It’s no accident that God’s interactions with mankind always involve a faith community. In the early parts of Genesis, we see God speaking into a family through Abraham, and later a nation through Moses. In the Gospels, we see Jesus himself call out an eclectic group of misfits to lead the early church. The same is true today. God desires to work through communities of faith, but our Western sense of independence can prevent us from experiencing many of the benefits of a faith community. If your faith has become isolated from the influence of others, here’s some of what you’re missing:
Safety: Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 tells us there’s safety in numbers. Two believers encourage and motivate one another; should one fall, the other helps them back up. It will always be more convenient to fly solo, but isolation is dangerous. Little slips quickly become major falls without anyone to help you recover.
Fulfillment: God designed man to live in community. In the creation narrative, God expresses displeasure about his creation only once—when he creates Adam without a companion. He says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” While this verse has been used to underscore the virtue of marriage, Adam was more than single. He was alone. He lived in a community vacuum, and God knew he would not be truly fulfilled while he was alone.
Witness: Jesus explains in John 13:35 that Christians will be identifiable in a world of unbelievers by their unique love for one another. If you shy away from involvement with a faith community, preferring the convenience of isolationism, how will unbelievers know you’re a Christian? Isolated faith is invisible faith. John Wesley said, “Christianity is essentially a social religion . . . To turn it into a solitary religion, is indeed to destroy it.”
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