This past weekend Houston Baptist University hosted hundreds of people on campus for our annual Family Weekend. It’s always heartwarming to see students introducing their parents to new friends and showing parents around campus.
As I watched this familiar scene, I couldn’t get out of my head the fact that we need one another to live the Christian life. We need one another for growth, support, encouragement, and even, mysteriously, to honor Christ fully.
“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,” (Col. 2:2)
In fact, the church is more than a collection of individuals. The body of Christ as a collective fellowship has a singular identity in Christ, and thus there is also a responsibility upon the entire church as a whole to be faithful and pure (see I Corinthians 5).
We need each other.
The Christian life cannot be lived in isolation. We need worship. We need the prayers of others. We need teaching, correction, help, and a thousand other specific forms of Christian encouragement and resources that come – through others.
Isolation in College
And this truth, the fact that we need others, needs pressed and emphasized even more for today’s college students. This youngest generation of adults seems to be the most isolated generation in our history, even as they are the most connected. Why? Because they can stay in their dorm rooms and still think they are connected. Because of social media, text messaging, video streaming services, internet gaming, and more, college students can trick themselves into thinking that they have a community. While such digital connectivity is a nice convenience, it cannot replace the face-to-face connection of Christian community. You need others to see you and know you so that they can encourage and support you. You need others to help you grow.
Isolation in Transition
Another familiar pattern that plagues people, including college students, is the isolation that can develop in the midst of transition. When we move to a new place, new job, or even new church, it takes courage to step out and build new relationships.
This problem often comes up when students who grew up in Houston come to HBU. They have a community at home, and they don’t think they need a new one. But it’s important to have community where you are.
Often, new friends see us with different eyes and expect a maturity that parents, siblings, and old friends don’t expect. The development of new friendships is healthy. So step out in courage, and make some new friends, no matter the transition you’re experiencing.
Someone needs you.
And others need us. You may be the specific personal means whereby God renders comfort and blessing to another person. Think right now: who can you call, visit, pray for, or do some act of kindness for today? (Notice I didn’t say text. A text message can be a great encouragement if you have just a little time, but try to go beyond the text.) Who needs you? Someone does, I’m sure.
My challenges to you and myself
I have three challenges for believers this week:
- Meet with a fellow Christian. Share your struggles. Listen to and encourage them.
- Get plugged in to a church community in your area. Don’t skip the community aspect (the life group, community group, home group, etc.)
- Pray for the people in your community. Lift them up to the Lord by name.
We need each other in this Christian life. It was never meant to be lived alone.