Can you believe in(RL) starts this today? If you haven't registered yet there's still time to join this free women's conference that happens via meetups in communities all over the world. In honor of in(RL) I'm featuring a series of guest posts from some of my real life friends this week. Enjoy!
God in His very nature is triune - One who always has and always will exist in community. Being made in His image we live for this same purpose. First, for fellowship with the Lord. Second, for relationship with oth
But in our fallen world, community is often painful and hard. People get hurt - suffer.
Though there is a time to withdraw in order to recharge, grieve, or just because there are some paths we will need to navigate alone (as seen by Jesus on the cross), it is always for the purpose of living life together. This giving opportunity to live not for ourselves, but for others. To be spilled out even as He Himself was spilled out.
Real community isn’t possible without humility.
And humility isn’t outward, it’s inward - in the secret places of the heart where no one dare go. Where we don’t even dare to go, because the sinful nature knows nothing of this attribute.
Jesus showed the ultimate example of meekness in His death, revealing God’s heart for the redemption of broken community. This being the story woven throughout all of Scripture, teaching us how to live in relationship with God and in relationship with others.
And though there are many examples of humility in the Bible, I can’t help thinking about David on the run from Saul. In 1 Samuel 20, he confronts Saul’s son Jonathan in secret, asking what he’d done deserving of death. Jonathan is stunned. He’d been told by his father, “As the Lord lives, he (David) shall not be put to death,” (I Samuel 19:6).
But Saul had changed his mind and David is able to convince Jonathan to test Saul’s loyalty. When the truth of Saul’s hatred finally comes out, David must accept this as an assignment from God.
I love the example of both Jonathan and David in this chapter, because Saul had demonstrated enough inconsistent character for Jonathan to be suspicious, but Jonathan still trusted. This seeming naive, but really showing humility.
On the other hand, David could’ve rallied against Saul, seeking retaliation, but he also chose to trust. Both men believing in an all-powerful, almighty God, leaving Saul in His hands, never lifting a finger against him. For the next twenty years, David lived in hiding, proving his love for an undeserving man. A king meriting disloyalty. And Jonathan awaited the day that his friend would take his place on the throne, leading the kingdom that was lawfully his own.
I wonder if David and Jonathan show us something very significant about how to live in community. I wonder if we’ve ever been suspicious? Maybe, like Jonathan, we’ve had plenty of evidence about the wrongdoing of a person, but their words have expressed otherwise. Or maybe, like David, it’s been proven that a person is against us, and we’ve been tempted to take matters in our own hands?
When we look at the purpose of God for our lives, when we remember that we were made to be spilled out, not to defend or seek our own, but to pursue the interests of others, then don’t we give up the right of suspicion and the right to cast judgment?
Can we be like David, accepting our life as an assignment from God - even the wounds? Can we can trust His good purposes and allow Him to work His will in others? Can we pray for the one who hurt us? Can we ask for God’s kindness and blessing on them, following the footsteps of Jesus, putting on love?
Alan Redpath has said, “A throne is God’s purpose for you; a cross is God’s path for you; faith is God’s plan for you.”
Herein lies the purpose of real life community and herein lies the redemption of its brokenness:
All of it resulting in joy, because for this we have been created. And by this we are being shaped into the very likeness of God.
I met Jacqui at Allume and truly believe she is a blessing from God. She is a wife and stay at home mama. She started her blog to share what God’s teaching her- how He’s changing her. It seems that most days she's a little messy and broken. (Aren't we all?) This is where she's finding petals of grace. Beauty from ashes. Join her at Faith and Simplicity.