Let’s face it. Westerners are very individualistic – as people and as Christians. The problem is that the three persons of God we follow are not individualistic. They are very much dependent on each other.
For example, God the Father planned salvation, Jesus the Son was the one who paid for that salvation, and the Holy Spirit gave Jesus the power to carry it out and resurrected him from the dead.
There is no such concept of one person having it all in the mind of God. Christianity has always been designed to live out in community.
What do I mean by the word community? Community is a small group of people 3-5 that you do life with, trust, and are vulnerable with.
The individual Western Christian mindset started in the Reformation, grew during the Enlightenment, and became a way of life over the last several hundred years. This mindset is an earthly mindset and not a heavenly mindset. Other cultures, especially Asian, do not have a problem realizing they are part of a bigger group. One of the challenges of being a Christian in the West is getting rid of this individualistic attitude and learning to become a part of a community. If we don’t we miss out on many of the benefits and responsibilities of being a Christian in God’s kingdom.
What happens when I am in community? Strength! When you are around others who you are in relationship with it gives you encouragement, which gives you strength to keep going! There are many times it is hard to encourage yourself!
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
God does encourage us but He often limits himself doing this through others. It’s not that you will fail without community but it takes longer to get to the same place. God has set up mankind to get some of the encouragement you need from others and not just Him. That is why he has given us this verse.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another –and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:25
Today I want you to think about who you are in community with? Is there a small group of people around you that you can be yourself, transparent with, and be an encouragement to them? If not, ask God to lead you to that group. He has that group for you somewhere. Be expectant and keep your eyes open!