THE GIFT OF VULNERABILITY
One of the scariest things in life can be the fear of someone judging us harshly or just simply not liking who we truly are. Every person on earth, whether they realize it or not, wants to be loved for who they are. This is ultimately only done by being known by Christ. This kind of love can be further nourished when we surround ourselves with others who have become followers of Jesus. Our friendships will only go as deep as we’re willing to be vulnerable. So many of us will fill our lives with a bounty of people who only know us superficially . Today we are talking about what real community was meant to be all along.
The wise King Solomon (from the Old Testament ) speaks eloquently and says:
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”Proverbs 18:24
A Few Good Friends
Our hearts were never formed to take on a multitude of relationships. We are actually shaped to be truly known by a few who love Christ and love us well. An example of this type of community is Jesus and his twelve disciples. Jesus had an outstretched love and kindness for the marginalized in society.
Christ made no distinction to whom he showed grace:
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; For the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.Romans 10:12
Every disciple was charged with the same mission of leaving their lives for the sake of following Christ and making him known among the nations. The culmination of people brought together showed the brevity of what Christ could do with anyone. Among the group was a frowned upon tax collector, fishermen, a Jewish zealot, and a man who would betray the risen King.
A True Friend
A once random group of individuals (with the exclusion of the two brothers), were now immediately woven together at the seam with every aspect of their lives being exposed to one another for the purposes of “…being conformed to the image of his son” (Romans 8:29). In their midst was someone who would betray their beloved savior moments before he was taken away to die the death that we all deserve.
This was a brother, friend, and a person with whose death would break their hearts. Imagine the type of emotion they felt and experienced while all of this happening. They were living a life with Jesus himself while he performed countless miracles. The living Son of God was constantly teaching them things they could not fully comprehend.
How to Find a Community of Close Friends
What a privilege it is to be called to live in close relationships with others,
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, and all the more as you see the day drawing nearHebrews 10:24-25
What Makes a Real Community
In my own life, scripture has proven to be the path to truth and joy through genuine community. I joined together with five others who deeply love Christ and His Word and have been devoted to me, even through a pandemic. The way I navigate conflict, love others, and share my faith has all been improved through this group. This has all been met with adversity and trials, but the end result has always been worth it. Be enthralled with devoting your lives to one another and seeing the fruit that comes from living in the light.
Here are some reflections to strengthen and encourage you to seek biblical community:
- Who knows you for who you truly are?
- Who is allowed to speak truth to you when needed?
- Are people speaking into your life?
- What is stopping you from seeking this kind of community?
- Pray about this and seek these people ASAP!
Confessing things to people is quite frankly, unnatural. It’s not modeled by society, not emphasized much in the average American church, and rarely talked about within our homes. If you’ve seen the beauty of confession, what a blessing you’ve been given and may you always cherish this gift of grace. But, why even bring up confession? Do we even NEED to do this? The answer is, absolutely! Citing King Solomon once again, he beautifully puts it this way,
whoever conceals their sin does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercyProverbs 28:13
There have been many a times where I thought my sin would cause me to be shunned, shamed, and make me an outcast. In my mind, I had conceived that once I became a Christian I would stop struggling with the things from my past. It just wasn’t true. I felt a weight on my heart that I could not escape no matter how many “good” things I did to make up for my sin. I wanted to confess just to God and avoid the humiliation.
However, James 5:16 seems to disagree with how I would go about things:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and protective.James 5:16
THE GIFT OF CONFESSION
Eventually, I mustered up the courage and confessed my sin of pride, greed, arrogance, and more to my community. And what did they do? They met me where I was, showed me grace, and kept me accountable to live a life devoted to holiness for the sake of Christ. There are no words to accurately describe the joy that I experienced because of the kindness and gentleness they showed to me. We have all been called to this for our joy and his glory.
We confess for the twofold reason of:
- admitting our sinfulness before a righteous and holy God
- for the continuous growth in being made to be more like Christ Jesus
- being healed
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
May you learn to yearn for the gift of confession. Here are some reflections to spur you on.
- Do you confess your sins to others?
- Do you allow others to confess to you?
- Do you see confessing sin as a gift?
Where Can I Find True Friends and Community?
The call to be in community and confess the deepest parts of your life can be a daunting task. Some of you may be asking “where do I even find the people to do this with?” Or “I can’t even imagine doing this with my friends.” These are legitimate and honest questions.
The first thing to evaluate and do is “change your playmates and your playground.” This silly sounding analogy has so much truth. It asks the question of where do you like to hang around and, who do you choose to be a part of your life? Are these people healthy for your soul or challenging you to grow in your faith?
Biblical community requires you and those closest to you to do both of these things. This does not mean to shut out people who are not doing this, but it may mean changing your priorities in who and where you spend your time. We do these things because of a man named Jesus who came down and lived a perfect life, died a sinner’s death, and was raised back to life in three days.
Christ did this so that you may be reconciled back to God because of the sin you, I, and the rest of the world have all committed. Believe in his perfect work, and you will start to see that he is the only thing you needed all your life. May these words bless you and encourage you to live the life God called you to.
I invite you to watch the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU video on this page. You too can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You can be forgiven from all you have ever done wrong and begin a brand new life! The old is. gone and the new has come!