We Need Each Other
I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. Philippians 1:27-28
I went to the gym the other day – where we exercise together as a group – an honestly, I didn’t want to do the assigned workout. It involved one-legged squats, which I seriously dislike. I’m bad at them and generally try to avoid them at all costs. The problem is, if I want to compete, I need to be able to do them. So, I did the workout and I got better. Yes, it was uncomfortable, but if I want to improve, sometimes I must put myself through the discomfort of growth.
Here’s the thing – I never would have done that workout on my own. I could have the best home gym that money could buy, and I still wouldn’t have put myself through that. Because I was at the gym with my friends though, I did it. I’m not claiming to be in phenomenal shape, but I can truthfully say that today, I’m in better shape than I ever would be without my friends. They make me better because we encourage each other to continue moving in the direction we all want to go. I need my friends.
In today’s passage, Paul described a similar necessity in our faith community. In it, he encouraged the Philippians to stand together, striving as one for the gospel. He knew there would be forces opposed to their work, but he also knew that together, they would find the courage to withstand whatever the world threw at them.
I’ve always thought that Alcoholics Anonymous peer support idea was a great example of how we’re supposed to live in community as Christians. In AA, we meet regularly with others who’ve struggled as we have. We share our hope, strength, experience, and success, and in doing so, we encourage each other.
If you’re familiar with my writing, you know that I have my group of guys with whom I meet weekly. Just like at the gym, with them, I push myself in ways that I wouldn’t otherwise. We share what’s going on in our lives, we correct the one who is wandering, we encourage each other, and we keep each other accountable.
Just like I’d be in far worse physical shape if I had to work out alone, I’d be in trouble if I had to walk the road of recovery alone. God made us to live in community with other believers. If we’re struggling, we shouldn’t do it by ourselves. In purposefully meeting with others who also seek transformation, we make each other better.