I don’t know everything there is to know about Christian community. Far from it.
But here are two things I know: First, too many Christians live their lives alone, or with insufficient Christian community.
Second, the way to true Christian community is to focus first on God, not on having community. If your ultimate aim is community, you will not have true community. But if your first aim is God, then you will be able to have true community with his people.
That may sound like common sense. But it’s not, because, first of all, a lot of times we act otherwise and, second, because there is one good objection to this.
For someone might say, “can’t it be sort of both, and be iterative? Just like we can’t know which is first, knowledge of ourselves or knowledge of God (as Calvin said), so also what matters is desiring both community and God, rather than having to make God first and primary?”
The reason this objection doesn’t work is because God is the source and center of all Christian community. Therefore, full fellowship and community with other Christians — where you don’t just see people on Sunday but can rely on them to help you when you are in need and just make life lighter and more enjoyable — can only come as a result of seeking God first, not community first.
This is as Jesus taught: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you [including, I would argue, Christian community — see Matthew 19:29].”
And, this is as Paul taught: “Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). A pure heart does not simply a heart that avoids ungodliness, but a heart that puts God first, that has a single eye toward God — that’s ultimately what it means to be ‘pure in heart,’ as Jesus shows us in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:22-24). Paul is saying: be like that yourself, and do this in community with others who are like that.
So, don’t live your life alone. Pursue Christian community. And, as Paul and Jesus taught, pursue this community with those who put God first and foremost in everything they do. That is the only way to avoid truly living your life alone.