Striving For Holiness, Not Perfection

“Many people seem to believe that creating a community is a matter of simply gathering together under the same roof a few people who get on reasonably well together or committed to the same ideal. The result can be disastrous!” –Community and Growth

I have been living in some form of community since I was a sophomore in college. Not only did I truly believe that first line from Community and Growth for almost three years, but I also had the crazy notion that all those who follow Christ and live in community were in some sort of perfect world–especially, when I looked at religious orders, where I didn’t think any worldly problems could arise. Even after hearing the gospel of Luke proclaim countless times how much the apostles quarreled, I think I just ignored that part and thought they were always perfect in community.

“And an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.” Luke 9:46

While being at Covercrest for the formation month, I was reminded of this unattainable expectation that I sometimes put on community. Don’t get me wrong. Living in community is great and it is definitely calling me to holiness, but one thing that it isn’t, is perfect. It has always been a struggle for me to love others that I don’t necessarily get along with in my life.  But, if I do not love others as Christ did, do I really love Christ fully? The Lord is calling me to truly dive into community by teaching me how to love others when I don’t necessarily want to talk to or even be around different people in my community. Last year, I would just ignore a problem I had with someone and let it slowly build up over time. Well, that didn’t really help the situation, it only made it worse–especially, when everything came full circle and a huge argument ensued that could have been avoided if I hadn’t tried to bottle it up.   So, right now, I am learning to express what I am feeling and how to love others–because, honestly, if I don’t know how to do that, I don’t really know the Lord as well as I think I do.

“Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

So, one thing that I have to continued to remind myself, is that community isn’t some Utopian place where everything is perfect and there are no struggles. On the contrary, community is definitely not easy and it doesn’t just happen magically that everyone becomes best friends. One thing that is perfect, is Heaven, and living in community is helping me get one step closer to the ultimate goal of getting there. Praise God that community is teaching me how to love others as Christ loves us and to die to myself, not out of spite, but with love.

Pray for peace in Sudan and the Korean Peninsula.

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About the Author

Stephen grew up around the world because his father was in the Air Force, but he calls Tampa home now. He currently lives in Tiger, GA and is in his third year with Life Teen missions. He loves Jesus, the beach, chinese food, soccer, traveling, and dancing. He is always up for a good dance party. Feel free to contact him at [email protected]