There was a time while Alex and I lived in India that I was asked to play my violin at the Tibetan school’s talent show where we were teaching English. I heartily agreed and started preparing a song with another American friend who would accompany me on the guitar. We met a few times casually to practice and I couldn’t help but wonder why it was so hard to play such a simple song. On the day of our performance, we tuned our instruments together and I discovered why I was struggling so much. My violin had been tuned to itself and was a good two octaves lower than it was supposed to be. That means I was playing by ear to fix the wrong sound and was totally unable to hear the difference till I was aligned with another instrument which had been correctly tuned. It’s a baffling thing when your “A” and their “A” make a totally different sound.
This analogy clarified to me the dire need we believers in Christ have for the body of Christ. The “dire” part is that when we are alone, not tuning ourselves to the Word with the accountability of brothers and sisters… we may not even know we are off. My violin strings were tuned to themselves and I could still play alone without even knowing they were off – until that guitar clarified what a tuned “A” sounded like. Then it was nearly impossible to play with my friend if I was not aligned with the same foundation. It is the same for us dear friends. We need one another speaking into each other’s lives and challenging our life ethic and theology to the Word of God.
We are but sheep. Dumb sheep. And alone, without the accountability and iron sharpening iron… we are MOST susceptible to wrong theology, lies from the enemy and pride. We are humans with the propensity to think that we are enough being a “Lone Ranger” Christian. It sounds like a highly spiritual thing to be! When in reality, the more alone you are, the more vulnerable to pride and the enemy you will become. We are so easily fooled into thinking that we know better than Christians in history or Christians in an organized church that we are led away from the safety net God gave us to keep us close to Him! His people. His kindness keeps us close to others.
For those of us who consider ourselves “conservative Christian” you may be part of or have observed the tendency to do things differently than the mainstream flow of things. You may homeschool your kids, you may choose a more natural way of eating and you may take the health of your family in a more “homeopathic” direction. These things are chosen because you believe there is a better way than the “mainstream” idea. And in fact – it is a very good thing to find what is best for your family. However – when it comes to the church… it can become a very dangerous thing to do.
Your church, both the leaders and the fellow members are there to clarify truth, call out sin and encourage the gifts God has given you to serve the body. While you may have experience of brokenness or leadership abuse within the church… it’s not a reason to retreat. It only further gives reason to be there as an active member of your body! They need you to call out sin and clarify truth as well. Do not fall for the lie that it is “safer” to do church alone. Being in fellowship with believers who are submitted to the Word of God IS God’s design of safety. It is an act of safety to have my sister come to me and remind me to rejoice in all circumstances instead of grumbling. It is an act of safety for our pastor to clarify on confusing or misinterpreted pieces of scripture. What grace we are missing out on when we pull away because it’s hard or because we don’t want to submit to each other in love.
I pray this is an exhortation and encouragement to seek out the community of Christ. Humble yourself before them and God and get connected! There is so much more of Christ to be had when we are sharing in His fellowship with other believers! There is abundant life to be had (and to be shown) through submitting to one another in Christ! We NEED each other.