Surprisingly, I have met a lot of Christians who are members of a church yet they are not really mingling along with their fellow church members. Some of them have been a member for quiet a number of years yet they keep a good distance getting involved socially with the church, even in fellowship.
When I have asked them as to the reasons why, they have almost unanimously replied that it is because they don’t feel the need to, or because that they are somewhat of an anti-social and therefore wish to be only partially involved up to the point that they feel comfortable.
I mean I totally understand where they are coming from to some extent, but in the bible, it is pretty clear that God wants us to be deeply involved in our Christian communities, to the point where Jesus would say: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” – John Chapter 13, verse 35.
Indeed, one way this love manifested in the early church was through the gatherings of Christian community and their deep involvement with one another. After all the reality is that there are limitations in showing love to one another when you are distancing yourself socially from them, regardless how much you are secretly praying for them in your private prayer life.
God always intends good for us. There are obvious reasons why he willed for Christian communities. Here are two patently obvious benefits to Christian communities.
The world, Satan and our own sinful flesh constantly lures us and endeavours to slowly drift us away from God. Once we have slipped into sinning and have been through countless spiritual defeats in temptations, we are prone to hiding ourselves from our Christian communities due to the shame we feel because of our defeat.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” – James Chapter 5, verse 16.
James says that one of the ways that you can get a spiritual healing from your defeat of sins is confessing your sins and praying for one another. Locking yourself into a fellowship environment allows you more opportunities to keep each other accountable and allows for such spiritual dependence upon one another which God has designed for our good.
Having someone that you can fully trust and talking about your life and your relationship with God, your failures and your temptations can be very strengthening and it even humbles you as through such confessions you are accepting that you are weak and you are asking for help of another to pull you through such hardship.
Communities brings us into a place of grace
Simply by being with a bunch of Christians and hanging out with them can edify us and help us in our Christian walk.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad Company ruins good morals.’” – 1 Corinthians Chapter 15, verse 33
“Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined” – Proverbs Chapter 13, verse 20.
In fact, there are so much verses like these (especially in Proverbs) that I can get a long list for you if I wanted. The point of these verses are not fundamental and aren’t suggesting you to live a secluded life from the rest of society, but it is simply saying that by being with and relating yourself to other faithful Christians, you will walk better in your Christian life as you become less tainted by the world’s lies and temptations that they have to offer.
Being innocent of evil while being excellent in good (Romans Chapter 16, verse 19) helps protect your heart from being corrupt, and indeed protecting your heart is important as everything that you do (your actions, deeds, thoughts) flows from it, determining the course of your life (Proverbs Chapter 4, verse 23).
Richard Kwon is from Auckland, a regular lay person who just loves the Lord.