While we’re on the topic of community I thought it would be fitting to introduce you to some of my community. This month you’ll be hearing from some of the people who I do life with.
Today I would like to introduce you to Michelle. This woman truly is a gift to the world; she impacts everyone she comes in contact with for the better. She is a mentor, confidant, example, encourager, and a dear friend. I know that you will appreciate her perspective on community.
“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you…Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends…Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
Philippians 2: 1-4 (MSG)
The term “community” is used to describe groups of people and neighborhoods but it has far greater meaning than even this.
Community is a combination of two very distinct words: common and unity. In reality, unity is not common. Unity is something we must create, develop, and maintain. Whether it is in marriage, friendship, family, our career, or in our churches – it is a commitment to find common unity.
To live in a community requires considering the needs of others, even putting their needs before our own. That alone makes our community uncommon and beautiful. We are created to be different, not to divide us or to create competition but to complete us. God set community as a standard; creating families, tribes, and kingdoms.
What unites us?
What divides us?
“You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” James 3:17 (MSG)
That which brings us into unity is divine in nature, what separates us is demonic in nature. Ours is a “community of the Spirit” and therefore we need the Spirit to live in it. Our common unity as disciples, the foundation that makes community possible, is our love for God and his love for us. Probably stated more accurately: His love for us then our love for him (1 John 4:19).
What is the beauty of being in a “community of the Spirit”? Is it limited to being in a church building or in a service? Actually, it has no limits, only those we create.
You may have heard the saying “there is no distance in the Spirit” and by that we are referring to prayer not being limited to the natural realm. While that is true, there is also another way of looking at it. We should not create “distance in the Spirit” by separating ourselves from other believers. Let’s commit to loving each other and focusing on what unites us. Let’s live in community in such a way that we fulfill these words of Jesus:
“Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (TLB)
How do you live in common unity? How is your love for your community an example in an increasingly divisive world?
Download Community: You’re Welcome at the Table, a free PDF, at sarahjcallen.com/community