One of the buzzwords in the church today is community. And why wouldn’t it be? Who doesn’t love the idea of belonging to a group, having friends, and just doing life together? It seems to be only full of positives! Yet community will continue to only be a buzzword unless people learn to truly submit to one another in the name of Christ. Especially when it comes to discernment.
In my own life there have been areas where I literally felt like God was telling me two different things. One day it seemed as if God was pulling me in one direction, and the next, the complete opposite. Was I going crazy? Does God constantly change His mind? What I’ve come to realize is that usually when I am emotionally invested in something, it is hard to be objective and to even hear from God without my own filter. This is where community is crucial.
Proverbs (11:14, 15:22) emphasizes how in the multitude of counsel there is wisdom. Wisdom seeks out others. Pride says “I know better” and if it’s something personal, who would know better than me, right? Yet humility is being able to present something to others not just for prayer, not just for feedback, but for discernment as well. I’m all for hearing from God and being led by God no matter what popular opinion might be. I’m all for seeking God until you get an answer, but the truth is I don’t have a monopoly on hearing from Him. I need others to correct me, encourage me, affirm me in what I am hearing from Him, and to also show me my blindsides. Only then can I really discern and only then can I clearly hear from heaven.
I encounter countless number of people who stay in unhealthy relationships or situations because of what they feel like God is saying without submitting it to community for their honest feedback. Truthfully it’s because most people don’t want to hear what they need to hear. If everyone else says “no”, but I feel like “yes”, it’s a clear sign for me to go back to the Lord. Wouldn’t it be foolish for me to take an opportunity because of what I feel like God is telling me even though no one seems to affirm that? So in those moments do I really value community or do I not?
True community is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. There will be times in my life and areas of my life where I can’t seem to see or hear God. But by submitting myself to my community, they act as my eyes and my ears out of love. Discernment was not meant to be a burden to carry alone, but a community effort. We need the Holy Spirit to discern, we need the Bible to discern, and we need others to discern. If you are in need of discernment don’t just look to God, but also to God in others. To trust people like this will take time and it will take risk. And honestly they won’t know all the right answers either, but only be being vulnerable do we experience intimacy the way God intended. I believe one way we trust God is when we rely on the body of Christ to truly be the body. And that’s the type of community worth belonging to.