Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Dangers Of Isolation

Christians are not isolationists. Perhaps there are times we would like to run away and join a monastery, or disappear from this world, but that would be in disobedience to Yahweh's purpose for us. Perhaps more of us can identify with Jonah than we may think. It would be easier if all we had to do was read our Bible, pray and keep clear of all things that are in rebellion to Yahweh, but we remain here for the opposite purpose. Jesus loves those rebellious things and first called us out from them to heal us and to send us back as messengers so others would know healing is possible.

So Christians are not to be isolated from the evils of this world and neither are we to be isolated from each other. Far too many Christians lack a good understanding of who we are, of what Jesus has done, of relationships and purpose. Christians spend far too much time critiquing each other's service instead of getting on with the mission. There is one single verse that reminds me that the Lord is occupied with his servants and his plan is for each to succeed:

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)

Yes, so we let the Lord do the correcting (unless we have been given the responsibility in leadership to bring correction), and we concentrate on standing shoulder to shoulder in the mission. No Christian has been called to work alone. No Christian has been called to be isolated from the Body. When we accepted Jesus we became a member of the Body, not a lone soldier, and so we work in teams to complete our mission. This is why Paul, the apostle with the great revelation of the Church, the Body of Christ, described the Church as a Body. We are each one unit, belonging to the whole.

If we decide to isolate ourselves for whatever various reasons we are tricked into believing, it is only the enemy cutting us off from the safety of the heard. In being cut off we become vulnerable and open to his attacks. Often he will not try to destroy our faith but to make it null and void with false teachings that take us over a cliff. I often use an example from the Old Testament to make my point on this subject, although it is clear from all the writings of Paul.

In Judges 18 we find a group of Jews who are trying to find a place to call their own. They come across a city that is described in this manner:

"They saw the people who were there, how they dwelt safely, in the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure. There were no rulers in the land who might put them to shame for anything. They were far from the Sidonians, and they had no ties with anyone." (v. 7)

They were easily destroyed because they had no one to stand with them. This is the danger of Christians who live in isolation from the Body of Christ. We were placed in the Body for a reason, because we need each other. We encourage and strengthen each other. Iron on iron, as the Word describes it, keeping each other sharp as we administer Jesus' love and compassion in a world that rejects him. Don't leave yourself open to attack and destruction; stand together in faith even if you are not in total agreement. Trust the correction to the Master while you serve with your brothers and sisters.

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