Summary: You can’t fulfill God’s purposes for your life by yourself. We need Community.
As Americans, we idolize independence. In America we have the Declaration of Independence. We like songs like, “I’ve Got to Be Me,” and “I’ll do it My Way.” We love the Lone Ranger and quickly forget the Lone Ranger had Tonto. But, we like the idea of being totally independent. We have bought into a myth that says the key to happiness is independence. If I have relational independence, financial independence, independence in every other area of our lives, if I don’t let anybody get too close to me but I’m totally self-sufficient, then I will be happy. And yet just about every year the suicide rate rises. The real key to happiness is not independence but inter-dependence. We need each other. We belong to each other. We need community in our lives. God wired us to go through life not as a solitary individual but in community.
In Romans 12 we read, “In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. We need each other. Community is not optional. You may not feel it. You may feel like, “I’m very self-sufficient. I don’t need other people in my life.” But the truth is you absolutely have to have other people in your life if you’re going to be all God wants you to be.
Today I want us to start a journey on an even bigger idea. You can’t fulfill God’s purposes for your life by yourself. There’s no way. There’s no way you can be all God wants you to be, do all God wants you to do, fulfill the purposes you were put on this planet to fulfill by yourself. You have to do it in relationship to other people. We need each other and we belong to each other in the body of Christ.
One of my favorite all-time television commercials was by Cotton Inc. several years back. The commercial showed faces of children. There were white children and black children, Asian children and Native American children. There were boys and girls, one face at a time. Then the camera pulls out to show all these children with their teachers crossing a busy city street. The kids were hand-in-hand. Then a voice says, “We will never get anywhere unless we get there together.” I never figured out what the commercial had to do with cotton but its message was wonderful.
Tonight we are going to look at why we need each other. Why we need God’s family specifically the five reasons God says we need other people in our lives.
We need other people to walk with us. What does that mean? It means I need you to help me grow spiritually. In Colossians 2 we read, “So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught.”
We in the Christian Church often compare the Christian life to a walk. Why? Because we are on a journey. You don’t just sit still in life. We aren’t were we used to be. So we call the spiritual life, the Christian life, a walk. And, we were never meant to walk through life alone. This has nothing to do with whether or not we are married. We have lots of single adults in the Church who are very involved in deep, meaningful real community. There are also many married adults around us who are desperately lonely. Marriage doesn’t solve the problem, community does.
Some may say, what’s wrong with walking alone? I like walking alone. I can go my own pace, my own speed. I don’t have to wait for anybody. You may like it but you need others to walk with you. We need it because it safer. If you’ve ever walked down a dark alley by yourself, it can be scary. It’s safer to walk through life with others.
It is also supportive. It keeps us from giving up. We get the energy to keep going that we might not have otherwise. We sometimes say, “I can’t go on. I’m not going to be able to do this. I want to give up. But if you have other people walking with you, you can keep on going. There is an old Zambian proverb I love that says, “When you run alone you run fast. But when you run together you run far.” Good words. Life is not a 50-yard dash. It’s a marathon and the only way we make it to the end the way God wants is to have other people involved in our lives.
It is also smarter to go through life with a few close deep friends. You learn more by walking with others than by yourself.