*With the new Community Groups we will be launching this weekend at Group Link we wanted to share a couple stories on the blog this week of people at Mercy Hill who have been greatly affected through gospel community. Below is Ben Doster’s personal story about how God used community in his life to help him fight sin and live the Christian life.
Let me preface this post by noting it is not our Christian community that saves us, but only belief in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross.
Now, community with other believers is a gift from God and it is what he calls us to when we enter his family, the Body of Christ, which is the Church. When we do life with other Christians that should invoke in us a desire to grow in Christ and follow him.
For example this applies to how one fights sin. Proverbs 24:6 says, “For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”
Personally, my prideful heart was blind and hardened to this wisdom and truth for over a decade as I lived in sin, but I experienced freedom found in God’s grace when I let others into this struggle.
It was not easy. I remember sitting in Pastor Andrew’s office in February as he challenged me with the question: “Do you care more about the approval of man or putting this sin to death?” That meant I had to humble myself, and put my sin in the light. The Holy Spirit used his challenge as a call to fight and to confess to some of my Christian brothers around me in Mercy Hill and invite them to join me in my battle as I began to finally wage war.
One of the reasons why I was not living in the victory Christ won for me at the cross was because I tried to fight my sin alone without getting the help from the community of godly men around me. Paul writes in Galatians 6:1-2, “1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
James 5:19-20 says, “19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
Through God’s grace and many conversations about my struggle with Pastor Andrew, Pastor Bobby, Pastor Jeremy, community group leaders Nick Lutzweiler, Carter Mundy, Tony Ross, Jon Sheets and my dear friend Landon Jordan and others I began to see progress. They all pointed me to the Gospel.
However, I was still in bondage, because I was afraid to tell my dad, who is the godliest man I know and one of my biggest cheerleaders. I believed Satan’s lie that I would disappoint my dad, and there is nothing I hate more than that. Pastor Andrew, Pastor Jeremy and Landon encouraged me to tell him.
I finally did about three months ago, and he pointed my right to the Gospel; Galations 2:20 to be specific.
Confessing sins to others is healing (James 5:16). Once I confessed it felt like my burden was lifted, because I was letting another bear it with me.
This journey with my Christian brothers has led me into a fuller and sweeter relationship with Jesus and deeper pursuit of holiness (1 Peter 1: 13-25).
I still have difficult days when temptation is great, but by God’s grace and living in community with my Christian brothers has made it easier to put this sin to death and follow Jesus.
If you attend Mercy Hill and have not joined a community group I encourage you to attend our Group Link event following both services Sunday, Sept. 22. This will be a great opportunity for you to meet our community group leaders, other folks who are looking for a community group to join and eat a tasty catered meal for FREE!
The Christian life is not meant to be lived alone but as a part of God’s family, so be in community with his people.
Go to our events page to sign up for Group Link. http://mercyhillgso.com/connect/events-2/