I once read that the Bible was a communal book. I like the sound of that. Perhaps that’s because I’m not all that relational but understand the importance of living in community. The Bible encourages believers to live peacefully and in unity through the power of love and to avoid quarreling and being disagreeable.
But living in community doesn’t mean living in little Christian ghettos with only Christians and always doing what the “community” thinks is best. We are to be in the world but not of the world. Jesus was continually criticized, hated and eventually killed for not doing what people expected him to do.
What does all this mean? What should our community lives look like? I personally believe we Christians have sometimes mistaken conformity/uniformity for community. We shouldn’t confuse one for the other. Somehow, just as God made all the snowflakes to look different yet meshed together so beautifully so also He made each person uniquely different and our goal is to likewise mesh together in a way that utilizes our individual gifted-ness to benefit the community and to glorify God. Perhaps love, forgiveness and grace rather than critiquing, criticizing and selfishness are some of the keys to living in Christ honoring communities.
The battle for our souls is fought between our ears and it’s taken me an awful long time to understand that. For example, Francis Schaeffer said that the 10th commandment, thou shalt not covet, is not the last commandant because it’s the least important, but because we break it before we break all the other nine commandments. In that sense it’s foundational. For example, before you steal, you covet the item to be stolen. Or, before you commit adultery, you covet the person you commit adultery with. We think before we act.
God’s word commands us to renew our minds meaning we need to fill them with Godly information so that when confronted with a situation requiring a decision and/or action, we naturally react Biblically rather than carnally. Many of my mistakes are made when I simply react, without thinking, to any given situation. Many of those reactions were from the old Mason, not the new Mason. Our minds as well as our hearts are changed when we are saved and it’s this renewing of the mind with Biblical wisdom that allows us to react to situations in a Biblical manner. Garbage in, garbage out; Godly wisdom in, Godly actions out.
And the results of living as Christians ought to live, “and The Lord added to them day by day those that were saved”, Acts 2: 47.