Our need for other humans is central to God's eternal plan. In the second creation narrative in Genesis 2 God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18, ESV). As a point of emphasis this declaration was the only portion of creation that was not pronounced good by God (see Genesis 1:4; 10; 12; 17; 21; 25; 31). To fill this need for partnership God created the animal kingdom and Adam named them and assessed each as a suitable companion for life. You know the rest. God created Eve from Adam's rib and she was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. He equipped them to multiply and propagate the human species. Five or six thousand years later there are 7.8 billion humans. They are among our greatest blessings. And, at times, our most perplexing anxieties. Even so, we truly do need other people.
This is because none of us is the whole package. We have our individual strengths and abilities, talents, intellect, physical and emotional attributes, sinful nature, and a host of other unique assets and liabilities. Partnership with other human companions is our track to a more complete understanding of life. Pity the person who attempts to navigate the swift currents of this life alone. We were created to be linked to others.
And, that's been an issue over the past few months, The pandemic separated us more than any event in in recent history. Social distancing and quarantine ordinances forced us to the mean streets in basic isolation. Those human traits that put us at odds heated to extremes and relational emotions exploded in the streets. More evidence of how much we really need each other.
God assembles believers into the body of Christ, his church. Paul wrote, "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it" (1 Corinthians 12:27, ESV). Earlier he had affirmed that "God has arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose" (1 Corinthians 12:18, ESV). In the whole spread of New Testament teaching about living the Christian life it is presumed that Christians will grow, minister, and serve in the context of a local congregation. The influence of others is essential to living the life Christ envisioned for his followers. Other people, our faith traveling companions, are one of his miraculous provisions for when we are lost in the woulds, that is, living aimless, unintentional lives.
There are many "one another" passages in the New Testament, at least fifty-nine of them. They specify where others should rank in our life priorities, and the Godly interaction between believers who encounter life together. I've been impressed with an "infographic" on the blog site of Christian writer and marketing whiz Jeffrey Granz and his artist wife Laura. it's a great summary of the one another passages. They have graciously given me permission to reference it in the venue. You can access it here.
My point is simple. Each of us should experience the "one another" influence of fellow believers as we struggle to live more intentionally. If administered as intended in Scripture, the believers in our circle will love, serve, teach, instruct, pray for, correct, rebuke, encourage, stimulate, and perform other actions to help us when we're lost in the woulds. This life is best lived in community, the church. Companions in the journey will enable us to live purposefully, on mission, with greater intent. Hebrews 10:24-25, is especially notable as a "one another" encouragement when my life circumstances throw me off track---
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.
Lost in the woulds? Clarify your destination. Discover where you are in your Christian commitments. And, travel arm in arm with others navigating the same difficult currents. That's the stuff of living intentionally.
Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_2ndfloor'>2ndfloor / 123RF Stock Photo</a>