Community, according to Webster’s online dictionary, is the following:
- A group of people living in a particular local area.
- A body of people having common rights, privileges, or interests, or living in the same place under the same laws and regulations.
- Common character; likeness.
The word “community” is used a lot. I understand why it is used and that the concept is important, but I wonder if, by using the word “community”, we may be cheating ourselves out of what really needs to be the focus:
learning how to function as the body of Christ.
In the body of Christ, each individual has accepted the undeserved gift of Salvation. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, our sins are covered and we are in the process of sanctification. (Sanctification: the process of becoming holy and perfect.)
We are adopted into a family – GOD’S family! (Adoption: Once we become a Christian, God brings us into His family. We become His children.)
Eph 2:19 tells us that we are members of God’s household. This is not a normal, earthly family. We have been plucked out of a lost, dying, disconnected world and placed in a family. The family of God.
We were never meant to live independently from each other. If that were the case, then we would not be referred to as “the body” of Christ. No part of the body can function on it’s own. Heb 10: 19-25 tells us to cultivate our relationship with God, and then to nurture and cultivate our relationship with the body.
The body of Christ includes every single one of us who has been drawn into a relationship with Christ. We stand on level ground. There is no room for some to be rock stars, or for anyone to be left feeling excluded. At any given time, we should be able to turn to any person who is a part of the body of Christ, and know that we would be cared for.
Humanely speaking, we don’t have as much in common with some, even if they are a part of our community. Seeing the bigger picture and calling as the body, helps us to look beyond ourselves, and see everyone as being a member of a family.
Whether it be online, in our church, or in our friendships, we need to see each other as part of a family and seek to function that way as much as possible. Rather than being exclusive, seek to include. Rather than exalting ourselves, seeking to build up another.
As the body of Christ, here is what we are called to do:
- Pray for one another (Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; I Thess. 5:17;James 5:16)
- Encourage one another (I Thess. 5:14, 2:11)
- Edify one another (I Thess. 5:11)
- Exhort one another (urge to pursue some course of action; warn and advise)(Hebrews 10:25, 3:13; Phil 4:2, I Thess 4:10)
- Admonish one another (warning, reproof, teaching ) (Romans 15:14, I Cor. 4:14, Col. 1:28, 3:16, I Thess. 5:12, 14; 2 Thess. 3:15)
- Love one another (John 13:34)
- Care for one another. (I Cor. 12:25, Phil. 2:4)
- Bear with one another (Romans 15:1, Gal. 6:2)
- Forgive one another (Eph. 4:32)
- Help one another physically (Gal. 5:13) and materially (I Tim. 6:17, 18)
- Worship with one another (Heb. 10:24-25).
- Be devoted to one another. (Romans 12:5).
- Honor one another (Romans 12:10)
- Rejoice with one another (Romans 12:15)
- Serve one another (Galations 5:13)
- Carry one another’s burdens (Galations 6:2)
- Encourage one another (I thes. 5:11)
- Offer Hospitality to one another (I Peter 4:9)
- Confess our sins to one another (James 5:16)
That’s why Christians really need community!
This is so much more than a group of people that has a few things in common! And when we learn what we are called to, we become a brighter light for a lost world to see, and a haven for our fellow family members.
Gina Smith has been married to Brian for 25 years, and has been a mom for 23 years. Her husband and children have been her greatest gifts! Even though she has entered a new season of life, her children do still need her, and she is thrilled about that! Gina has served alongside her husband at a small Christian college right outside of Washington DC for almost 20 years. After homeschooling both of her children, she was able to serve as the Dean of Women at the college. Being a mom has been the most wonderful, terrifying, exciting, challenging, satisfying, exhausting, heart wrenching, and heart warming adventure and calling of her life. Now that her children are both grown, she fully enjoys her calling to mentor young women in person, and on-line with her blog “Real Life Titus Two”. You can find Gina at her blog, on facebook, twitter and Pinterest