Day 12 | Community As Protection

This past Sunday, I remember hearing Pastor Brett (aka Sarge) say that he has this predominant need to be around people. As I heard that, I remembered thinking to myself, “I am on the complete opposite side of that spectrum!” Now I am not anti-social. I love being around people, but like a typical introvert, I have to balance that time with significant time alone.  
Even as a kid, I was totally content playing by myself. I would spend hours outside all alone, accompanied by only my imagination. As I have grown older, that playtime was replaced by various outdoor activities. But one constant remains, I need significant time alone.  

However, being an introverted pastor has always created tension for me in Christian circles, especially when the discussion of faith-based community would arise. You see, I know it is important. I see the value in it. I can even make a compelling biblical and practical argument for it. But I must confess, community has never been a huge need or priority for me personally. It’s just not my natural bent. So for years, I have wrestled with this topic until I discovered this one important benefit of living in Christ-centered community … protection!

When you look at the animal kingdom, the different names for groups of animals are fascinating. We are all familiar with terms like “flocks” or “herds”, but there are many different names used for animals. For instance, a group of lions is called a “pride”. A group of whales is called a “pod”. A group of crows is called a “murder”. A group of rhinos is called a “crash”. And my favorite … a group of buzzards is called a “committee”. But with all the different names, one of the primary reasons animals live in groups is for protection against predators.

1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Whatever you choose to call a group of Christians, one of the main reasons why we were never meant to go through life alone is for our protection. Predators know that if they can isolate an individual from the group, then it is just a matter of time before that individual falls victim. In the same way, when we are isolated from the body of Christ, we become vulnerable to the enemy.

Although living in community is not my natural bent, I realize that I need people in my life that I know and trust. People who love me and who first and foremost love God. People who have permission to speak into my life when they see a concern. People who can point out my blind spots or weaknesses. They do this not out of spite, but to protect me from bad decisions, destructive behaviors, or harmful habits. I have a community of people who want what is best for me, and who want to see me moving in the right direction. Those people are incredibly valuable and necessary to me.

James 5:19-20 says,  “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”  

Galatians 6:1-2 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Do you find yourself alone? Are you spiritually vulnerable? Are there people in your life who know you, love you, and love God? Finally, have you given those people permission to speak into your life? If not, search it out! Don’t give up until you have that Christ-centered community. It will be vital to your life, as it is mine.

Pastor Greg
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