived to serve. I want to be like Jesus.
Today I begin with me. I know it’s not going to be easy. I know walls will have to be torn down. But most of all I know God is with me.