It’s that crazy time of the year again, where the chaos, out of routine, summer fun is coming to an end, and school is starting up again! Depending on your season of life, this time of year brings many types of emotions. Maybe you’re ready for the routine of taking the kids to school and heading off to work, or maybe you’re sad that the summer passed too quickly. Or, maybe you don’t have any kids at home and the buzz of school reminds you that fall is coming and gives you a little excitement and refreshment.
Whether you have small babies at home, kids off to school, or entering retirement, the truth is we were all made for community with other people. All people, in all places, for all time were made for
relationship; it’s engrained in who we are. But, even more so God calls his people together, calls us the Church, and gathers and sends us out together.
I have a feeling that among many Christians there is a lingering question, “Do we actually need each other?” and if so, “Why?” If you’re anything like me, there are a lot of things I can do on my own.” Sure, I can read my Bible in my own personal quiet time, I can pray or journal, and I can even serve and do a good deed. Those are good and right things to do, but if we are always doing them alone, how do we know if we are actually growing in Christ?
God is not nearly as interested in what we do as we are. In fact, he is very interested in who we are. The truth is, if what we do is only shaped by our isolated selves, then who we are will ultimately be a more sophisticated image of ourselves, not of Christ. Because we are sinful and selfish by nature, we will never be able to see ourselves truly, and that’s why we need other people.
In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul shares a foundational truth about community that we desperately need to hear:
“Rather, speaking truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, in Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, make the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Right before these verses, Paul reminds the believers that when Christ came, he actually gave “gifts” to the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, etc. What he is saying is that Christ gave the church one another, so that “we may no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves…” (4:14). Paul reminds us that not only do we need one another, but it is actually Christ’s gracious gift to give us one another. We can try and do everything on our own to grow in Christ, but Paul reminds us that we need people “speaking truth in love” into our lives, so that we can grow up in every way into Christ.
Think on this for a moment: Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever been doing a bible study on your own and feeling the tug of the world pulling you away? How many times have you committed to start that study or to start praying each morning, but your commitment swayed to and fro like the waves? I know I have! None of us are strong enough on our own; not apart from oneanother, and certainly not apart from Christ.
So, I want to encourage and challenge you.
If you’re not in community, ask yourself “why?” Are you growing weary trying to follow Christ alone, carry all your own burdens, and constantly tossing to and fro by the waves of the world? Then, consider joining a LifeGroup this fall, not because it checks off a box, but because God made you for community and it is his gift of grace to us!
’re already in a LifeGroup, do you view your community like this? Do you speak truth in love to one another? Do you allow people into your life to help you grow up into Christ? Do you view one another as the gift of grace that they are?
Wherever you are in this journey, I pray that you would consider the gift of community afresh and pursue it as God has laid out for us in his Word!
Click here for more information about joining a LifeGroup this fall: https://goo.gl/forms/9ki4yKVq6WqrsZNF2