HOW TO PRACTICE BIBLICAL VULNERABILITY IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Vulnerability. A word we hear a lot these days. Many consider vulnerability to be weakness. However, it is quite the contrary. Being vulnerable means stepping out in the courage to be yourself, to share the deeper places of your heart, and true biblical vulnerability has the power to transform your community.
Although this may seem challenging, vulnerability is key to real and lasting relationships. Being vulnerable with God and one another will absolutely transform not only your individual life, but also your life in community. The scripture has a lot to say about being vulnerable, and it begins with inviting the one who created our hearts. James 5:16 says this…
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”
Wow, what a picture of biblical vulnerability and community in practice. To better understand how exactly we can practice this, here are three key ways to live into this text and its implications on the practice of biblical vulnerability within community:
1.) Be vulnerable with God.
In order to step into biblical vulnerability in community, we must first be living openly with God. We cannot be whole without being filled with Jesus. If we run to share with other people before going to God with struggles, sins, or parts of our heart, this can be more damaging. We cannot give away what we have not received. God loves when we come to Him. He is the only one who can fill the deep places.
While we sometimes hide from God (oh so quickly forgetting that He sees all), we are only fooling ourselves when we do this—hiding from ourselves—when we paste a smile on yet have inner turmoil. It’s like wearing a mask. God longs for us to come to Him and surrender in full transparency. He wants your whole heart so that He can make your heart whole. We tend to be really good at disconnecting from hard things that we don’t want to deal with. Yet this denial keeps us from real peace, joy, and love. When we do this we are practicing self-preservation rather than letting God be the protector of our heart.
In James it says, “Believing prayer will heal you and Jesus will put you on your feet. If you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven, healed inside and out.” Repentance brings forgiveness and confession brings healing. We are vulnerable with God first so that our whole life can be full of light with no dark corners. Luke 11:35-36 talks about this: “Make sure that the light that you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant…” This is how we are called to live as daughters of the King. It is important to take care of our hearts, because everything else flows from it. Only then do we go to others. We are vulnerable with others because we trust Jesus. This means keeping our vertical connection with Him amidst our horizontal relationships in community. Hearing His voice and trusting where He has placed you allows you to be vulnerable with safe people. The heart of the Father will take you further than human compassion ever could.
2.) Be vulnerable with others in your community.
This verse so beautifully illustrates vulnerability in Godly community. We are to continually confess and share with one another, which brings healing.
How many times have you been in a situation where someone shares something vulnerable, then that moment allows many others to realize they are not alone in a struggle, or that they too can share safely? This is the fruit of vulnerability in action. There is a difference between good company and Godly community. The Bible tells us to warn and encourage one another daily. We are called to bear one another’s burdens, laugh with one another, cry with one another, and all the things in between! However, our generation so often takes to social media or people who they have not yet built strong and solid relationships with. We should never be vulnerable out of the need for approval or attempt to prove ourselves. Being in connection with God purifies our heart motives. It is so important to pray about who to be vulnerable with. Many times this can look like a pastor, leader, or mentor. Maybe for you it is a Bible study group or your closest girlfriends. Accountability with safe people helps you and calls you up higher. Make sure you have established trusted relationships before sharing.
3.) Make this a continual practice.
As James 5:16 says, we are to make this our COMMON practice, meaning this is not a one-time deal. Please, do not let yourself bury stuff inside until you are ready to explode. Take things from the darkness into the light. This provides accountability, safety, and connection. We are called to live in fellowship with God and each other.
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself – Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” –John 4:23-24
Vulnerability requires stepping outside of your comfort zone and although it may be hard and require much faith, I guarantee that places inside of you will come to life. We need one another in the body of Christ! Let your true self out, live simply and honestly before Him and others, and watch the transformation that happens!
About the Author
Hey there! I’m Anjelica Farino, from Pittsburgh, PA. I moved to Nashville in 2016 and am currently in graduate school pursuing my Masters in Counseling. I love Jesus and love people. I am passionate about seeing people healed, whole, and living in full freedom! I enjoy spending time with friends over a good cup of coffee, horseback riding, fashion, and reading! However, my favorite place to be is in the presence of God with my sweet community of brothers and sisters in Christ. I participate in discipleship through my church community as well as mentoring younger girls, which I am very passionate about. No matter what happens in this life, I am committed to living in peace and joy and being led by the Holy Spirit in every moment and every interaction. “He rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.” (Psalm18:24 MSG) Less of me and more of Him. My life is a blank slate for Jesus to have His way.