*Originally written on 3/21/16
If you think it’s possible to be a Christian, live alone without being part of a church, and be just fine, I believe you’re misled. Even if you wouldn’t go so far as to say that a Christian can live alone, do you realize how important it is to be in the company of other Christians? Strong encouragement comes from the book of Hebrews to fellowship with other believers: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” (Heb. 10:25). Okay. So we’re definitely supposed to do it. But maybe we should look at why God would make it so important. After all, why should you spend time with other Christians if you’re technically already saved and have the Holy Spirit living within you? These are my reasons… However, before I start, one important point should be made: times of meditation and private prayer are certainly healthy for one’s soul; in fact, we see examples of occasional solitude in the life of Jesus himself!
So what is God’s purpose in bringing us all together? In the first half of Ephesians chapter four, Paul explains: God prepares his people for service,
“…so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. …From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
When two or more children of God are gathered to pray, the Lord’s peaceful presence is there. Jesus says in Matthew 18:25, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” God says it in His Word, and I believe it! The Lord keeps his promises, and this one is firm. The opportunity to share others’ concerns (does “bear each-other’s burdens” sound familiar?), to be encouraged by a glimpse of Heaven when we will glorify God one day with earnestly pure hearts and minds, and to see testimonies of God’s active redemption in the lives of other people (a truly “great cloud of witnesses”!) is not to be shrugged off.
We live in a sin-drenched world inhabited by the Devil’s servants, whose consuming purpose is to whisper oh-so-convincing arguments into our thoughts and drag us down. Christians face a whole dump truck of difficulty: everything from hard decisions and sinful habits to persecution and devastating losses… but they need to face it together. Your pinky finger alone is not meant to bear the weight of a dump-truck. (I’m exaggerating, by the way- not even your entire body would be strong enough to support one, so please don’t try!) In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he expresses his desire that they “…may be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1:10). “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Cor. 12:14)
We’re in this together, everyone!
In Christ Jesus,
Sabrina Richline (19) is a staff writer at TPS Chapel