The Power of Community

The Power of Community December 11, 2018

The Bible says that bad company corrupts good character (1 Cor. 15:33), but the opposite is also true: Good company strengthens character. When you see a great marriage, you can be assured that there are other great marriages around it.

Scripture has quite a lot to say about how powerful community can be in influencing us in positive ways.

The author of Hebrews writes, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24–25).

We are instructed, as believers, to bind our hearts and lives with other committed followers of Jesus. We are told to stick together, to meet regularly, and to push each other toward “love and good deeds.”

When we are surrounded like people who think like we do—those who share our values and understand our struggles—we become stronger. I’ve been a believer for four decades, but I’m convinced my faith would be deeply challenged were I living among ungodly people rather than my Christian friends.

Whether it’s good or bad, peer pressure impacts us deeply.

Consider my own marriage. When God stepped in to save my marriage to Karen, he did it by first bringing couples into our lives to set an example for us. Today, our marriage remains strong and healthy because we have continued to surround ourselves with godly people—people who are committed to encouraging us as we navigate the inevitable storms of marriage.

The friends in our lives are not there by accident or default. We are very intentional in our friendships and choose who we let influence us with great care. Karen and I actually pray about our friendships, and have no problem cutting ties with people who drag us down as a couple.

If that seems harsh, then we encourage you to look at it another way: Is your marriage not important enough to do everything you can to protect it?

To be specific, we choose friends who don’t believe in divorce. No matter how difficult things may get, ending a marriage is just not an option for them. Our friends are committed to staying together, and nothing can convince them otherwise.

I often joke that if I threatened to leave Karen, I wouldn’t just be in trouble with her, but with all of our friends! My buddies would drag me behind the woodshed to convince me how wrong I was. That’s why we consider them such good friends.

Community is valuable because true friends hold you accountable like that. They call you on the carpet when you make poor choices. They share your values. They spur you on toward good and help you avoid evil. And hopefully, you do the same for them.

Every couple needs these kinds of friendships. If you don’t have them, you need to find them.

Friends will always impact your marriage. The question is whether they affect you in good ways…or bad.

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