ECCLESIASTES 4:9-11 – 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?
THEME OF THE DAY. DON’T DO THIS. The conversation went like this, “Hey, how is (name inserted) doing?” I waited a second for the response. “Oh, not very good. He stopped coming to church.” My reply, “What is up? He was being faithful.” “Yes”, but he told me, ‘I don’t need to go. I am getting preaching and spiritual things from the internet and social media’”. My heart sank as I said, “Cannot happen. There is no such thing as private Christianity and virtual fellowship is not God’s plan. He called us ‘not forsake the assembly of ourselves together’ (Hebrews 10:25) and the word ‘assembly’ literally means a visible gathering.” The conversation ended with these words, “Yes, I know. Hopefully the Lord will awaken him to the self-deception he is experiencing.”
Private Christianity is not Biblical Christianity. Yes, we become Christians individually but God spiritually grows us collectively. Like my friend in the opening paragraph, any Christian who thinks and lives isolated from a visible body of believers, and thinks they may maintain spiritual health and closeness to the Lord Jesus is living in a world of self-deception. God simply did not design us to “go alone” in the Christian experience. And should we attempt to do so, certain spiritual consequences will come. They are inevitable.
First attempting to live the Christian life alone removes the ministry of encouragement we receive from being in visible gatherings of other Christians. The Apostle Paul knew the value of “face-time”, not “Facebook” time – For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine (Romans 1:9-12). Now don’t misunderstand me. Using social media and the internet open great opportunities to share truth. We use both extensively in our church, but they are not to be substitutes for “in your face” fellowship. We simply cannot encourage the way the Lord would have us when separated.
Another spiritual consequence in attempting “Lone Ranger Christianity” is the lack of spiritual accountability with other believers. Read today’s scripture again. The implied principle is “life on life” accountability by “life on life” investment. Remove ourselves from spiritual relationships and watch how easily we play with temptation, dabble with sin, and find ourselves in a bad spiritual condition because of a lack of spiritual accountability through fellowship with other believers.
The final danger in “do it alone Christianity” is what happened to my friend in the opening paragraph – self-deception. James gives us a strong warning against this form of deception – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (James 1:22). Friends, if we are not obeying known commands, like being visibly together with other Christians, no matter how many internet sermons we listen to, blogs we read, or Facebook posts we ponder, there will be no spiritual growth. All spiritual growth stops when we neglect obedience to known commands of God. And here is the danger of self-deception; we may think we are spiritually okay but are not. A true sign of self-deception is a quick defensive spirit when confronted with something spiritually wrong in our lives.
Don’t do it. Don’t attempt to do contrary to what God commands – live the Christian life in private. He never designed our walks with the Lord to be private, yes, individual, but not private.
PRAYER: “Father, protect me from the danger of being self-deceived and think I can be a spiritually healthy alone.”
QUOTE: “Attempt the Christian life alone and you will fail, not if but when. God never intended private Christianity.”