In particular I am reflecting on the community I desire that I posted about 2 years ago. Nothing has changed with this desire. However for the sake of sanity I need to consider what direction I need to move in the absence of such a community. What if the vision I have for my ideal community of believers is not going to happen any time soon in my life?
What do I need more of in my life?
1) Love God
Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV)
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
2) Love People
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (vs 39 - 40)
I'm recognizing two different types of loving relationships that are essential to growth.
2. a) Loving Mutual Relationships
I need to continue to invest in some mutual relationships with other Christ followers where the goal is to build each other up to become more like Christ. (1 Cor 14:26, Eph 4:11-16)
On a practical level, for where we are right now, this may look different than some ideal I've had in the past. It may not be a regularly scheduled group of believers that gathers and identifies themselves as a unique group by any name.
However what I need can be found simply by getting together with believers. We are blessed to have many mature believers in our lives. Over the past year we have been making it a regular part of our life to invite many brothers and sisters into our home.
My desire is that these times we have with other believers will be used to do the 'one anothers' we see in Scripture: teaching one another, encouraging one another, loving one another, forgiving one another, submitting to one another, singing together, serving one another, and more....
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:33-35 NIV)
2 b) Sacrificial Loving
I also recognize I need to build into others where I don't expect to get anything in return.
Some of these people may be difficult to love.
These may be relationships that are not as easy or natural for me.
I can't expect these people to encourage me to become more like Christ.
However through these relationships growth will occur. I believe these are the people that Jesus is most passionate about. If I want Christ to grow in me, I need to be investing more into lives that need Christ's love desparately.
In fact, the reason I get together with other believers should be to encourage each other to go out into the world and share Christ's love with others.
If we invest our time and lives primarily into other believers I fear we will become less and less like Christ.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.