And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,
but encouraging one another…
- Hebrews 10:24-25
In 2014, I experienced true community for the first time. Soon after graduating high school, I embarked on a 6 month adventure that would take me halfway around the world, with people I had never met, to places I had never been before. While I wasn’t having the typical “college experience” most of my high school friends were having, looking back, I realize I was walking through many of the same transitions they were. I was in a brand new place, with brand new people, and soon I was faced with a decision: will I invest myself in this new place, get to know these new people, and experience the life-giving community I know God wants for me? Or will I give in to my fear of the unknown, choosing to let this new season be led by isolation and comfort?
Regardless of what your story holds, or what you are walking though at this very moment, I think we can all agree on 2 things about community: it’s intimidating, but it is also worth it.
At some point in our lives, every single one of us has experienced the feeling of being on the outside. We’ve all experienced what it feels like to not know anyone - to be the new girl.
Whether you are a new or seasoned Christian, we’ve all experienced this feeling in terms of community too. Jumping in with a new small group, starting a new Bible study, moving to a new town and going to a new church...so much new! As Christians, we know the importance of community. We’re told all time that we need to be connected to one another, but that often doesn’t make the choice to step out in faith and courage much easier. It can be overwhelming and intimidating and exhausting all at the same time. Here is the hope, though - and if you’ve experienced this you know: it’s worth the effort when we allow ourselves to be led by the truth that community is a beautiful and God-given thing.
The best way to believe that community is a good and beautiful thing isn’t to hear about it from other people; it’s to experience it yourself! God urges us to “taste and see that [He] is good” (Psalm 34:8). Our God is all about experiencing Him for ourselves. And one way to experience Him is to interact with those who have the Holy Spirit living within them. When we enter in to community with other believers, we get to see and experience God in a whole new way!
On top of that, there are countless descriptions of community throughout Scripture that give us a foundation to believe that community really is worth all that hard work. Here are just a few:
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. - Romans 12:10
… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. - Galatians 6:2
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement. - 1 Corinthians 1:10
There are so many verses throughout the Bible that teach us how to interact lovingly with one another. Why? Because while community is tough, it is so important and holds incredible potential to glorify the Lord.
1. Where are you at today? Are you in a new season, faced with millions of unknowns? Are you in a familiar spot, realizing you’re now looking for something more? Either way, there are so many opportunities all around you! Check out some ways to connect with Lane of Roses here, whether that's a Bible study, an Empowerment Group, or a Community Event near you.
2. What is holding you back from getting more involved in community? Are there negative experiences that are keeping you from believing that community is as good as everyone says it is?
3. Think back to a time you had genuine community. Write down 3 characteristics that community had. If you genuinely can’t think of one, seek out a friend some time this week and ask them to share with you about their experience with community. Who knows? Maybe they’ll invite you to become a part of theirs!
Lord, thank You for being my ultimate community. Thank You for the promise that You will sustain me in seasons of loneliness and in seasons of flourishing friendship. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking me. Father, I recognize the truth that You care deeply about my interaction with those around me. I recognize that there is beauty in healthy community, community that chases after Your heart together. I pray that You would open up doors around me, that You would put opportunities in my path, and that You would give me courage to say “Yes.” I trust You with this unknown, and I have faith that You will be my strength and guidance when I feel weak and lost. Thank You Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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