My country esteems “rugged individualism”—the idea that truly strong people do things on their own. The icon of this peculiar value was the Lone Ranger, a famous fictional cowboy of radio and the silver screen, and a solitary masked hero that protected others from harm. But it’s interesting to note that the Lone Ranger was hardly alone. He had a trusty horse named Silver and a constant companion named Tonto. Because of this, the supposedly “Lone” Ranger had more friends than many people do!
As poor as this title was for the Lone Ranger, it’s even more so for believers in Jesus. We’re to be anything but alone! The apostle Paul compared the church to the human body made up of many parts, declaring, “each of you is a part of it”(1 Corinthians 12:27). And yet, time and time again, we try to live our Christian lives on our own, playing the role of a body part that simply doesn’t need the rest of the body (1 Corinthians 12:19-21).
At the end of 1 Corinthians 12, Paul provides a clue about how we can resist the tendency to go it alone: by remaining on mission. Individualism is an illusion made possible only by inactivity. But when we’re living out God’s mission, it becomes abundantly clear that no one person can do the entire work of the church. Instead, we need all the gifts of the entire body to carry out God’s call to make disciples and preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 12:28-29).
So long as we remain committed to living out the Great Commission given to us in Matthew 28:18-20, it becomes clear that there’s no such thing as a “lone” believer in Jesus. We love and worship a God of relationship. And He’s designed us to interact and experience fellowship with Him and other believers.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 Samuel 8:6-22
Read Romans 12:3-5 to see how Paul ties our relationships with other believers to the value of humility.
What are your individual skills and spiritual gifts? How does God want you to use them?