The Christian Life
As I meet people throughout Yucaipa, I am surprised about how they talk about the Christian life. For some it is a belief or doctrine they held on to. For others it is a weekly experience, intellectual or emotional, they partake in at church. While there is nothing wrong with either one of these—in fact they represent aspects of Christian life—neither encapsulates its essence.
The essence of the Christian life is a community in which the people of God engage in life together. Jesus makes this clear when hours before his arrest, he washed his disciples’ feet and then gave them the command to love one another.
The early Christians appeared to have grasped this. In Acts 2 Luke says, they devoted themselves to “fellowship”. The word translated “fellowship” in the original Greek means sharing in common something with someone else. The early Christians made a point of sharing worship, prayer, food, and even their possessions with one another. In fact it was a common practice among them to sell their belongings in order to distribute the proceeds to those in need.
If you think about this, it’s quite shocking. Aren’t his disciples those who confess Jesus as the savior? Aren’t his disciples those who have been baptized? Aren’t his disciples those who read their bibles and go to church on Sundays? Yes…but the way outsiders will know if we are truly his disciples is none of these things. It is our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Christian life, therefore, is truly counter-cultural especially in the highly individualistic society we live in. Christian faith is not merely about what I do in the privacy of my own home or the uplifting experience I have at my church—it is about the community I am a part of and the love I show to others.
I have been amazed at the outpouring of love the people at my parents’ church have showed them as my Mother’s health has deteriorated. They have provided friendship, encouragement, physical labor, and even financial assistance. They have faithfully carried out Jesus command. They are authentic Christian community. We must strive for the same.