I heard someone once quip, “I would be a great Christian if it wasn’t for other people.” Do you resonate at all with that? I sure do! When I’m alone with God, coffee in hand, Bible on my lap, I seem to be pretty spiritually mature. It’s when people frustrate me, disappoint me, or generally act in a way that I don’t like that a lack of the fruit of the Spirit shows up!
So, why do we need relationships? Why is it worth all the trouble? (and part of the trouble is certainly the trouble we bring to the table.)
It’s worth it because we were made for it. Curt Nelson argues this from science, stating, “the neuroscience is clear: the concept of a single functioning neuron or a single functioning brain simply does not exist in nature. Without input from other neurons, a single neuron will die. Likewise, without input from other minds, a single mind becomes anxious, then depressed, then hopeless, and then dies – either by intentional means or more passive forms of poor self-care. It is not good for a man or woman – or a neuron or a brain – to be alone.”
Another primary reason we need community is because we won’t become who God’s called us to be without it. The author of Hebrews says, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some…”
Community is the mechanism in this passage for spiritual growth. If we think we can become who God’s called us to be through a series of quiet times, we’re missing it. We need other people for us to become the people God has called us to become and do what God has called us to do.
For those of you who are not walking closely in Christian community with others right now, this is a great time to take a step in that direction. At gfcnow.com/groups, you can learn about different opportunities to connect relationally and grow spiritually. Consider how you can prioritize community in your life this fall.
I’m so glad to be a part of this larger community of faith with you!