Living in Community

Ben Aguilera

Read: Ephesians 5:21–6:4

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. (v. 21 NRSV)

This is a difficult passage. Too many times I have heard it applied in ways that oppress rather than focus on the call to serve. But the submission that Paul calls for is mutual, not one-sided. As you read the passage, ask yourself, “How much do I allow myself to serve those I love the most?”

After all, swallowing our pride so that we can be led, guided, and loved by other people is one of the most difficult things to do. It takes both courage and vulnerability. Yet this is what Christ calls us to do: to live our faith out in community, which means we must both lead and submit.

It is only through community that we can learn what faith and love really mean. It is only by the shaping-power of living with other people that we learn humility. Christian community is not about hierarchy or domination (with ourselves at the top). Church life is about submitting to one another, under the larger submission to Christ Jesus. This is not easy. Even thinking about sublimating our desires, opinions, or choices to others makes us bristle. But this is the call upon the heart of the Christian. We are called to the difficult, messy, and often uncomfortable task of being in relationships. —Ben Aguilera

Prayer: Gracious God, give me the courage and the strength to live a life that is vulnerable enough to be true in community. Amen.