You Were Created for Community
You Were Created for Community
We all feel the need to be part of a community. That’s why all the concomformists at the skate park wear the same Vans shoes. That’s why all the rebel Harley riders wear matching vests as their herd ambles down Kamehameha Highway. We all want to belong.
And that desire points to something a lot deeper. It’s like drinking water. You don’t drink water just because you’re thirsty. You drink water because you were designed to depend on it. You need water to keep your blood circulating, you need it to digest your food, you need it to regulate your body temperature, you need it to carry toxins out of your body. The thirst you feel points to something a lot deeper.
It’s the same with community. You were designed to be in community, and not just because it fills a need that you feel. Because it’s essential to your nature. That’s the way God created you.
That’s the idea you get from the very beginning of the Bible. In the story of creation, God creates the heavens and the earth. The sun, moon, and stars. The oceans and land. The plants and animals. And then, the pinnacle of creation:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth. (Gen 1:26-28)
Community is embedded in our creation. God says “Let us make man in our image” because God is three different people (with three personalities) who have a perfect relationship together in community: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even their names are all about their relationships. The Father can only be the Father if he has a Son. God is defined by his relationships. That’s why it says in 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” He didn’t start to be love when he created us. He’s always been love, because the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Holy Spirit.
And so when it says we’re created in God’s image, that’s the image we’re talking about. We’re invited into the community of the Trinity. And we’re charged to reflect that community in the relationships we have with each other: “God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female” (Gen 1:27).
So the image of God is seen most clearly in our relationships with each other, especially in the male and female relationship of marriage. Marriage is a particularly God-mirroring kind of community, but it’s not the only kind. If we’re not in community, we’re not reflecting the image of God. That’s what he said in Genesis 2: “It is not good that the man should be alone.”
Remember what God said all through the creation story? He said, “Let there be light,” and it was good. “Let the earth sprout vegetation,” and it was good. “Let the earth bring forth living creatures,” and it was good. But then man by himself? Not good.
Because you were created for community. And not just to fill your needs in life. To fulfill your purpose in life. It’s what makes you who you are.
If I asked the average person what makes them who they are, maybe they would talk about their career. Or maybe their major at school. Maybe they would talk about their family background. Or maybe about the things they do: “I’m a surfer.” … “I’m a foodie.” … I’m a grappler.” But the fundamental identity God gives us is that we are part of a community. He invited us in to the community of the Trinity when he created us in his image. And then he created community between us as humans to reflect the community we have with him.
That’s the idea we’ll get in the book of Thessalonians as we launch a series called “Together in Christ” this Sunday. Expand the community and invite a friend!