To create a great piece of art, whether a painting, a song, a poem, or even a blog post, I need time inside my heart, imagination, and spirit. I’m sitting at my favorite coffee house looking over the Chattahoochee with the sun shining and water rushing by.  This is good for my heart and spirit.  Yet, I need to keep a balance between the inner world of a creative artist and the outer world of people and relationships.  If all my time is spent in my head, my art suffers and I ignore my need for Friendship.  A question to be raised is not “do we need community,” but “why building community should be a priority.”

CommunityFriendship: we are made for community.  It wasn’t good that Adam be alone.  From the first moment till now humans were created to share life together.  No matter your temperament, you were made to be with others.  I am better as a result of having people around me to give me encouragement, to challenge me, to love me, and be honest with me.  How else can I grow to be a better artist and a better friend?

Friend are not acquaintances however.  Where Google+ and now Facebook allows us to group people into circles and groups we need to consider who are our real friends and who are our “acquaintances.”  There is a bible verse that says “a friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.”  When we consider developing real friendship we need to look for someone who is going to be available.  Most of us don’t have very many of these friends.  However each of us needs to pursue deep friendships.

Friendship is risky.  For many of us, whether we see them or not, there are inner hurts that cause us to be careful when entering into friendships.  Some have a wounded heart that has walled itself inside in order to avoid any more pain.  Building community with others involves risk.  I have to be willing to stick my head out of my shell.  I might even have to walk toward another person.  Where do you find the strength to risk making friendships when you have been hurt by others?  Some may look at the potential reward, some consider fear of being alone as a motivation and all of us would rather have someone reach out to us first.

May I suggest a better way for developing community?

There is one who is closer than a brother who has loved us at all times.  There is a Friend who was a friend when people hated him.  For me to begin to risk being a friend to others and for others to be able to develop healthy relationships, we need to have a relationship with Jesus.  This begins by understanding the Gospel.  We are more sinful than we ever imaged and more loved than we even dared dream.  Only when I remember that I first need to be in right relationship with Jesus am I able to build safe emotionally healthy relationships with others.

If you don’t know about how to have a relationship with Jesus, May I suggest you read,

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert

Who Is God? WDA Bible Study for Phase 1 – Establishing Faith