You sometimes read of people who have so many and such serious allergies that they have to live in a bubble in order to survive. Sometimes we in modern western culture end up putting a bubble around ourselves, not physically but emotionally, to protect ourselves from being hurt. How can we break out of the bubble and achieve real community? In this, I am a bad one to talk. Growing up, I was always the kid curled up in the corner with a book rather than going out to play with other kids. Now I’m sitting in front of a computer writing a blog. But let’s look at what Scripture has to say on the subject.
I am convinced that the best way to bring about a change in behavior is to start with a change of mindset (Romans 12:1, 2). In this, I believe that the first thing we need to recognize is that believers are all part of the same body (Romans 12:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-24). We are to see ourselves, not as independent, self-sufficient individuals but as those who are part of a larger whole, who are to build each other up (Ephesians 4:15, 16), grow up together in Christ (Colossians 2:19), and sympathize with each other’s joy and sorrows (1 Corinthians 12:25, 26). Therefore, if we see ourselves as part of a vast organism that not only goes beyond ourselves but even beyond our congregation and transcends time and space, we are less likely to hide in our own little world.
Also, not only are we a body, but we are an army to fight evil and accomplish God’s purposes in the world (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:10-13). This is important because, if we just focus on our own community without a higher purpose, we can become self-serving, looking primarily to have our own needs met. We are the servants of the true King (Philippians 2:9-11), and it is our job to work together to oppose the usurper (2 Corinthians 4:4) until the true King returns in power (2 Peter 3:10-12). As such, we are not to see ourselves as those who should live our own lives our own way, but as those who should be fighting together for a higher cause. And our community should arise out of that.
I am not saying we should not take action and that if we just sit around and meditate on the body of Christ, everything will just happen automatically. Be I have found that action without the right mindset soon dwindles away. And God has not left us to accomplish this alone but has sent His Spirit to work within us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13) that we might trust in Him to overcome our fears (Which of us has never been hurt before?) and to create the community God wants us to have. And that we may grow toward being of one mind (Acts 2:46) and one heart and soul (Acts 4:32), that we may have the unity God requires us to have (Philippians 2:1, 2).