One thing that I am being reminded of lately is that we as Christians were meant to live in community with one another. I am for the most part an independent person. I enjoy my alone time, but more and more I am learning that God designed us to live in relationship to each other. We are a ‘community’ of believers.
It is within community that we learn to express the God given attributes of our new nature. The Bible says that we are ‘partakers of His Divine nature’.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 2 Peter 1:3-7
This passage seems to be talking about progressive growth in the Christian life. This growth is brought on in the Christian life by exercising the qualities of our new nature empowered within us by His divine power. We partake of His divine nature. These fruits of the spirit are for us to bear not to produce. God produces them within us. They are not our fruit but His being expressed within the life of a submissive servant of God. The ‘effort’ talked about in this passage is our submission and believe me, that takes a lot of effort.
How do we add to our faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control…love if we isolate from the community? Our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ stretch us. They help us to see the areas of our lives in which a little fine-tuning needs to take place. When we become vulnerable to one another, we sharpen each other.
The key is accountability. Friendships like these need to be taken on carefully. Trust has to be established through time and experiences. It is possible to be vulnerable with the wrong people. Pray that God sends you people who can be such a friend and when He sends you such friends, keep them! They are blessings from God along the journey!
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes 4:10