We cannot mature in our faith without community. We simply cannot. The process of maturing isn’t simple, isn’t smooth. It’s one of getting off track and getting on again--again and again. We need help with that. We’re designed to be together. We’re built to need each other. To “grow up healthy in God, robust in love” we need community (Ephesians 4:14-16 MSG).
To help, though, our communities must actually be capable of picking us up and getting us on track, and encouraging us on. Our communities must be places where we’re willing to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Speaking that way requires moving beyond simply being polite to one another--and ever ignoring or excusing sin. It also requires moving beyond just pointing out sin or shortcomings or what bothers us or what we think might bother God.
Speaking the truth in love doesn’t require us to call each other out. It requires us to call each other in--into true identity. It requires us to call each other away from sin (e.g., “you don’t need to do that anymore . . .”) and into the identities God had in mind when he designed us, built us, and set us in motion (“. . . because this is who you really are”).
Okay, so what do we do?
Do you have a sense for the true identities of your brothers in community? Get serious about learning. Get intentional about allowing God to show you. When you meet next, have each man bring a favorite story or verse from Scripture. Read them. Talk about them. They’ll point to something true. If a man loves the story of Caleb, for example, it’s likely he’s designed and built to be brave and bold and faithful like Caleb. And his community must help him do just that.
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