(Post by Cody Poinsett)
I’ve always considered myself to be an independent person. In fact, I’ve even been guilty of being proud of myself for refusing to ask for help. As I’m sure you can imagine, this has caused plenty of problems throughout my life. This shortcoming has never been more obvious to me than it was during my college years. My freshman, sophomore, and junior years were full of frustration and loneliness. My social life was mediocre, my mental health suffered, and my spiritual life was devoid of growth. That’s not to say that my life was in shambles or anything like that, but I was really just struggling to grow. It wasn’t until my senior year that I began to understand why I was having such a difficult time growing. Finally, after three years, I became invested in a community of men and women who knew me and were willing to push me. It just so happened that the vast majority of these people either came from the church that I began attending that year or from a community of people established through our Bible classes at school. These people began introducing me to new ideas and practices. They were asking me questions about why I believed what I believed. Ultimately, this led to me finding growth that would have been completely impossible in isolation.
This is one of the fundamental reasons that Christian community is so important. We are able to learn in grow in ways that become much more difficult to pursue in isolation. This is a big part of what is taking place in Acts 2. Luke writes about a community of believers who are deeply engaged in one another’s lives. Through these relationships, there came a community that was growing spiritually, serving the needs of those around them, and making a difference in the world. Things like this simply cannot be accomplished in isolation. This is the role of the church.
It took me a long time to realize that I can be incomplete because of another person. In fact, I’m not sure that I really, truly believe that now. Logically, I know it, but I’m not sure that I’ve accepted that in my heart. But, that’s the truth of the body of Christ. When we are missing one member, we’re lacking something important. When we gather together, we legitimately need every person to be with us. When we are missing people, we are incomplete because every person in the body of Christ has something to offer. Every single person in the body of Christ has a gift that can be shared. And, when we’re missing one person’s gift, we as a body are incomplete. This is why it is important for us to gather together regularly as a complete body. The more complete our body is, the more we will be able to grow. The more growth we experience, the greater our capacity to love will be.