Living life together will not be a neat, easy and smooth endeavor. It will be messy and difficult. At the same time, there is tremendous hope in the gospel and God's commitment to continue to shape His people into white hot whole life worshipers. This post from Mark Lauterbach highlights both the pain and the joy of seeing our sin exposed through community with others.
All I can say is "ouch" -- that's it.
The reality of living in what the Gospel calls us to -- in relationship with other believers in a local church with growing awareness of grace and sin, with growing exposure of my own pride and selfishness -- all that spells "ouch" to me.
Except that it is what God has designed for my good and his glory.
Candidly, the reason I find such intimacy difficult is that I prefer my comforts and self-deception to finding out the truth about myself before God. I am proud enough to think that the other person is the problem. I am proud enough to think that I know what I need in friends and I do not need them. I will surround myself with people of my own preference.
It is in the presence of another brother or sister that I am seen for what I am. And that is good. The Gospel begins with facing who I am. God uses his word and Spirit to show me that. Then he draws me into a community of fellow believers and uses them to continue to show me how amazing grace is to save someone like me.
If you are married, you will know what I am speaking of. My beloved wife is someone from whom I cannot really hide. She has seen me at my best and worst. I do not the first -- I hate the second. I can remember early in marriage being caught with my hand in the cookie jar -- literally -- she had baked cookies for guests and told me not to touch them. i assumed she would not mind if one was taken -- and waited for her to leave the room before I made my move. Just as I did she walked around the corner. She caught me. I made excuses. I got angry. I told her the rule was stupid. Then I saw my sin . . . I confessed . . . she forgave . . . and she still loved me.
But note, if I had not been seen by her -- in close relationship -- I may have pulled the wool over my own eyes for a long time . . . her presence was a means of grace to me. Through her honest rebuke and her gracious forgiveness and continued love, I saw something of the Savior. So it is with all growing relationships . . . and that is why fellowship is not an option. God designs to meet me through my brother.
(HT: Gospel Driven Life)