Are you living a spiritually isolated life?
How many of your fellow Christians are truly aware of the major areas of difficulty and temptation in your life? How many authentic and helpful conversations have you had recently about these areas?
Inside the body of Christ, which is meant to be the most honest community on earth, many of us exist in a network of surface-level relationships. We live with the delusion that we know one another, but we really don’t. We call our easygoing, self-protective, and often theologically cliché conversations “fellowship,” but they seldom ever reach the threshold of Biblical honesty.
We know cold demographic details about one another - married or single, number of kids, occupation, general location of residence, and perhaps a hobby - but we know little about the struggle of faith that is waged every day behind well-maintained personal boundaries.
The Call To Biblical Community
When we read in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for man to be alone,” these words are not the lonely cry of Adam, but spoken by God as an expression of his creative design. From the outset, God designed men and women to be social beings. If community was vital in the perfect world before sin bent and twisted us, and our surroundings, how much more vital is it now that we live in a fallen world!
Listen to the covenant promise made to Abram: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2–3).
This wasn’t just some private pact between Abram and God. God was calling Abram to be part of a people. God’s purpose in working through Abram’s life was corporate. He was raising up a people upon whom he would place his name and to whom he would show his grace.
Reflect with me on this summary of God’s redemptive purpose in Jesus Christ, “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14).
Paul doesn’t speak about the work of Christ in the individualistic way we often do. He recognizes that, although God is calling individuals to himself, he is gathering them together in order to form a “people for his own possession.”
To put it plainly: The “Jesus and me” religion of modern Christianity is not the Christianity of the Bible.
It’s time to remember that your walk with God is a community project. It’s time to come out of hiding and live in honest relationships with people who will lovingly hold the mirror of the Word of God in front of you so that you can see how deep your struggle with sin still is. It’s time to surround yourself in a social network who will remind you what you have been given in Christ.
And, it’s time to do the same to your brothers and sisters, too! The Christians around you struggle just like you, and the God who is your hope is not surprised by their struggle.
The Lord knows every challenge and temptation of your heart. That’s why he sent his Son to live, die, and rise again.
Paul David Tripp
- How many people truly know you, where you are struggling, and what your weaknesses are?
- How many people do you truly know, to the point where you can speak into their struggles and weakness with honesty and encouragement?
- What other passages in Scripture call us to community?
- How should those passages transform your living, rather than just merely informing your brain?