Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Necessity Of Spiritual Relationships

1 SAMUEL 14:52 – There was hard fighting against the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he attached him to himself.

THEME OF THE DAY. THE NECESSITY OF SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIPS. It may seem strange to find an Old Testament book offering a clear and precise “blueprint” on successful Christian living. And it might even be more strange when that book is Ecclesiastes. Yet, it is true. King Solomon pens some of the wisest counsel ever given to those who want to obey the Lord, enjoy the Lord, and make a difference in life for the Lord. His words are, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). Within this gem of wisdom are two things necessary for a Christian if they want to be spiritually healthy And they revolve around intimate, life-on-life relationships with other Christians.

First, Solomon warns us of the danger of falling if we try to live life alone or isolated – “Woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.” Notice the king doesn’t say, “If one falls” but “when one falls.” Friends, God never created Christianity to be a “lone ranger” endeavor. Joel Beeke in his book Striving Against Satan wrote, “Christians need each other. Remember, lone rangers often become dead rangers.” It is the height of self-deception and folly to think we can mature in the Lord and fight successful spiritual warfare apart from intimate fellowship with other Christians. Isolated Christians will be failing Christians. They may not think so and even attempt to justify “lone ranger spiritual experiences”, but the Bible is clear – Christians need Christians. Christians need to be praying with other Christians. Christians need to be under the sound public proclamation of the Word. To ignore these clear commands of God will only lead to spiritual disaster and defeat. One of those signs of disaster and defeat will be the self-deception to think one can be right and healthy before the Lord apart from growing intimacy among Christians. And as a reminder, God’s plan is for these relationships is to be primarily in and through the local church.

The second lesson from Solomon applied in our spiritual relationships is they promote mutual zeal and affection for the Lord. He writes, “Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?. Let’s face it. We grow spiritually cold. We experience times of spiritual indifference. We don’t like those seasons, but they happen to all Christians. One of the surest ways to make them short and even drive them away is to stay close to other believers who are not lukewarm or indifferent. Spiritual zeal is contagious. When spiritual dryness comes, don’t stay away from church, prayer meetings, and other Christians. That is the time to INCREASE TIME with them. It will keep our own hearts warm and zealous for the Lord. No Christian can maintain the spiritual heat of affection for the Lord Jesus alone in an isolated, privatized, spiritual cocoon. God never intended His people to live out their faith in Him in such disobedience.

As the world continues to be a difficult place for Christians, we are going to need MORE TIME together, not less. The devil and the world will intensify their attacks on Christians and the church. One of the most important and necessary disciplines of delight to safeguard and practice is having spiritual relationships. We need each other. May God protect us from attempting to be “spiritual lone rangers” . . . nothing ever good comes from such practice.

PRAYER: “Father, help me to realize I was not put into Your Son to live a private faith in Him.”

QUOTE: “Christians living out their faith in a private, individualized manner either deny or are ignorant of true Christianity.”