Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16
The church is supposed to build and love. It is to look to Christ as an example and then move forward to create a community that shares in the great commission.
Ephesians does not say to stop growing. It does not say to look to self or to friends. It does not say to grab fair-weather strangers or cultural norms. Scripture does not say to trip up a fellow church-goer or to stir a pot of strife to weed out the people who are different than you. God’s Word does not say to lie or to take misunderstanding and run with it as a Gospel truth.
Church, stop riding in the same car as those who wear masks and have disunity. Stop finding pleasure in gossip and fakery. Stop trying to have communion in the pews and at the altar of popularity and mockery. This is no way to honor the Lord or your faith. Instead, you are confirming to the disbelievers what they want to hear.
Community is hard to come by at times. When you’re a transient, military family, or someone who lives a lifestyle that keeps you on the move, one does not necessarily want to dismiss the need to have a home no matter how temporary it may seem. As a now veteran family, we think we have settled, found a home, and found a community. When the church breaks up, it’s losing a relationship. It’s losing the roots you thought you were finally allowed to form. The years you looked forward to staying planted are now broken because your footing started to come apart.
Self, your footing is not a building, it is the Lord. It is your faith. It is your relationship with the Lord. But in that, self, it is supposed to be my community… and then I scratch my head. God calls us into community with His church, with His people. His people are broken and sinful and they very much hurt one another at times. Oh, self, remember who you are in the Lord before who you are in a building of other broken people.
So in all of this pain and strife that I face in a house full of broken people, I have the following to encourage me:
1 John 3:1-3ESV
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
We need to remember who we are. I need to remember who I am. I am a child of God through my faith in Christ who died for my sins. I need to remember that no matter what building I stand in, no matter what hurt I face, and no matter what disappointment I must wade through, I know who I am and that is what matters the most.
Self, remember this. Fellow Christian, you remember this, too.
More from this short series found at this link.
2 thoughts on “Looking for Community: A Season of Trial and Fleeting Peace”
This hits home. We moved to a new state a couple months ago and have been trying to find a church, one where we feel part of the community. These are good reminders and challenges for the church and for the individuals that make up the church.
Sometimes, we just need to have a conversation with Self and remind ourselves who our Father is. And that broken person sitting next to you in the pew? He needs love, acceptance and truth-speaking. And even when it doesn’t go over well, we pray and keep loving.
Thanks for reminding us of our destiny told in 1 John 3 – despite how it seems, someday we will be like Him. What a mystery! What a blessing!.