I live in a small town but was raised a city girl. I have been here for 4 years and I have no plans on leaving anytime soon. I always said I would be here until the Lord called me elsewhere and when He did, I would pick up and move in a hearbeat despite the deep roots I have here. I thought it was going to be for about 7 months but here I am.
I have friends from church that push me to the cross and encourage me in ministry.
I have coworkers who encourage me professionally in my pursuit of my teaching certificate.
I have families who have given me groceries or gas money in the moments that I could only afford to pay rent.
I have a group of friends that challenge me, hold me accountable, ask me the hard questions, and laugh with me.
I have women in my life in different stages that offer wisdom and discernment in moments of struggle.
I truly believe community can make or break you.
I know from experience I would be in a darker place without the community I have worked hard to establish.
But I would be in an even darker place if I pursued community as a replacement for the Gospel.
Community can be idolized in Christian circles. Community can be the end result. The pursuit of community can take place of the pursuit of the Lord.
At times, I have seen it take place of the Gospel. In my own life I have seen how I have made decisions based on community. So many times I have seen how I didn't seek the Lord in decisions but I sought the opinions of my community. I took a safe approach to living my life and living in other's opinion instead of seeking the Lord.
I never want to be a believer that pursues the idea of community instead of the Gospel. I want my community to mimic the Gospel, with the Gospel as the foundation. I recently ran across this quote by Bonhoffer:
“The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ. But He bore them as a mother carries her child, as a shepherd enfolds the lost lamb that has been found. God took men upon Himself and they weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with them and they with God. In bearing with men God maintained fellowship with them. It was the law of Christ that was fulfilled in the Cross. And Christians must share in this law.”
Communtiy should be the picture of the Gospel, not the Gospel itself. Community needs to ask the hard questions that points us back to then cross and Scripture.
Dont get me wrong, community is great but it can hold you back fom living life according to the Gospel.
Beth Moore tweeted today and exactly what I have been mulling over the past week:
"Just gonna say it like this: get your hind end into a strong community of believers & yopur head in the Scriptures. You cannot do this alone."
We can't just have Biblical community, we have to pursue Scripture and pursue Christ.
HE has the power to transform our hearts.