To one degree or another, we become a product of our community. That is, we adopt the values, norms and even behaviors or mannerisms of those people we are surrounded by. We conform, even if it is a little at a time.
Depending on where we root our priorities and how we perceive our identity, we will make different choices on who we are surrounded with and what we do when in or out of their presence. If we are alone in our identity with no kindred and supporting community, then we can lose sight of who we are to begin with.
Identity is individual and community is corporate. They are distinct, yet completely dependant. Without one of the two, the other will become distorted and the impact will be across the board.
There may be times when we have to be disciplined in how we walk out a calling within the context of our identity apart from a community with similar focus. Those times outside the walls are not intended to be forever, however, and the need to associate is constant.
If the community we are in is self-centered and self-serving, the lack of focus beyond ourselves can lack vision purpose for healthy longevity. The community thrives in its service to other communities. We walk in our identity in community which provides resources and encouragement for service beyond ourselves. Community facilitates impact which provides purpose. The purpose strengthens the community and affirms our identity.
When I defend people whose lives are a mess, usually their community is just as much of a mess. They remain in that setting because their vision is limited to their identity only in the context of the only community they know. They are in desperate need for Revelation of their identity to have the vision and courage to step into a Greater community.