Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 7 of “Compelled – Living the Value of Authentic Community” (LISTEN HERE).
It stinks to be alone.
It stinks to be with people.
Ok, not always.
Sometimes we need our alone time, especially if your personality is more introverted than extroverted.
We need to be with people because we don’t like being alone all the time, but being with people can be really challenging.
Oh the struggle.
I want community. But I don’t want disunity.
Truth: I don’t like the drama and friction and challenges of relationships. It’s hard. It’s wearisome at times. It’s work.
Truth: I have a tendency to want to distance myself from that relationship rather than put in the work to restore the relationship.
Are you the same?
Stuck between not wanting to be alone, but not wanting to work at relationships?
At some point in our lives, I believe we all go through this.
We want community – God designed us to desire it.
We don’t want disunity, friction, and drama of relationships.
So why is community often disunity?
One word: Sin.
Sin ruined the unity that God brought together in the Garden of Eden. Once sin was in the world, humanity would have a desire for community but sin in their own hearts and the hearts of others would create disunity.
Just look at the response of Adam to God when God sought him out after they ate from the forbidden tree:
Genesis 3:9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
What had sin done?
Created disunity between Adam and God. Adam was never afraid of God before. Now he was. Adam was never ashamed of his nakedness. Now he was. Adam had never experienced guilt before. Now he had. The result? Adam did not want to be around God. He hid. The relationship was strained because of sin.
Not only was the relationship with God strained, sin also strained the relationship of Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit. Eve was no longer the blessing he praised when the Lord presented her to him on day 6. Eve was now the reason that Adam was a sinner. Eve was the reason the relationship was broken.
It was Eve. It was Adam. It was sin and falling for the lies of Satan that strained the once perfect relationship.
This is why relationships can be challenging today. We sin against each other. We get selfish. We blame. We have guilt over things we did or didn’t do. We…you fill in the blank. As a result, relationships, as much as we desire them and are blessed by them, can be challenging, chaotic and full of drama at times.
Yet God is still interested in us enjoying relationship and restoring relationships. So he did two things:
First he sent Jesus to restore unity and community with Him.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
And second, he formed the Church to bring community to each other.
1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.
In Christ, true community with our heavenly Father is secure. In his Church, we are invited to make every effort to establish and maintain authentic community. We will explore this more the rest of the week!
Apply: What relationship recently has been strained? As you evaluate it, what sin is involved…by you, the other person…or both? How can Christ’s grace and forgiveness be applied to unify what is disunified?
Prayer: Lord God, we praise you for the unity you have established between us and you through Jesus. This was impossible for us to do, but in your grace you did it for you. Let this gift of unity be used by us to create and maintain genuine community in your Church. AMEN.