“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20
Heart and Hands | Sean Feucht, Pat Barrett & Amanda Cook
“You won’t give up till every heart is found.” This song was written for the “Peace on Earth” event a couple weeks ago. We are deeply impacted by the Lord’s heart for the refugees in Northern Iraq, and are still raising money to bring a major distribution of necessities to the camps in Mosul.
God didn’t design you to do life on your own. Scripture is filled with exhortations to engage in community with fellow believers. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Psalm 133:1-3 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! . . . For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” And Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says,
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Taking time to invest fully and rightly in community takes both vision and boundaries. Without a sense of God’s heart and leadership into fellowship with believers, we’ll pull back and isolate when problems arise. And without healthy boundaries around community, we can either allow others to take life from us or not make enough space to give rightly of ourselves.
Take a moment to think about the people God has given you. Think about your friends and family. Think about those around you at church you feel close to. What would life be like if you were all alone? What would your hardships have been like if you absolutely had no one to endure them with? God loves to use others as instruments of his healing. He loves to speak life and restoration into his people through the words and actions of those around them.
But to experience healing, life, and restoration from others is to have the courage to call upon others and be vulnerable. To be in community is to be willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus yourself. It’s for that reason that God would have us set healthy, life-giving boundaries for community. If we don’t have any margin in our lives to help meet the needs for others, then we’ve overcommitted ourselves out of a chance to be used by God. And if we don’t make time to simply develop friendships and be loved by others, then we miss an opportunity to receive the love and power of God in a real, unique way.
Whether you find yourself overcommitted with community to the level of running on empty, or under-committed to where you feel like you have to do life on your own, there is grace for you today. Today is a new day in which you can make different, life-altering decisions. Today is a day that you can redraw your boundaries and allow God to pour out his Spirit through community.
Take time in guided prayer to receive God’s heart for your community. Allow him to fill you with courage to be vulnerable and receive life from others. And ask him to help you draw healthy boundaries that you might give of yourself freely to see others experience life and restoration through the power of God poured out in you.
1. Take time to meditate on the importance of community. Allow God to re-envision you for doing life with others.
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! …For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” Psalm 133:1-3
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
2. What’s going on in your life that needs healing and restoration? In what ways would God use others to bring about that healing and restoration? From whom can you seek wisdom? What friend would God use to fill your life with joy?
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16
3. Who in your life would God call you to minister to today? Take time to pray for that person and ask God for his heart. Ask him for wisdom and power to love that person well.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. When God’s people gather together and do life in his name, he is there (Matthew 18:20). Seek to develop community that is both fun and representative of the kingdom. Look for others whom you can bring into the community that God’s given you. Dwelling in unity with your fellow believers is both a powerful picture of God’s heart and a public declaration of his reality and will. May God pour out his Spirit in mighty and powerful ways as you seek to live in God-honoring community.
Extended Reading: Acts 2