Growth happens together, not in isolation

'Tree Silhouettes' photo (c) 2009, John Morgan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The other day I was talking with some Christians, and someone said that she’s been disappointed in church, but she longs for those times when she “feels close” to God. Then someone else said, “Yeah I understand. And sometimes it’s just easier to grow in faith by yourself, focusing on your own relationship with God.”

As soon as I heard that, I went, “No, I don’t and I can’t agree to that. Let me explain…

“It is tempting to see spirituality as a pursuit that you do by yourself in isolation. Too often we make spiritual formation such a mystical exercise, and we overly uphold the virtues of solitude and meditation. But biblical spirituality is not like that…

“When you read the Bible from start to finish, God’s focus is on building a nation of priests, a people that He calls His own, and raising faith communities that encourage each other and grow together in unity. Think about those times in your past when you experience significant growth in your lives. Invariably, what comes to mind are people who were there, whether they were ones who mentored you, inspired you, walked alongside you, or were served by you. Our periods of intense growth are inevitably marked by the community we belong to (and by “community” I don’t necessarily mean “church” but people who you share your lives with)…

“It’s especially evident when you read the New Testament. Throughout the synoptic gospels and the epistles, most of the time, the reader is presumed to be a community of believers, not individuals.”

Ephesians 4:12-13 says that Christ is “… building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” This process of growth in faith and spiritual knowledge and maturity is meant to happen together. And that is indeed how we usually experience it in our lives.

I’m an introvert myself, so I struggle with this as well. But it’s clear what God wants. I also need to remind myself that I shouldn’t be a lone ranger, thinking I can just grow by myself. “Personal” growth is not necessarily a good goal to have. Don’t think of yourself as more spiritually mature than other people, because as a community, we all need to attain maturity together. We need to share our lives and lives our lives with each other and to grow together. It could be messy, but it’s worth it.

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One thought on “Growth happens together, not in isolation

  1. I believe that faith with God is a different walk for everyone. I think the person you are inside dictates the walk you will have, I have a great book that comes to mind by Riana Milne, she is a life coach as well. Live Beyond Your Dreams is the name, and her spirituality really comes through and creates a great read! rianamilne.com is her site, for the book info. But Seh really helped me in my journey with what she taught in her book…definitely a recommendation!

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