Many people have different ideas of what good community is. A “good friend” can be many things depending on what your morals are based on. We see what good community looks like all through scripture from people like David and Solomon, to Paul and Timothy, to Jesus and the disciples. The writers of scripture deeply stress the value of good community among believers because they understand being a Christian in a dark sinful world is not easy and can not be done alone. I like to think of the influences we should keep as Christians as not only to be “good community”, but “godly community”.
Why is “godly community” important for believers? Our goal as Jesus followers should be a consistent pursuit to live lives that reflect Jesus. Just like anything in life, reaching a goal takes more than desire. It takes discipline, effort, time, and COMMUNITY. If your goal is to be a doctor, spending time with other doctors or people pursuing the same thing would be a wise choice. If you want to be a professional basketball player, you would want to seek out other basketball players and coaches that will help improve your skills to reach that goal. It goes the same for our walk with the Lord. In order to reach the goal of being like Christ, we must pursue friendships that point us to Him. According to scripture, anyone who encourages you to seek the Lord is a good friend. Proverbs 13:20 tells us, “walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”(NIV) Wisdom is something that is God-given. The more time we spend with God, and with those who reflect the person of God, the wiser we will become. This does not apply solely to friendships, but also dating relationships as well as marriage. Now, I am not married, so I may not be able to give you tips on having a healthy marriage, but I do know scripture is clear about whom God desires us to pursue. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14, ESV) In Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth he brings this topic to surface because it was a serious problem. The church was being broken apart by the peoples desire for unhealthy relationships with non believers and the pursuit of those who were not honoring God with their lives. If we are not careful with the company we keep, we will find ourselves buried in guilt, shame, and regret. Why? Because we are human; we can only say no to a sinful desire for so long before we find ourselves enslaved by temptation. On our own we cannot beat temptation. I can speak from personal experience. I was not always the person you may think I am from reading this blog. Not too long ago I found myself with a crowd who wanted to claim to be Christians to look good, but would rather lead lives that portrayed the complete opposite to feel good. Being raised in a Christian home, I knew my company was not healthy. I knew they were not people that desired to lead me to righteousness, but I didn’t care because caring about my walk with Christ was lame to them. Therefore, it became lame to me as well. I started making the choices they did, and saying what they said. Thankfully enough, when I was drowning in guilt, shame, and blinded by my own darkness, God pulled me out. I spent a lot of time in prayer, and the Lord lead me to people who would play a huge role in the life I now live today. I am not perfect by any means, but because of the new found influences that I choose to keep, I consistently feel God’s presence in my life- even in the trials. Never underestimate the influence of the people you have allowed in your life.
Steps Towards Finding Godly Community:
- Pray (pray that God changes your desire and directs you to those who honor Him)
- Read Scripture (find scripture that relates to your situation and study God’s words)
- Go and Seek (seek friendships that honor Chris. Make an effort to spend time with people that glorify Him)