Saturday, May 20, 2017


It is good to have friends who support us. But this too can become an idol. Our culture exalts relationships, but frequently we totally lack them. People, in general, live closer to one another than at any time in human history. And people, in general, are more isolated and lonely than at any time in human history. We can watch TV, listen to music, surf the Internet, even, ironically, be involved in social media, without really forming any deep connections with anyone. We can be busy doing a multitude of things, whether at work or at play, without stopping long enough to get to know the people around us. To get past that requires a deliberate effort. But it is an effort worth making. 

The first friend we need is God (John 15:13-15; Proverbs 18:24; Philippians 3:7-11). And I am convinced that one of the reasons for the noise and isolation of modern life is to avoid meeting God. As C. S. Lewis points out, the best way to avoid God is to be perpetually busy or to have something continually entertaining us to avoid any time of silent contemplation. I think, even as believers, we can develop some of this attitude. We can be afraid of God becoming too real. And this is a tragedy. God wants to save us (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 3:23-28; Colossians 2:9-15), He wants to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:1,2; Philippians 2:13), He wants to help us through the storms of life (John 16:33; Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). But we can keep Him keep Him at arm’s length because we want to run our own lives and tip our hats to God occasionally but have Him there to rescue us if we really need it.

But there is another danger. As Christians, we can sometimes get the concept of, me and God, and we do not need anyone else. But God says He has put us as part of a spiritual body, and we are to build one another up (1 Corinthians 12:12-25; Ephesians 4:11-16; Romans 12:3-8). We need one another to sympathize with in times of joy and adversity (1 Corinthians 12:26; Romans 12:15; Proverbs 17:17). We need one another to build each other up and encourage each other to do what is right (Hebrews 10:24,25; Proverbs 27:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:11). We need others to correct us when we are going the wrong way (Proverbs 27:6; Hebrews 12:12,13; Galatians 6:1). And God designed it that way. There is a dangerous conceit in the idea that I can go it alone, I do not need anybody but God. God has deliberately made us so that we need one another. So even though it is hard, especially in our present culture, we need to put in the effort to be connected to other believers. For it is how God meant for us to live.   

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