Not a few Believers think their life is about them. Well it’s not. Not in the first instance and probably not in the second or third. They can have a lot to say about community. But for them community is mainly about them being in a group that ‘meets their needs.’
When we think our life is mainly about us the first thing we try to do when we get into a house church is ‘START AGAIN’ and be un-encumbered by those WITHOUT our ideas. So we seize the opportunity to carry out OUR AGENDA. But what if our agenda is founded in making ourselves worthy? What if we are trying to undo the imagined separation between God and ourselves? What if we live under the self-imposed burden of paying Jesus back for his cross? What if our whole concept of community is founded on a distortion of who God is, what He has done and who we are as a result? What if we are striving to undo the separation between Father and ourselves that has already been undone? This will have a profound effect on what we see as ‘church.’
Here’s the truth: Any work of ours that is not the spontaneous effect of the trinity in us will be bereft of spirit and life. As such it cannot advance the Kingdom.
What if we are misguided and our agenda is mistaken? What if our entire life has been spent in the idea that we might serve others – with the subtext of serving ourselves - by gaining worthiness with God and earning our salvation with fear and dissembling? Any good work done from a sense of obligation is not a good work in the Kingdom sense. It is a flesh work devoid of spirit and life, rightly defined by Paul as a ‘dead work.’
This is not to say we need not work to improve the lot of others. It is to say that anything not prompted by non-selfish love; anything not the spontaneous out-welling of the Spirit of Christ in us is not the love we imagine it to be. It is to say that when Christ is our life we will be alive with His Spirit. Alive as our unique selves as a stream of heaven’s life flowing in our own authority and fruitfulness. Don’t be among those who spend their entire lives striving to get others to join with you and do what God means you to do.
Our life is about being lost in God in order to be found. Found in the sense of going through an open door to become who we really are. Found in the sense of assisting others to be who they are – by being ourselves in our Father as sons. So here it is. As ‘workers’ we produce nothing for the Kingdom. As sons in spirit and in truth we become a river of heaven’s life
NOT ABOUT YOU
The most important person in our fellowship is not ourselves. It is our Father and with Him Holy Spirit and Jesus. Made whole in God’s wholeness we know who we are in the moment and the season. We know what we should be saying and doing and we find ourselves doing what Jesus is doing for ourselves and each other. Hidden in Christ we are position to be revealed as ourselves.
Some leaders are entirely focussed on the sensitivities of attendees. Not so much out of kindness but because they personally believe that a life in God is about them and their needs. To them this implies that those who have turned up on the day are there to get their needs met. Possibly many of them are. Christian nomads travel from church to church, home group to home group looking for a place ‘that meets their needs.’ Little do these consumers know that all their needs can be met in Jesus before they leave their hearth. People who enjoy the fullness of Christ in themselves bring a quality dynamic to a venue that the consumer of religion is yet to experience. Jesus is not mediated through church. Although He is shared, expressed and mediated through those in whom He lives.
When we allow God to be God and Jesus to be sovereign, we position ourselves to receive His Spirit and His life in the way that meets all our needs and that equips us to minister spirit and life to others as our unique selves. In Jesus we are fellowship in the trinity which is the original community and hub of all communal life. Each member is an individual and ministers to the other without suffocation and hinderance. They facilitate each other to be who they are which is why God is totally God and the essence of I AM. There love is not an abstraction. It is the dynamic of who they are as one. There’s a lesson here.
NOT ABOUT ME
Richard Rohr writes, ‘The private self is clearly an illusion largely created by thinking. My life is not about me. I am about life! That's why the Bible is a social history. We're part of a much larger mystery. Don't take this private thing so seriously. The primary philosophical and spiritual problem in the West is the lie of individualism. Individualism makes church almost impossible. It makes community almost impossible. It makes compassion almost impossible.
We've overdone this notion of the private self; it has become the only game in town when it's not the game at all. I need to recognize that I'm in a river that is bigger than I am. The foundation and the flow of that river is love. Life is not about me; it is about God, and God is about love. When we don't know love, when we don't experience love, when we experience only the insecurity and fragility of the small self, we become restless.’ And we seek it in things that are not God but near God and associated with God. We seek it in religion. But we find life and are alive when Christ is our life; when the trinity is alive in us and when we rejoice in the fact that we are part of them and they of us: We belong!