“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
When Jesus calls you to follow him on The Path, he calls you into fellowship with his people. You are at your best and strongest when you are in relationship with God’s people.
Relationships are at the heart of everything we do. God created us for fellowship with him and with each other. He designed us to be social and relational. It is a simple and timeless truth: Everything works better in life when our relationships are healthy and strong.
The famous proverb quoted above speaks to the way true friends challenge and encourage each other to grow and get better. When iron blades are rubbed together, each becomes sharper and thus more effective. Likewise, when people are deeply engaged in one another’s lives, they encourage and push each other to learn, grow, and change.
Solomon wrote a similar message in Ecclesiastes:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4.9-12)
Christianity is individual, but it is not individualistic. Don’t isolate yourself. Don’t be a lone ranger. Stay connected to the people of God. Stay connected to the community. “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” (Proverbs 18.1)
The Christian faith is about individual life in Christ as well as corporate life in Christ. Scripture does not contemplate a Christian disconnected from the fellowship of the church. The church plays an essential role in the spiritual growth and effectiveness of every Christian, and every Christian plays an essential role in the spiritual growth and effectiveness of the church.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12, the apostle Paul compared the Church to the human body, with different parts that are equipped to perform different functions. He says, “For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
The Message Bible translates it this way: “You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts — limbs, organs, cells — but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It is exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said goodbye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything.”
If you are a follower of Jesus, you are part of a very special community with a very special calling. You are part of a kingdom community. The Lord designed you to be in fellowship with his people. You need others and others need you. Collectively, we are agents of the kingdom.
Trust God and stay connected.