I’m not sure whether I would class myself as an antisocial but I’m definitely an introvert. To me, this means that while I love the company of others, I do need that time to myself. I gain energy from it. Other people, extroverts, gain energy from being around people. Both of these are great, but in order to have a healthy balance, the Bible says we need to have both in moderation: time to ourselves, time with others and time with God.
I’ve recently returned from a camping holiday to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea off the coast of Great Britain. I went with my boyfriend and his parents. What I loved about the holiday was how we could all do our own thing if we wanted, like read or play games, but being in such close proximity forced us to speak to and act with each other in different ways than usual. If you wanted a cup of tea, we had to wait for the stove to heat up and boil the water slowly. We all sat together in our camping chairs and chatted about the day, our plans, what we were enjoying. It helped us to see each other in new lights.
Similarly, Christ says that we need other people in order to live in abundance. It’s hard in this nowadays when you can become so engrossed in your game or on your phone that you forget about the world around you. We do live in a very isolated age. And whilst we can still get involved in online communities which are fun and often rewarding, nothing beats a real sit-down chat with an actual person.
Make time to see your friends that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Put it in your diary, go see your parents. Do something unusual with your partner. Quality time together enhances our wellbeing and it’s also what Christ wants for us in order to demonstrate his love to one another. The book of Ephesians talks about the Christians who lived in harmony together. They knew it was so important to live in fellowship with one another, even when they weren’t perfect. Nobody is. But living life with others reaps so much more benefits than being alone. Yes, we can argue that we won’t be hurt or hurt others if we keep to ourselves. But in stepping out and doing what’s sometimes uncomfortable can show us things about ourselves that we would never have learned on our own. In order to move forward in our faith, we need others. They can support and uplift us. They can change our viewpoints, challenge our attitude. Even when they’re not necessarily being helpful or polite, we can glean so much from the company of others.
When Christ died for us and rose again, he crushed all discrimination between Jews and non-Jews. Now they were allowed, even meant, to live with one another.
Spoiler alert: this is the CHURCH.
The church is a real, live community of people who believe in one thing: that God loves us and sent Jesus to pay the ultimate sacrifice through his death so that through his coming back to life, we could become holy and through God’s forgiveness for our sins would then enable us to journey through our lives with God.
The church is those people who recognise Christ’s authority and submit to him. The church is part of God’s great plan to bring everything on heaven and earth into his glory. Believers, therefore, should not relate to Christ in isolation, but as part of this new family.
I don’t know what kind of experience you’ve had with church. From my own personal experience I can tell you mine has not been a pleasant one. But I can also tell you that when I’m not part of a church or christian community, something is definitely missing. And when I find myself back in a church environment with people like me who have come to worship and praise my God, I feel like I belong. Like I’m at home.
Spoiler alert: this is what HEAVEN will be like.
We will never find a perfect church. But in living our lives with those who can praise with us and love us as Christ does, we can learn new ways of thinking, behaving and ultimately grow in our faith thanks to Christ’s United love for all of us.
Challenge: contact someone you love and make a date to go and do something with them.
Don’t do life alone. Be part of a family. Christ’s family.
©2015 by Rachel Leathers