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I love people. But I also love my solitude. And my independence. I often…overlook…the importance of Christian community.
I don’t like to think about needing to depend on people for anything, honestly. I’ve been known to prefer things to be done a certain way, and to just do them myself instead of asking for help. After all, that makes sure they’re done right.
Who gets me?
God didn’t intend for me to be independent of community, however.
As I’ve matured in the Lord and read more the of the Bible, I see that God has other plans for this independent and introverted soul.
Those plans involve loving people and being a part of a community. God seems to emphasize the importance of Christian community all throughout Scripture.
This is evidenced right from the beginning when God declared it was not good for man to be alone and fashioned a helpmeet for him.
Jesus Himself had 12 disciples with whom He spent much of His time.
Paul had Barnabas, Timothy, Silas, and many others.
In the New Testment writings about spiritual gifts, insructions are given under the assumption that one will both participate in a formal worship (aka church) and also be a part of a community (1 Cor 12-14). We are commanded to bear each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2), pray for one another, and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13).
It’s pretty obvious (even to this stubborn, independent woman) that God created us to be in community.
The victory of an entire nation rested on Moses.
And his community.
Another example of the importance of community is found in Exodus 17. Joshua is leading a charge against very powerful enemies of the nation of Israel, in retaliation for their attack. Historican records share that they were extensive and strong.
Moses stood overlooking the battlefied and as long as he help up his arm with the staff God had given him, the battle went well for Israel.
But eventually he wearied (battles are not quick things). His brother and Hur brought him a stone to sit on and then proceeded to hold up his hands.
Had I been the one in that position, I have fooled myself into thinking I could do it on my own and my
determination would have started me out strong. However, like Moses, I would have grown tired.
And then what?
Aaron and Hur were not only Moses’ support system in front of Pharaoh; they were there in the battle-weary moments, too. And thanks to them, the battle was won.
Had Moses chosen to stand alone, it would have sacrificed the victory.
The importance of Christian community is incredibly understated today.
Before technology advanced to this place, community had to be intentional. One hundred and fifty years ago people traveled for days and stayed with those they were seeing. Texting, facebook, or skyping weren’t even on their radar.
While technology certainly has its strong points, one thing it can detract from is community. Aaron and Hur weren’t the kind of people who were just Facebook friends (or even FB friends AND instagram followers).
No, they were invested in Moses’ life and in the nation of Israel. They shared a cause and a passion with Moses and it is likely their hearts were knit together over obedience to God and one another. They often stood with him (in person) and because of that, they were there at a time that he desperately neede them.
The victory of a nation literally stood suspended by the presence of a community when the strength of one man could not last.
So what do you do?
Picture an area you are struggling with right now. View it as a battlefied.
What if God told you to raise your hands to Him in surrender and worship and you would have victory in that area? I bet you’d do it!
But what if you had to KEEP your hands raised to maintain that victory? You’d get tired, I’m sure. And eventually you’d have to take a break, and cost yourself victory.
However, in a community, others would be there to stand beside you and hold your arms up for you.
Sounds silly, but it’s actually pretty apt. We are in a battle, every day. And daily we need to surrender our will to God and praise Him, no matter what we are fighting.
Having other believers with us makes that easier, because we can encourage one another. Sweet friend, this is so important!
Plug in, locally, and find some women who would hold up your arms in a fight when you are battle-weary. Trust me, sweet sister, according to Jesus this faith walk isn’t going to be easy and we all need one another.
If you don’t have a church, look around for one. If transportation or even mobility are issues, call around until you find a church who can help you. If you’re worried about dressing up or fitting in, find one that’s more relaxed. Look for a Community Bible Study (they have CBS groups worldwide, and we LOVE ours!).
And if you do have a church, but still play the lone wolf…STOP. Get to know the body you are in.
I promise, they are as imperfect as you or I and will mess up, but I also promise that it will be worth it when you get to stand together in the battle and praise the Lord together.
And if you already have your community, thank them. Value them. Send them chocolate.
If you want to join our Read Through the Bible in 90 Days challenge, check it out HERE.