Togetherness. It is something that goes against the grain at least here in North America. We have an ideological concept of ourselves steeped in rugged individualism, where we ride in, become the great hero and ride off into the sunset again. We see little need for others and usually people are the reason we feel the need to be alone. People can be extremely cruel and harsh and all of us have been on the receiving end of some form of ridicule and abuse which just seems to reinforce the stereotype.
Add to that all the busy bodies and gossips who seem to feel it is their God given mission to know all that is going on in your life and share it with everyone they know as well as their opinions of what you are doing and it is no wonder people don’t want to invest heavily in relationship. Even the source of basic foundational relationships we were all born into has broken down into a deep source of pain for many. Family isn’t even something you can count on any more.
Enter the church and the people who are supposed to be ones you can begin to turn to and count on as Jesus demonstrated and we have a group of people obsessed with what is wrong with you instead of helping bring out what is right. There is a lot wrong with our world today and it just reinforces our desire to stand alone.
Unfortunately we were not created to be alone but to be in relationship. And our level of connection to God is dependent on our level of connection with others around us. One always will lead to the other. When we come to know relationship with God through Jesus we are restored to a life-giving relationship with God and He instantly begins to network us to others around us. And if we resist building relationship with others, our relationship with God begins to die as well. We cannot have one without the other. We need to change our view of relationships with others to become who we were meant to be. Our growth personally and in our relationship with God is dependent on it.
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” – Martin Luther King, Jr –
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4 that Christ gave gifts to the body of Christ so that we would become mature and complete measuring up completely to Christ who is our head. And because of that maturity we would stand firm in our faith and we would …“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:15-16 NLT What I found interesting the first time I read this and I began to understand our need for one another was that we grow together. There is no alone in Christianity. No room for individualism. “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
We can never become who God wants us to be by spending time with God alone. We also need to be in ever-deepening relationship with the people God begins to place around us. One whole complete body of Christ around the world together becoming who God wants us to be. “We must depart from a self-centered view of our life in Christ. We cannot independently remain apart from others. We are formed by the Spirit to be joined into community with others, forming a body indwelled by Christ.’ Ralph. W. Neighbour Jr.. Christ’s Basic Bodies