Football games, movies, game nights, conferences, concerts, and other events tend to bring us together. We really like to sit back and watch, and it seems like whatever problems plagued us before take a back seat to the entertainment.
Sometimes we allow the church to become this. We get up on Sunday mornings, come to a building, and watch “church” happen. We can watch the sermon like we watch Netflix. We review the service on a scale of our own personal preference. But when it’s over, our problems come flooding back and we are rarely changed.
If your team wins or loses the big game, you will remember it for a few weeks. If you really enjoy a show on Netflix, you might binge-watch it, cry a few times, and even remember a few quotes—but next month you will have moved on to something else. Likewise, if you watch the church instead of being the church, don’t expect anything to change in your life.
If you have been united to Christ through faith, God has given you many resources to help you change into the image of Christ. Romans 8:29 says, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” God is in the business of making all of His people to be like Jesus. How does God do it? Many different ways. His grace, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, suffering, and community to name some major, foundational ways.
Let’s take a closer look at changing in community. Paul Tripp describes biblical community as being, “intentionally intrusive, Christ-centered, grace-driven.” Biblical community that promotes change is not going to happen by accident. In view of God’s grace, Peter instructs us to “make every effort to respond to God’s promises” (see 1 Peter 1:5). Do not “make every effort” because you are saved by your works—make every effort because Christ has redeemed you. Be intentional. While sitting on your couch watching Netflix, you will not suddenly become more conformed to the image of Christ. You will not, by accident, stumble in godliness.
Changing into Christ-likeness will not happen by accident—nor will it happen all alone. God has placed instruments in your life—other Christians—to aid you in this change. Be humble and ask for prayer. Be vulnerable and confess. Willingly listen to godly wisdom.
You are also an instrument to aid others. Get to know the brother or sister sitting next to you on Sunday or the members of your life group; understand his/her longings, desires, and temptations. Ask questions. I do not ask intrusive questions because I am nosey or desiring to gossip. I am driven by grace—wanting for you what God wants for you—sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Show grace. Love him. Point her to Christ.
We do not gather on Sundays, Thursdays, or for life groups to talk about the weather, the football game, or our favorite TV show—the church is a community centered on Christ and His redeeming work. Be intentional. Focus on His counsel for us, not our own opinions. Do not simply watch the community happening around you at Southern Hills. Join in! Be the Church, and partake in the “one-another” ministry that helps us change into the image of Christ.