At the end of the day, after all is said and done, what does God require of us, His people.
We read in Mark 12 v 30 Commandments: that we love God, that we love our neighbour; and in John 13 v 34 he details how that should be.
Interesting: New Testament under grace but not law, and yet there are clear commandments. Difference with the New Covenant is that each time we choose to be obedient He grants us the supernatural power to enable us to actually live differently, i.e. supernaturally.
God has even designed how we could represent Him when He said “all men will know that you are My disciples when you love one another”. So clearly the primary representation should be a group of people loving one another. Today God looks for such people that make an accurate representation of what He is really like in this world. Breaking out of the traditions and form of religion into the reality of real relationship.
How do you do that? What would it look like?
Surely it is not a plan or a system. It must be a real connection which requires elements of personal openness and vulnerability. But then there’s a problem; because surely you never really open up and make yourself vulnerable to someone unless you know that they are essentially for you, on your side, looking after your interests. So I guess this is where the faith factor comes in. The willingness to risk all in favour of pleasing God, of stepping out, being open, real, honest, yes vulnerable, with the chance that you may be taken advantage of but nevertheless seeking to do what God requires.
I often see it as the difference between connections between pool balls and jigsaw puzzle. The pool balls hard, smooth, bounce off one another; the jigsaw has indentations and protrusions which fit together to make up the whole.
So if we are to have this open hearted, genuine relationship where real thoughts and feelings are shared, it needs time; it needs a particular structure; it goes beyond meetings.
Here we are looking at something which is pleasing to God, so pseudo-community where little lies, compromise, competition, creeping in order to keep an outward view of unity would really not suffice. Even more than words, actions would be required, more along the lines of what we read in Matthew 25 “if I was hungry and you gave me more meat”, which is further emphasised in the Book of James.
Galatians 5 v 13 speaks of true love serving each other. This requires (a) we’re close enough to know (never just assume), (b) love enough to care, (c) willing to sacrifice to pay the price to take action.
Clearly meetings with which we are familiar serve a purpose, but not this purpose.
- Are you needing to break out of the limitations of the traditional and popular requirement often seen as church?
- What would be different if you became more a doer than a hearer of the word?
- What changes, both personal and church, would need to take place?
- What price would need to be paid in order to achieve this?
- What would God’s current commentary be regarding your position?
Let’s remember this is a command, not an option or a suggestion from God. God is Himself essentially community: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I don’t believe that we can express God without community, that we can’t show a genuine and accurate reflection of Him in this world without meaningful living relationship. I am sure there are different forms of expression, but one thing I do know whatever it is if it is not from a heart of love there is frankly no point in it. It can look good, but it is not God.