These days, creating a sense of community is pretty hard. Everyone’s so busy and so tired! There are lots of really lonely people around. Yet God has a plan for His family – and that plan is called church.
Sadly, a lot of people attend church with the right intentions – to worship God, to hear His Word proclaimed, and to be a part of the family. But they don’t ever experience that place where they love and are loved, they support and are supported, they care and are cared for.
So what is church supposed to look like? It’s all there in Psalm 92: 12–15:
The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
The plan for us is that we should be trees, planted in the house of the Lord, growing and supporting one another in community.
So in this little series, we’re going to look at two key factors that impede our sense of community. Together we'll name them and remove them, so we can flourish just as God intends.
The first barrier is one of commitment.
Just as a relationship between two people matures - moving from a casual association to a deeper relationship of commitment - so God desires us to move the same way in our love for the church. So why do some people resist this idea of commitment?
The problem is that many of us don’t want to be trees in the house of the Lord. We’d rather be ‘pot plant’ Christians, in our own little space. We say, “Well, I’m a Christian but I don’t need those other Christians. In my pot I’ll be protected. I won’t be hurt. I won’t be disillusioned. I’ll just keep to myself.”
But when you put yourself in a pot instead of being planted in God’s house, you dry out or blow over in the wind. A potted plant has little room to grow and can't handle severe 'weather', so ultimately it will die.
So, are you planted in the right place? Now that’s a question worth exploring.