Links Daily Devotional

A Good Community, Part 2

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18, ESV)

As we began to explore yesterday, a genuine, “no-mask” community is essential in today’s world if we are to be increasingly faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. We want people around us who have our back, who celebrates the triumphs and victories with us, and who will never leave nor cease loving us when we fall or when hardships hit.

In my own life, I am so very thankful God has supplied me with such a community, where I can be myself all the time and never worry about feeling condemned or belittled. Finding this community can take time, but it is worth every bit of effort you put into it.

How do you know a community of believers is on the right track? Or how do you make it so?

Here are three suggestions on how your community can be real, genuine, and “mask-free”:

1. Start with, end with, and remind each other of the Gospel constantly. Question #60 from the Heidelberg Catechism points to the importance of this.

“Question: How are you right with God?”

“Answer: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all of God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is accept this gift of God with a believing heart.”

We don’t have to be preachers to remind each other of the Gospel. We just have to care about speaking this God-given life into each other.

2. Take your masks off and be yourself. Once the Gospel is reminded to the group and pondered upon, then we have the ability to take down our masks and walls that we love to hide behind. How is this possible? The key is realizing the person sitting across from you is in the exact same boat (and I mean exact) as you. They are a huge sinner in need of a MASSIVE God! And the exact same statement is true about yourself. You see, sin really shouldn’t surprise us. Why? Because I am a professional sinner myself, why should I expect my friend not to be? As I gather with my community, a friend of mine always starts the group off with this: “Today guys, let’s connect at weakness instead of trying to impress with strength.”

3. Make it more than just a spiritual development or accountability time. Don’t get me wrong, both of these are great. We are to grow spiritually in the Lord and desire to obey our heavenly Father. But these are men and women we want to trust, that we want to grow in relationship with, and want to be mask-free when approached. Get to know these people in your community. It might be messy; the people in your group are most likely thinking the same thing. Plug into their lives and allow them to do the same for you, whatever it may be.

My hope is that all of you will find genuine, authentic community (if you don’t have it already). God did not intend for us as humans to live this life alone. I will close with Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, Life Together:

The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer…

Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christianity is only this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.

Rosson Anderson
July 2, 2014
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