Where Does the Bible Talk about Living in Community?
Community can bring out the best God has placed in us. “In the Bible, God encourages us to take care of our brothers and sisters - whether friends or enemies!” Bible Study Tools explains. “We must remember the importance of maintaining the connection with each other and focusing on building a community of love in word and actions.” The apostle John wrote:
“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
It’s difficult to see in the dark. Things are concealed, hidden, and unclear. Scripture assures us we are children of the day. “John has made it clear that his purpose is to bring his readers into fellowship with God and with other believers,” the New Bible Commentary explains. “He proceeds to deduce from the nature of God the conditions of fellowship.”
Time alone to connect with God feeds our souls exponentially, but so does standing in worship with others to sing His praise; or coming together to study His Word together. Matthew wrote, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). We were created to be in fellowship with each other, and God. Peter’s divinely inspired words remind us who, and Whose we are:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
When we remember who we are, we realize we are not alone. Not only is the Holy Spirit in us, but we have fellowship with others in our “royal priesthood!” We have community to walk through everyday life with us: whether it’s in mourning, celebrating, or seeking Christ together. “Rejoice with those who rejoice;” Paul wrote to the Romans, “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
The way we were designed to live in community reflects the forgiveness, love, and acceptance God shows to us. He meets us where we are at. We are always forgiven, and never loved less. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone,” Paul wrote to the Colossians.” Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13).
We are called to pay God’s love forward in our communities. “Carry each other’s burdens,” Paul wrote to the Galatians, “and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2). The author of Hebrews advised:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
It’s important to be in the Word and prayerfully acknowledging the discernment of the Spirit daily, so as not to follow foolish advice. When we lack the discipline to come close to God, we lose our ability to hear and see things through His perspective. Nehemiah 9:17-18 reads:
“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies."
God’s people never intentionally strayed from Him. They were forgetful and wayward, as are we. David Mathis wrote, “Not only will love and harmony in our congregations help win the lost; they will help keep the found.” It doesn’t take much to distract us. We cannot outrun sin in this world. But we can create a discipline of remembering who God is, Whose we are. We can choose to carve out time in our daily schedules, create permanent tracks in our mind and spaces in our hearts for His Truth to serve as our compass and rock-solid foundation. Then, we can operate within the community He has faithfully placed us in, the way He has designed us to function in it.
Click here to read more verses about living in community.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Alessandro Biascioli