Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Business of Being Alone...

I spent the past few weeks visiting my previous home in Kentucky. It was the most delightful couple of weeks. What was so amazing to me was that, in just a few short days, I found myself  feeling so much lighter and restored. I would find myself, quite often, in the middle of these beautiful and inspiring conversations. We talked about the Lord, politics, holiness, great beer....everything....we left no topic untouched. Well, we didn't really talk about toddler pageants. Best to just let that hot topic stay on the shelf....don't want to offend anyone. But it wasn't until about a week into my visit that I realized just how starved I had been for these moments. When I came to Nashville, I knew the Lord was letting me walk into the wilderness and I went willingly. I suppose, thought, that I hoped against hope that community, like what I had just left, would eventually rise up from somewhere and that I wouldn't have to spend the entire duration of my time here alone. Alas...this was not the case. Besides my family, I have exactly one friend who actively participates in my life. She is also my boss, but I would like to think we'd be friends anyway. She has a family and a social life of her own so naturally, she is not sewn to my hip and available to be at my beck and call every waking moment of the day. The majority of my free time is spent alone. This is quickly revealing itself to be a dangerous happening. I get absolutely starved for affection,conversation and depth. I ache for someone to remind me of the goodness of God. I crave it. I devour it when its before me. I don't feel I function well without other people around me. Here's the thing I think most Christians...and hell...non-Christians for the matter, need to wrap their heads around. We need each other. Community is vital. Love is the glue. The Bible talks about how the enemy is looking for someone to end:

"6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen" 1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV



God knew the importance of companionship. That's what Eve was sent for. And exactly why the
enemy plotted to destroy her. He's a predator, looking to corner us when we are alone and weak and tear the flesh from our bones. We are all under attack ( see the verse above). If we ban together, surround one another, protect each other...he has no room to single out the weaklings because we have the strength and power of unity to defend us.

"Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Ecc. 4:9-10

I see so much division happening right now. Sadly enough, I feel a lot of this lately has had to do with politics and ego.It makes me sad that we cannot have conversations without starting wars. I see the church moving further and further from each other because of this. And from non-believers as well. But here's the thing church: we need them too. We need them to know the love we have found so that the darkness won't win.Love is not conditional...its not something we dish out to those who are like-minded. Its a gift to be freely given. We cannot allow our opinions and politics to bring a sword between us.We can differ in these things and still love each other. If you disagree with your brother based on convictions the Lord has established in your heart, than earnestly pray for him and let your life be a witness to your convictions. Live what you believe. It speaks so much louder than words. The Word of God,folks, in its ENTIRETY.That is our conviction. We cannot forsake one part of it to prove our point. Love is first. If you need to speak out, do it in love, not because you want to be right and feed your ego. Say it because its life to someone. But don't let your anger be unrighteous and destroy what you've built. We need each other. We need to stand together. We need to lift each other up. We need to live life together...raise our kids together...share meals together. We need to act like family. The body of Christ is not furthered by bullying but by an invitation to feel loved and wanted. We cannot survive as a singular being. We weren't meant to. Accountability and camaraderie are vital to the spirit. We need a witness to our lives. We need someone to bear witness to its fruit and send a cautionary word when its lacking. Friends....we need friends. We need Jesus and each other. End of story.

"Therefore, brothers,since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

37 For,
“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls."  Hebrews 10: 19-39 ESV