We get greedy because we do not believe that God truly will provide for all our material needs. We become anxious because we do not trust God for the future. We resort to violence because we think that we have to create our own way. We are selfish and possessive because we fear that we will not be able to satisfy our emotional desires. When our devotional and worship lives suffer, we lack the relationship with God that enables us to find harmony with others and with ourselves. Lacking peace with God, we cannot be at peace with anyone else. The root of our failures to share in community, then, lies in unbelief.
Fundamentally, part of what it means to be made in God’s image is that we are all created with an intense longing for God. If we cannot meet that need, we desperately try to fill the gap with all sorts of other gods. (Dawn, 86)
In a very good chapter on community and belonging to one another, Marva Dawn cuts to the core. How many of our issues come down to unbelief, essentially lack of faith in God. Sure, it’s easy enough to believe He exists, and even to say that the Bible is true and that Christianity is the right path. BUT, simply acknowledging those things, even teaching those things, doesn’t mean we truly believe them.
Trust doesn’t mean we cease to act. It could be argued that faith isn’t faith until we act on it. When we step out, though, is it in faith and trust of a supernatural God, or do we act as if God doesn’t exist, and if He does, do we act as if He isn’t worthy of trust?
Community is close to my heart. I want my faith to be real, for it not to be just a word, but alive in action. It’s really convicting to realize all the ways I don’t believe, when I ask myself honestly. Once I see how I don’t believe God, He then has an opportunity to help my unbelief, and that is very encouraging.
Dawn, Marva J. Truly the Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1992.