. The isolated, separated, loner, Jesus-and-me religion that often marks modern church culture is not the religion that is described in the New Testament. Many of us live virtually unknown, and many of the people whom we think we know we don’t actually know.
Many of us live in endless networks of terminally casual relationships, in which conversations seldom go deeper than weather, food, politics, the coolest movie that’s out, or the latest cute thing your child did. Most of what we call fellowship never really rises to the level of the humble self-disclosure and mutual ministry that make fellowship actually redemptively worthwhile. Most of what we call fellowship is little different from what happens at the pub down the street. We should just call it “pubship” and tell people that they don’t have to worry, there will be little fellowship at the church dinner.
Hebrews 3:12–13 addresses the essentiality of community to the work that God has done and is continuing to do in you and me: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Daily Intervention of the Body of Christ
Why do I need the daily intervention of the body of Christ? The answer is as simple as it is humbling. I need this daily ministry because I am a blind man. As much as I would like to think that I see and know myself well, it just isn’t true.
Because sin blinds me to me, as long as there is still sin inside me there will be pockets of blindness in my view of me. It’s actually more serious than what I have just described, because whereas every physically blind person knows that he is blind, spiritually blind people are blind to their blindness; they actually think that they see, when in fact they don’t.
What about you? Have you embraced your daily need for the help of the body of Christ? Who knows you? Whom have you invited to intrude into your private space to function for you as an instrument of seeing? Do you have a name in mind right now? When someone who knows you points out a sin, a weakness, or a failure, are you thankful?
Or do you feel your chest tighten and your ears get red as you silently prepare yourself to rise to your own defense? Are you skilled at giving nonanswers to personal questions, or do you run toward the daily help that God has provided? That help is not something to be afraid of or shy away from, because it is a tool of God’s forgiving, rescuing, transforming, and delivering grace.