On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, the Lord said to Moses,2 “Command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in from the inheritance the Israelites will possess. And give them pasturelands around the towns. 3 Then they will have towns to live in and pasturelands for the cattle they own and all their other animals.4 “The pasturelands around the towns that you give the Levites will extend a thousand cubits from the town wall. 5 Outside the town, measure two thousand cubits on the east side, two thousand on the south side, two thousand on the west and two thousand on the north, with the town in the center. They will have this area as pastureland for the towns.
Being a Christian in the world is difficult. God has never been vague or unclear concerning this fact. However, as people find strength in numbers, we tend to fortify ourselves with people who share our views and beliefs, to protect ourselves from those who do not. We tend to isolate ourselves in “Christian Groups” because we feel threatened by the difficulties of living in a world where the word of God is mocked and hated. We seek these “Christian Fortifications” because we doubt the promise of God to provide for us in our isolation, but we trust the provision of a Christian community.
These groups tend to make us feel safe. We like to feel safe. Yet being a Christian is not only loving God for what he did, but loving God for what he continues to do. How do we know if God is clearly at work and present in our lives? When no alternate explanation for provision exists. Topping off a beverage makes very little physical difference to the fullness of a glass. However, when you fill an empty glass, it clearly goes from nothing to something—a noticeable difference made. The only way to see God’s promise to provide is when you are entirely reliant on his provision. This often occurs when we are alone and without.
The only way to experience God’s desire to fill our lives day after day is to be daily emptied out in preparation for his fulfillment. Taking your faith in Jesus beyond the safety of Christian fellowship amounts to emptying yourself of the securities of people and accepting the safety of God. We are called not to be groups of stationary, isolated Christians. We are called in order to be sent. We are blessed in order to become a blessing to others. The only way we can bless those around us is to be with them, in the presence of those who do not believe. The yeast in dough impacts the entire batch; Christians are called to impact the entire world. Immersing ourselves in Christian communities while cutting ourselves off completely from the “outside” world is serving our own desire to feel safe. Immersing ourselves in the trust of God and living in this world as a member of this world is serving God.