By Bryan Robert
I had one foot in the bar and one foot in the church on the weekends. I didn’t know how to find pleasure in either place.
Someone had recently explained to me that I was sinner and that the wages of my sin is death. I had come to know how Christ paid the penalty for my sins and I had sincerely put my trust in Him for my eternal salvation. I realized now that I was different from my normal friends because of my belief in what God had done for me, but I still felt lost. I had no friends that knew anything about God. I would get calls from “friends” on the weekends asking me to join them out at the bars. That was the only place I knew to go, so I would end up there. While it felt right to be at church, I felt guilty because the night before I was in places that God says are not best for me. I was participating in things that were not healthy for me. In reality, it was hindering my growth with God.
One day it struck me that I should ask God to help me. I asked Him to provide Christian friends, people that knew Him and could help me. He answered with community. I signed up for GroupLink and that was where I learned that I wasn’t created for isolation. Genesis 2:18a says, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone.’” God created us for relationships and therefore it is very important for me to have others around me to encourage, admonish, and sharpen me (Hebrews 3:13, Proverbs 27:17). I need others that I can confess my sins to and heal from things in my past (James 5:16). Having others around to hold me accountable is necessary. When I live life on my own, I tend to justify my actions and can get lost in my own motives, which ends in me doing something that is not beneficial (Proverbs 14:12). “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
I see how God uses community to help guide me in making decisions and I know I can trust the men he has put in my life. What is greatest is that I get to know and understand God better through community (John 17:3). God has used community to show me a glimpse of Himself, by the way they care, accept, and love me. I have seen compassion, forgiveness, and kindness, which is but a fraction of what God has in store for us one day.
Now, I don’t have time to be in the bars nor do I have the desire. My weekends are filled with friends, good fellowship, and meaningful conversations. I am not perfect and still have other areas of struggle but with a group of men dedicated to following Jesus, I have grown in my relationship with God. Community is difficult and will never be ideal, however—with the Holy Spirit and time— God makes everything beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:11a).
Through commitment to the purpose of community, you will be blessed. Trust Him. Jump in.