There are times when I wonder if I should be a hermit so I could be quiet and introspective. Then there are other times that I am glad I am in a community of believers where I am nourished and fed spiritually as well as emotionally and socially.
When we were in Colorado we saw the quintessential example of one who apparently preferred their own company to that of others.
Here, in the high mountains of Colorado, stands a house with a chasm between the roadway and the front door. It is not a gentle slope that one could walk down and then up to get to the house. Oh no, it is truly a chasm. It reminded me of the castle of yesteryear with the moat around it and the gate that came down thereby allowing visitors to enter the castle or, conversely, to keep them out!
There was no gate that opened allowing passage over the chasm at this house – rather it had its own bridge. Look at the picture carefully and you can see the green bridge from the road to the cabin.
When we returned home, Bill found out that this cabin has a name — Thoreau’s Cabin. A real estate brochure description of the place says this:
FULLY FURNISHED log cabin located along the national “Alpine Loop Scenic Byway”. … Spectacular setting in the rugged San Juan Range of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Dramatic Mountain views in every direction; cabin is surrounded by 13,000 foot mountain peaks. … Cabin is located on five private acres at 11,450 foot elevation in Hinsdale County, Colorado. Cabin borders the 102,000 acre nationally designated “Uncompahgre Wilderness” area. Henson Creek runs through the property with views of multiple scenic waterfalls. 150 foot long suspension bridge over Henson Creek provides access to cabin via private parking area.
The brochure (that has more pictures) was accessed February 14, 2017 and can be found online at http://lakecitycoloradorealestate.com/15001-County-Road-20-a153865.html.
A disclaimer here — I am not making any comment about the people who live there. I don’t know them and I don’t even know their name. I can say that I completely appreciate their selection of the view that they have from their home – it is incredible. I can also say that I would try to insure that I had enough food to last me through the winter because I would not want to be driving that road with the snow and ice that most certainly would come in buckets! And, finally, I would note that someone would have to carry me across that bridge since I suspect my legs would give out at the first step!
However, in all seriousness, I am looking at this view and thinking about those Christians who assert that it is possible to maintain a strong Christian life without associating with other Christians. They build walls around themselves, excluding others from sharing their Christian walk. They purposefully set themselves apart from others so that they have no, or very limited, interaction with them. In so doing, they deprive themselves of the encouragement fellow believers could give them. They preclude others from giving wise counsel so as to prevent error in their doctrine. They miss out on the celebration of joys that others have, and they miss out on the personal joy that comes from helping others in need. Most of all, they voluntarily extract themselves from the Body of Christ.
Luke, the writer of the book Acts in the Bible, said:
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Acts 2:42 ESV
That is the description of the early church. And each believer, even in 2017, should follow this pattern. Meet together with other believers for worship, for teaching, for the fellowship, for communion and for prayer. Don’t try to go it alone.
Each person’s relationship with Jesus is individual and no one, not even your own parents or spouse, can receive Jesus into your heart nor can they put their Christianity over you like a blanket. That being said, Christianity is not a solitary lifestyle. It is a life in unity with Christ and with other believers.
Here is a parable that illustrates this point:
The story is told of the man who did not go to church and who lived alone.
Although he had attended church in the past, that was a long time ago and he did not see any reason to go now.
The new pastor came to visit him and the man silently opened the door and gave a mute welcome, gesturing to a chair in front of the blazing fire. The minister entered and sat down. Both men rocked in front of the fire without any words being exchanged.
Finally, the pastor took the fireplace tongs and grabbed a blazing coal, taking it out of the center of the fire and putting it on the edge of the fireplace. Still there was no conversation.
After a time, the coal that had been blazing was nothing but a lump of partly burned wood, no blaze, no heat, just some distasteful smoke arose wafting toward the ceiling.
Silently, the two men looked at the coal for a few moments when the pastor took the tongs and replaced the coal into the fire. Within moments the coal, that seemed to be dead, was blazing and providing heat and light to the room.
The pastor stood up and, rising slowly, the old man stood: “I’ll be in church on Sunday morning, Parson.”
A coal cannot continue burning when taken out of the fire.
The Christian cannot grow in a holy life without corporate worship, prayer and fellowship with other believers.
I pray that you are in communion with other Christians often, that you pray for them and support them with encouragement, assistance and love. Enjoy peace and quiet but don’t forgo Christian relationships as you study, sing, worship and pray together.
Blessings to you, this day.
Father, thank You for giving us the Church, the Body of Christ, so that we can worship You and we can grow in our faith, in our understanding of Your Word, and in our transformation into the likeness of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior.
2 thoughts on “A CHRISTIAN LIFE – IS IT SOLITARY OR IN COMMUNITY?”
Thanks so much for your comment, and I am thankful that you found the blog. I pray that it will be an encouragement to you. I’m not a spring chicken either, and I can understand the angst that accompanies any kind of change, especially when it comes to matters of faith and spiritual community. Be assured, I will be praying that the Lord will lead you to find the place where you can worship in spirit and in truth.
Thank you for this post. After years of floundering in and out of solitude, I’m trying to find where I can fit into the Body of Christ. There’s a long story behind this, which I will not go into. It is absolutely not a solitary affair, and it’s difficult as well from the perspective that I’m married to someone who’s joined a certain sacramental church, which – although I have tried for about 4 years – I feel has numerous unscriptural practices which I cannot embrace. Nor are we exactly spring chickens. So this makes my challenge even more difficult. But I also am put off by the online encounters with people who think thy have some sort of “higher calling” to be alone with God, as they frankly seem to look down their noses at other Christians. In fairness, some have been hurt by a church.
So keep up the good work here on your blog , which I just happened to find doing a search on the subject. Pray for me and all of us who struggle with this. Reinventing the wheel is no longer an option. Thanks, and blessings to you!