This past weekend I had the opportunity to share my testimony with some women from our local church. As I began to seek the Lord and ask him for direction on what he would have me share he led me to this scripture:
The moment I read this scripture I knew exactly what I was to speak on. If you read the entire passage in chapter 4, you see John outlining the importance of loving one another. He gives us an example of God's love by sharing how God sacrificed his only son. Those two words kept ringing in my head LOVE and SACRIFICE. That is exactly what I was to talk about. Love and sacrifice.
In almost every conversation I’ve had throughout the recent years, the term community has come up. I see women of all ages and all ethnicities craving two things: more of Jesus and deep community. I believe the desire to be in community is something God places inside of us. This longing to be in fellowship is something of the Lord. It's a beautiful thing that He uses to not only bring us joy and fullness but to help refine us. Jeremiah Johnson says, “When you find your community, you find your destiny.” So, then there is the question. Why are so many people void of community? I truly feel that we all have good intentions, but we lack the understanding of how to build honest and deep community. When I read this scripture earlier, I knew there was a key, because I had seen this same key in my own life. The key is SACRIFICE IS AN EXPRESSION OF LOVE. There have been many times in my life where the Lord has asked me to put my own feelings, my own desires, my own finances, and my own time aside, in an act to lay my life down for a friend. In those moments, I had the choice to serve my own will and my own flesh or crucify my flesh and be obedient to the father even when the person did not deserve it.
When we look at this scripture, we see that God sacrificed his only son even when we (his children) did not earn it, nor deserve it. This is the key that is missing in our culture today and why I believe so many people are still searching for their community. We must realize there is an invitation to deeper community, but to receive that deeper community we must first understand and operate in sacrificial love. To build lifelong community isn't about what you can do for me, it's about how I can serve you, unto Christ. We must take the focus off of ourselves and actually obey scripture.
When we are building lasting community, we must look beyond the natural and into the supernatural. We must invest in people, as if we are investing in the kingdom. This requires us to not be afraid of being vulnerable and to cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit where he can lead us to the people, HE wants us to connect to. If you are in search of your community, go before the Lord and say this, “Connect me only with the people you desire to be a part of my life.” There is an invitation to go deeper in relationship, but it requires sacrificial love. Let’s begin to ask ourselves the question are we willing to give sacrificially to build community?