In order to truly be part of a community―a communion―we must first deny ourselves and learn to live in terms of others; to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Just as God is longsuffering toward us we will have to be longsuffering toward others. We will have to “put up with” irritations, differences and sinfulness, not thinking too highly of ourselves and associating with the lowly (Rom. 12:3, 16).
To live in community is to supply the Body; to give, to sacrifice and to love (Eph. 4:16). As a result, the whole Body is built up (i.e., matured), and then every individual is benefitted by the stronger, more mature Body. Being part of the communion is first about what we can contribute, and when we have contributed, we will also receive. The question is not first, “What’s in it for me?” Rather, we should be asking, “What can I put into it that will make it a better place for everyone to live?” “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).