Friday, March 30, 2012

Importance of Community

It always amazes me how beautiful we are in the Lord's eyes. The Lord delights in us and He created us not because He needed to, but because the Lord God wanted to make man in His image.

It also amazes me the many differences between men and women and yet, we are created equally. We were made to love God and love others and we are also not to isolate ourselves. I guess this is what most of this post will be about- the importance of community.

All people are and will always be made differently from one another. For example, I love to cook, clean (I know, that might sound crazy but it is true!), workout, and love my family. There are many other things I really enjoy, but that list could go on and on. My husband, on the other hand, enjoys making people laugh, playing games, reading (especially academic books), and spending time with family as well as providing for us. And I must say, he does an amazing job with all of it! We are both different when it comes to personal tastes or outdoor activities, yet we enjoy each other's company and compliment each other in many ways.

Wayne Grudem talks a little bit about why we are made the way we are by God and what our purpose is here on Earth. In chapter 12 of Bible Doctrine, the section about personal relationships has become my favorite section.

It is so important to have community with others and it is important to not isolate ourselves from the world. To quote Wayne Grudem, "God did not create human beings to be isolated persons, but he made us in such a way that we can attain interpersonal unity of various sorts in all forms of human society." He also goes on to say that, "interpersonal community comes to its fullest expression (in this present age) in marriage, where husband and wife become, in a sense, two persons in one." Genesis 2:24 supports this statement of marriage. Some people may just think of this unity as physical, but it is not just that! It is also spiritual and emotional unity that can be found between a marriage of a husband and wife.

What is also amazing about this relationship we share with our spouse is the fact that it resembles the relationship that Christ has with the church. Ephesians 5:29-30, "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are memebers of his body." A common theme in Ephesians is love- Love the Lord your God, love others, including your spouse, etc.

We can also extend this idea (and it is an important idea for sure) of personal relationships to the relationships we have with others, whether that is extended family, close friends, neighbors, etc.

There are many books on the market today about the importance of Christian community, and I know of a few that are excellent. However, the greatest information we can find about community is in the Word of God.

There have been times when I have been asked to do something with someone else and I although the words "NO" never left my mouth, I was in a sense saying that when I would ponder up an excuse as to why I couldn't get together with that person. We often times make up the excuse that we are "too busy" or have "so much going on" that we can't commit to hanging out with others (even if it is just for an hour!!) and I think that most of the time (not all of the time) that is far from the truth! This is not something I am proud of and I need to constantly pray for a change so I don't slip back into this pattern of giving people excuses.

For example, my family and I know of several godly families that have 3 or more children and guess what?!? They have never cancelled on plans and they always have time for conversation with others. For example, we know of one such couple (and this can be said for a handful more that we know) with 3 children all under the age of 6 who always jump on the chance to have people over for dinner or game night. Isn't that amazing?! I know that I want to be like this and have constant fellowship with other believers.

Sometimes I have used the excuse of "I am too busy to do something next week" to really mean, "Hey, we don't have that much in common so I will pass." Instead, I should try to find out what the heart of the issue is and reconcile. Did Jesus ever turn someone down because they didn't have anything in common with him? NO! He was the most loving person to ever walk this earth and that is what I aspire to be like. To love as Jesus loved...because he first loved me!

I am not saying that one needs to get together with every single person they come in contact with and have them over for dinner every week, because that would be next to impossible. But I am saying that the Bible calls us to love and to be in fellowship with the church. The greatest commandment is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37) and when we love others, we are essentially loving our Creator, hence the second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).

This can be hard to hear and it was hard for me to hear because I have found myself doing this to others in the past multiple times. It makes me so sorry for how I have hurt others before and now I jump at the chance to do something with someone else, regardless of differences, because I know that is what God calls us to do.

My husband sets a good example for me in this area where I need constant reconciliation. He holds me accountable for these things and I do the same for him....therefore, we hope to pass these commands on to our children. Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.

Enjoy the weekend everyone!!!

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