Because we are human beings, made in the image of God, we love relationships. But because we are fallen human beings, rebels against God, we hate relationships. As Timothy Lane, in his book, How People Change, puts it, "We have a love-hate relationship with relationships." This "love-hate relationship with relationships" can often lead us to frustration and isolation. We retreat from others and convince ourselves that we can make progress in our faith alone. I'll admit there have been times where I thought I needed more time with Jesus but really needed more time with my fellow brothers in Christ. Instead of getting together with other guys, I felt the need to "get away" and be with God. Timothy Lane describes this as the "Jesus and me" mindset where we try to battle sin and become more like Christ on our own. It sounds super-spiritual, but it's really antithetical to God's plan of producing change in our lives. He himself is a community and wants us to be in community to make us more like Him. Again, Timothy Lane's words are helpful here:
Change is something God intends his people to experience together. It's a corporate goal. What God does in individuals is part of a larger story of redemption that involves all of God's people through the ages ... we must not take the change process out of the context in which God has placed it. We grow together!
Am I saying that it's never okay to get away and have solitude with God? No. We must take time to be with God alone and away from all the distractions of life. But as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book, Life Together (the inspiration for this blog), once said,
Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.
Do you want to change? Do you want to become more like Christ? I think the Scriptures are clear that change is a community project. Why else would God inspire his apostles to list so many "one another" commands? So I end with two simple questions. Do you want to change? If so, how are you pursuing community with other Christians?