In Christ we are never alone. Scripture reminds us over and over that God is with us. We are never abandoned, and we are never left to fight our battles on our own.
But sometimes it can feel like we are.
The presence of God is very real, and there have been many times in my life when after a prayer over a horrible situation, I’ve felt the peace that passes all understanding wash over me.
But there have also been times when I’ve desperately wished for another human being to reach out to.
God promised He would always be with us, but it was never His plan for us to go through life without any human contact. In the very beginning God decided He didn’t want man to be alone.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)
I don’t think it’s taking scripture out of context to say that this verse is talking about much more than marriage. From this union would come children and grandchildren. The first couple were told by God to make more of themselves, to fill the earth with people. In giving Eve to Adam, God gave all of us the gift of companionship.
In Ecclesiastes we see the same theme repeated.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
In the New Testament we find again the reminder not to isolate ourselves.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
We are so busy with our lives that we don’t have time for anyone else. We’re so focused on our needs and desires that we hardly notice those around us. We go through life with blinders on not recognizing the suffering of others.
We are fighting our battles alone, and we’re leaving our brothers and sisters to fight alone.
Everyone I know is fighting a battle. Everyone. I don’t know anyone who is just cruising through life taking in the scenery.
And you don’t either.
Maybe you’re thinking of someone who appears to have it made. That’s just it, they only appear to have it made. I promise you they don’t. I promise you that they’re battling something that you don’t know about. Because everyone is.
Just because they aren’t wearing their troubles on their sleeve, doesn’t mean they don’t have any.
We don’t see it because we aren’t looking, and we aren’t listening. Our lives have become all about us. What we want, what we need, and how everyone else can understand us better.
Our culture has become entirely self-centered.
But Christ followers are supposed to be different.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
What do these verses have to do with loneliness? With caring for the needs of others? With helping the hurting?
If you read the rest of the chapter you’ll see the answer is: everything.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12:3-5) (Emphasis added.)
We could sum these verses up this way; don’t be like the world, be like Christ. The rest of the chapter contains an instruction manual for how the members of the body of Christ should behave toward each other.
Don’t try to do everyone else’s job. (Romans 12:6-8)
Don’t show a false love. (12:9a) When our love for others is false, we present a false image of Christ.
Don’t focus on the bad; focus on the good. (12:9b)
Treat everyone like a brother. Give preference to each other. (12:10)
Don’t be lazy. (12:11)
Be hopeful. Be patient in hard times. Pray for each other. (12:12)
Meet each other’s needs. (12:13)
Even the ones that have done you wrong. (12:14) This is hard I know. Especially when you feel like they’ve gone too far.
But this is the essence of grace living. The first three chapters of Romans tells us we are all in the same boat. We are all guilty of the same crimes, and all bought with same blood.
The writer points out some very nasty sins, and then tells us that we are all just as dirty, and just as defiled. We are all covered with the same spots. Before we accepted Christ we were all equally messy. But the grace of God makes us all equally clean.
If God can forgive my sins, surely I can forgive a brother of sister when they disappoint me with their behavior. Grace doesn’t mean much to me if I won’t extend it to those that have hurt me.
Often those that hurt us, do so because they are hurting themselves. They are in pain and lash out because of it. They need to be shown real Christian love that puts others first.
In mirroring Christ we put our own needs on the back burner, trusting God to meet those needs, while we let Him use us to meet the needs of others. Christ told us to love each other the same way He loved us.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (John 13:34)
Christ loved us so much that He died for us. He laid down his life so that we could live.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
He calls us to love each other with that same intensity.
Most of us won’t be asked to die for the church. But there are other ways we give our lives.
We give our time, our talents, and our resources. We let someone else take the credit. We lay down our pride and forgive, or ask for forgiveness. This is presenting our bodies a living sacrifice. Our reasonable service compared to all that Christ gave up on the cross.
This is how we are not conformed to this world.
No one should have to fight their battles alone. No soldier in the army of God should be without the support of their fellow soldiers. The members of the body of Christ must learn to stand together, or we will fall alone. The way of the world is to look out for number one. The way of the church should be to look out for each other.