It’s all about people. The depth of the things that we say we believe and hold the closest boils down to what we do with people. Our actions will let us know where we are in the maturity of our identity and their reactions will let us know where we are in our grace. The combination will let us know where we are in our relationship with our God.
There is a common condition that many Christians can easily fall into. The trap is one of thinking that it’s about quiet time, Bible reading and attendance. Sometimes, we measure our faith is based in our knowledge.
Jesus made it clear that our love for Him isn’t to become so narrowly focused that it’s removed from humanity. He was asked what the greatest single commandment was and He said that it was to love God with everything you have. He then followed up with a second commandment, even though only one was asked for. The second unsolicited commandment was to love others.
- We know His love by loving others.
- We know the depth of grace we received when we are able to offer grace to others.
- The Kingdom is on display in the lives of people.
- Through people, we see expressions of Jesus and they can see Him through us.
- Relationships provide context and depth to our faith and to what we know from the Bible.
Jesus lived with people as He put His love for us on display. You’ll notice as you read the Gospels that Jesus really wasn’t the guy carrying the lamb around on his shoulders all the time. He was, at different times, direct, dismissive, challenging and tough as He moved through the community. Yet, He was always love. In other words, working out the The True depth of love extends beyond the sappy impressions we have formed through romance stories or Hallmark cards.
Faith in the vacuum of knowledge without community is immature. We need each other to sharpen and grow our faith by exposing our weaknesses. The interaction is what brings out the soulish parts of us that are still alive to self. From those revelations, we have the opportunity to submit us to Him and allow Him to live in us. Without the stimuli of other people, we can sit in a prayer closet believing that we are “there” because we understand something intellectually.
Don’t believe for one minute that you are good with God simply because you pray, read and proclaim. He directs us to engage and that engagement is not something we can opt out of without the expense of not knowing Him as well.