…equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. Ephesians 4:12 NIV
Our Western society is very big on the individual. People are encouraged to find their personal fulfillment and to strive for their dreams. The Bible has a very different perspective. We are part of the body of Christ and, as such, intertwined with the lives of other believers. We share each other’s sorrows and rejoice with each other’s happiness. Christianity is a religion based on relationships and is fundamentally a group experience. Our primary relationship is with God but we are also called to love others. In fact, John says that the authentic Christian must be proven by his love for the brothers.
I have come across people who want to be solitary Christians. They like many of the teachings of Jesus but they don’t particularly like people. Jesus, however, was all about people. He reached out to every kind of person: prostitutes, tax collectors, fishermen, leaders of the Synagogue. He loved people that society thought of as “bad” and he loved people that society thought of as “good”. There wasn’t anybody that Jesus turned away. Jesus really cares about people and if we want to be Christians, we have to care about people, too. Not just in a theoretical or arms’ length way, but in a close, personal way even if it is challenging. Our purpose is to build up the body of Christ, not to build our own little kingdom.