There is no such thing as an autonomous Christian who stands alone with no need for others and no obligation to anyone.
To be called a Christian, by definition, means being a part of Christ’s body, the church.
Every Christian must be in fellowship with other believers and is counseled by Scripture to do so. Hebrews 10:24-25 says,
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Six out of the ten commandments are directed toward our relationship with others, which in itself is profound. Why would God show us how to walk in love with one another if it was perfectly fine and acceptable for us to avoid deep and meaningful relationships with other believers? He wouldn’t. God desires His people to meet together, encourage each other, and love each other.
When Jesus prayed,
Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one – John 17:11.
He was praying for the power of unity as one Body with other believers. We, joined together in fellowship with other Christians, are unified in one mission, one heart, and one spirit. As a single Body we are called to walk together toward the will of the Father. Our desire is not to please ourselves only, but to please the One who reconciled us to Himself. Fellowship with other Christians is not optional for the Christian, and it is necessary for a healthy, biblical life.
A marriage after God recognizes the necessity for godly, biblical Christian fellowship where a husband and wife are known intimately by other believers.
Once we let down our walls of insecurity and began sharing with other Christian married couples what we were facing, we became known. Our struggles became known and our sin became exposed. Through our vulnerability, other Christians were then able to empathize with us, but also offer comfort, suggestions on how to overcome our struggles, and exhortations on repenting and reconciling. When we became known, we felt a deep level of concern and love from these other believers. This affirmed our ability to be transparent. Our experience stripped away the fears of what others would think of us and our anxieties about sharing what we were facing.
Jesus taught us that unity was what the Father’s heart is for His people. In John 15:5 He says,
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Jesus calls Himself a vine, and He calls us His branches, both of which are pieces of a whole. In nature, there doesn’t exist healthy, thriving branches floating around. Rather, what is seen are healthy, thriving branches connected to the main stem of a plant or trunk of a tree, which is rooted with a strong foundation. If there are branches that are found in nature, disconnected and alone, it is either dead or in the process of decaying. In 1 Corinthians 12:27 Paul tells us that we “are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” How can we say we are a branch if we are not growing next to other branches? How can we call ourselves members of the body of Christ if we are not connected to the other parts of that same body?
In chapter 2, we talked about Satan’s war on our effectiveness. One way he will destroy your effectiveness is to convince you and your spouse to walk in complete autonomy and to hide from other believers. The devil knows that when believers get together and walk together, they will strike blows into his kingdom. Not only that, but as you walk in unity with the body of Christ in community, you become strong and less vulnerable to attack.
We know why people tend to avoid true biblical fellowship, because we used to avoid it too. We know these types of relationships can be messy. We know the possibility and likelihood of hard, uncomfortable conversations. We know that with being known comes accountability, and with accountability comes change, which can be painful. We know that being known can seem terrifying.
However, since experiencing the power of true community and fellowship with the Body of Christ, we have come to know so much more of the good that comes from walking this way, in contrast to walking alone and isolated from the Body. We know the benefits of iron sharpening iron. We know the intrinsic value of being needed and being provided for. We know the good that comes from being known, and we are no longer afraid of it.
We desire this same knowledge that comes through experience to transform you and your marriage as you and your spouse walk in unity with the Body of Christ. Do not be afraid of it. Do not be convinced that you can live without it. Not only is fellowship with other believers an incredible benefit to the refining of your marriage relationship, but it is also where you and your spouse will discover an extraordinary opportunity to serve and love others in Christ through the ministry of your marriage.
Excerpted with permission from Marriage After God by Aaron & Jennifer Smith, copyright Aaron Smith and Jennifer Smith.
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We, as Christians, are called to be one Body. We are empowered, strengthened, made healthy, and transformed in part by acting in unity. How have you seen that happen in your own marriage or in your own life if you are a single person in the Church community? Share with us on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily