So, God’s really been connecting with me and teaching me recently, mainly about godly fellowship and community. Let’s get into this.
Thursday night, I met up with my campus Christian group at my university for fellowship, like I usually do. It was a blessed night, and then after we heard a member’s testimony and went through worship (and not in that order, now that I remember it), we went down to the beach to meet up with everyone else to celebrate a member’s birthday. We stayed there a bit, had some cake, and then left an hour or two later.
At the beach, I ended up in a spiritual conversation with some friends – mainly about how God had been teaching me that He’s enough, with a friend of mine telling me about her walk, how God was teaching her that He works in her life in His own ways and timing, even if she doesn’t understand it, and how that’s good.
Brothers and sisters, this is what Christian fellowship and community is about. Walking with each other in Christ, sharing our struggles and our walks with each other, encouraging each other, and – where it’s needed – holding each other accountable. We’re to drive each other to be the best godly men and women that we can be. This can be painful, definitely, and my pastor (Norm Funk at Vancouver’s Westside Church) has said before that Christian community isn’t safe, and it isn’t. What if you’ve cheated on your wife, and you confess this sin to your pastor, and he tells you (rightly) that as part of your repentance, you need to tell your wife what you’ve done – even if it means that she’ll choose to divorce you? What happens when, in the course of your spiritual growth, you need to let go of sins that seem outright impossible to let go of? Gospel community isn’t safe – it hurts, but so does anything that involves genuine and continuing growth. But in a way, it is safe, on a very deep and foundational level. It’s safe in that your soul is safe. You are safe in God’s arms. Christian community is, in a way, the most safe (though, judging from one of his tweets, Pastor Norm would use the term ‘secure’) place you can be in, because the entire point of it in terms of what you get from it is to keep you close to Jesus – to safeguard you from sin through prayer and accountability and godly encouragement, and to nurture your spiritual growth through people who are striving for Jesus with you.
I’m thankful for Christian community. I’m thankful that God gave the world and us the Church. It’s a gift to the world because it’s the means through which Jesus’s work continues now that He’s in Heaven, and it’s a gift to us because we get to grow and strive for Jesus and work for Jesus’s mission together, as a family. The same Jesus you speak to and seek after in Scripture, is the Jesus that called your church family, and all Christians across the world. We’re a family, and that’s one of God’s most beautiful gifts to us.
That’s it for now. Grace and peace.