Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. | Proverbs 27:17
Yes, we’re still talking about community. And yes, it really is that important. Christian community is a blessing of divine proportions. We find so much joy, so much peace in being around others who love our Jesus too! But sometimes there’s a huge disparity between what we call “Christian community” and what actually is “Christian community.” And sometimes, this disparity takes us by surprise, sometimes it blindsides us, sometimes we don’t realize it’s there. Thus, we must learn to assess our Christian community along with our role, our contributions to it.
I was recently introduced to the term “FOMO” by my little sister and her college friends. Believe me when I say this: I felt super old for not being up to date with the latest lingo. But for any of you oldies who also don’t know this term, it means “Fear Of Missing Out.”
FOMO. It’s probably the most common reason “Christian community” does non-Christian things. We’re scared we’re missing out on some great experience, some new and special kind of fun. Our FOMO perpetuates our lackadaisical approach to Christian life. FOMO perpetuates the ill repute of Christians as hypocrites. FOMO perpetuates the compromising, the bargaining, the “happy mediums,” the “middle ground,” the fear of being too radical, the fear of being labeled “religious” or “extreme.” FOMO perpetuates the blurred lines and results in the crossed lines.
But that’s not the worst side effect of FOMO. No, the most consequential, the most lasting, the most terrible side effect of FOMO is this: Those who don’t know Christ are pulled further from Him or completely turn away from Him because of the careless, selfish, worldly choices of so-called Christians.
Our hypocrisy, our justification of our own sinful actions, our “everything is permissible” attitude is ACTUALLY not attractive to the world. It’s only attractive to us because it makes us feel better about doing the things we know we shouldn’t. When we live like this, one of two things happens: We cause people to turn away from the Lord altogether, or we confuse the heck out of them.
Does your “Christian community” look like Christ? No, REALLY. If Jesus was hanging out with you and your friends, would HE go where you go? Would HE say what you say? Would HE think how you think? Would HE dress like you dress? Would HE react how you react? Would HE sing and dance along to whatever/however you do? If HE wouldn’t, then why would you?
Are your “Christian” friends pointing you TO Christ or are they just holding your hand as y’all compromise the faith together? Let’s turn the tables: Ask that same question of yourself. What’s your contribution here? Because you definitely have one.
I’m being painfully blunt here… And I’m not going to apologize for it. Because I wish someone had said these things to me before I had gotten myself in so deep. I wish someone had told me these things before I had been blindsided by my pseudo-Christian friends and my pseudo-Christian life.
Real Christian community, real godly fellowship talks like Christ, interacts like Christ, looks like Christ, lives like Christ. All the time. Real Christian community refuses to blur the lines but lovingly admonishes, lovingly encourages, lovingly exhorts when lines do get crossed.
Birds of a feather flock together. Just because your flock says they’re like you, doesn’t mean they are. Some birds are really skilled at camouflaging themselves… and you know what? You may be one of them. If you aren’t careful, if you aren’t wise, then before you know it…. monkey see, monkey do.
So who are you flocking with? Real Jesus-lovers or just some bandwagoning fans? Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another. What are you being sharpened for, fashioned into? Are you sharpening others with the Word of God for this spiritual battle we’re constantly fighting? Or are you blunting their edges, encouraging them to blur the lines? The Corinthians fell for the lie that “everything is permissible.” Paul exhorts them (and us) with these words:
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. | 1 Corinthians 10:23
In your “Christian community” what things have you (as an individual or as a group) let slide? For what have you “looked the other way?” For you and your community, is honoring the Word of God top priority? What if it means the rest of the world thinks y’all are weird? What if everyone else pities y’all for all the excitement you’re missing out on? What if it means you don’t get to do what you want? What if it means you have to sacrifice the things that maybe aren’t “evil,” per se, but are kinda confusing for nonbelievers? Are you willing to lay those things aside for the glory of His name? Are you willing to risk missing out on “fun” for the assurance that you’re not missing out on eternal reward?