I wouldn’t guess most of us would argue with the fact that we are supposed to be committed to other Christians.
It’s difficult to read the New Testament and miss the emphasis the writers place on sacrificing and loving other believers. Just sit down for a couple minutes and start flipping through and you’ll see it everywhere.
Romans 12:10-13, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ…”
Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others…”
John 15:12,13, “This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.”
And you know, all that, it is beautiful. Even most unbelievers have a longing for something like that, for community…that’s why you have motorcycle clubs, flower clubs, whatever clubs, people are longing for real relationships. We’re made that way. All the talk in the Bible about loving each other, the kind of fellowship and commitment that we are supposed to have one another, it sounds great in theory.
But the honest truth (and I know that’s what you want because really, who wants dishonest truth?) the honest truth is, that it is very difficult in practice.
For one thing it requires effort. There’s no getting around it. Relationships take time. I guess there might be some relationships where you just click right away but there aren’t a whole lot of relationships like that, most relationships grow with time and many of us don’t have much of that to go around.
For another thing though, people are pretty messed up – even Christians. There’s no need, I don’t think to get cynical and be like everybody is this big mess but if you spend time with even the nicest of people, you’re going to find some stuff you don’t like.
In fact, that’s almost a natural part of a deepening relationship. We meet a couple that’s just dating or courting or whatever you want to call it and they are like oh this other person is so perfect, I can’t find anything wrong with him and you are like lovingly I hope, but you are like, just wait – it’s a matter of time. I don’t think that’s pessimistic. It’s just realistic. As a relationship deepens you find out more, and some of what you find out can’t help but be not all taht good because there’s not one of us who can claim constant one hundred percent perfection in the innermost depth of our souls.
If we keep things at a semi-distant level in our relationships with other Christians we may be able to at least keep up illusions; but the deeper you go the more sure it is taht you are at least at some level going to be, disappointed. There’s going to be a lot of joy, don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to minimize that, I’m just trying to be real about what it takes to be committed to other Christians – it’s not always easy, it can be hard.
I feel like even with all the Scripture says about the importance of being committed to other Christians, a whole lot of us could give a whole lot of reasons not to.
That’s why I want to give you one big compelling reason why you should be one hundred percent committed to the church in spite of all that:
I don’t want to guilt you into commitment to other Christians, (though I suppose there might be a place for that) but I want to excite you into commitment to other Christians in the next few posts by looking at Jesus’ commitment to the church.