As much as some of us value independence and cherish those times of solitude, the fact of the matter is, we need each other. God designed us to be in fellowship with one another and not to walk through the trials of this world in solitary. It is not that God cannot communicate with us in when we are alone; in fact, our times of solitude are often the times when God speaks most clearly. It is, however, as we find in 1 John 1:7. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” In other words… walking with God leads us toward true fellowship with each other.
The world’s economy equates strength and independence with the ability to take charge of our lives. It is good to be able to take care of ourselves; to feed and clothe and provide shelter for ourselves. It is also good to be able to make decisions independently and to have the personal strength to stand behind those choices. However, if we rely only on ourselves, our thinking can get off track and our decisions skewed. As Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We need that annoying neighbor or relative to learn patience and compassion and how to deal with adversity. We also need that special friend to experience acceptance and accountability, and then we need that soul mate to understand what love really means. Our vertical experience with the Love of God is not really complete without that horizontal experience with each other.
I am convinced that God designed us not for independence but for interdependence. When you get right down to it, it is the people that we are able to touch and the people that we allow to touch us that determine the level of fulfillment that we walk with each day. The more we allow others to see who we are (intimacy = into me see), the more we are able to connect with each other and understand the true nature of God within us. Dealing with others can be messy and it takes effort to develop relationships, but I have to believe that it is God’s plan for us to learn and grow with each other. After all, our joys and triumphs are empty when experienced alone and there is little doubt that sharing our burdens makes them bearable.
Some time ago Dusty brought in a guest pastor by the name of Dan Russell. Dan was a former champion wrestler who gave insight into the importance of our fellowship and left us with the acronym HELP: Hang - Eat - Laugh - Pray … Together. What a beautiful and elegant way to describe some basic tools to reinforce God’s design for us and bring fulfillment to the body. I look forward to the threads of our lives woven together in Christ.
While it is good to know how to be comfortable with those times of solitude, what we take from this life and more directly, what we are able to contribute, is almost always a product of the lives that we are able to touch (and that we allow to touch us). God’s Love for us is unconditional but the quality of our Love for each other is what adds fulfillment to the human part of our journey in God’s Kingdom.
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”
Acts 2:42 “And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”