Here’s a story with which you may be familiar.
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They have a big wedding, in which all their friends and loved ones show up to celebrate their big day.
And then, following that wedding, those same friends and loved ones stop hearing from the newlywed couple. The marriage relationship has become so prioritized that their other friendships and relationships nearly dissolve altogether.
As a professional counselor, author and relationship expert, I wonder if our Christian culture at large tends to get fixated on romantic relationships, without remembering the other important relationships that God calls us into.
Somehow, we’ve fallen prey to the dangerous mindset of seeing marriage as the only relationship that is supposed to reflect the Body of Christ.
As important as marriage is within the Church, I can’t help but wonder: what about the other significant relationships God calls us into? What about our relationships with other believers that God has placed into our lives? What about mentorship, discipleship and friendship? What about community?
Here are some reasons community might have more benefits than we think it does:
1. Community Challenges You to be More Like Jesus. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Nothing makes you more like Jesus than the daily grind of interactions with others. We often think about marriage when it comes to this refining process, but the truth is God also gives us community as a way to become more like Him.
God’s Word reminds us that we are put in relationships in order to encourage one another in our pursuit of God and His Kingdom. It’s within the context of community that we are given the opportunity to be refined as followers of Christ.
2. Community Meets Practical Needs. (Acts 2:42-47)
Just like in the early Church, community is a place where we come to get our physical needs met. We need to learn to let down our walls and ask for help from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Whether we need someone to pick up medicine for us when we’re sick, cook us a meal at the end of a long week or help us carry a financial burden, the Body of Christ was made to support and love one another in practical ways. We can learn a lot about love within the exchange of practical needs.
3. Community Carries You Emotionally. (Galatians 6:2)
Just as important as physical needs are the emotional needs we carry through life. We are given the the responsibility to support each other in hard times and to carry one another’s burdens. As much as we need to be available for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we also need to have the courage to ask them to come alongside of us when we’re the ones in need of support, prayer or a shoulder to cry on.
It’s important to learn to be real with one another, because that’s what true community is all about.
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/10-unexpected-benefits-real-community#SWtAh1vUAVXgEWe9.99