Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Created for Companionship

“Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone”- Gen. 2:18

Robert and I are enjoying the History Channel’s fascinating reality survival series “Alone”.  The show is a self-filmed documentary of 10 individuals who were dropped off in different places in the northern wilderness on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. They are completely isolated from each other and the outside world and must learn to live off the land with  just a few supplies.  Their only companion, so to speak, is their video camera and a phone to make a single call when they “tap out”.  The last one remaining wins a half million bucks.  

The first couple of weeks is primarily about setting up camp and figuring out how to survive, and some of them bail at this point. It’s been very interesting to see how those who master this challenge become introspective and start contemplating the reason for their existence. For some, the lure of  a hefty prize is overshadowed by their inability to be totally alone as they  realize that life without other people becomes  utterly meaningless.   
God understood this when he created Adam. Unlike the contestants on Alone,  the first man on earth was placed in a perfect ecological environment that had not yet been ravaged by the effects of the Fall. He was given  a Garden to cultivate with a wonderful food supply, harmless animals and birds to name, and had direct communication with the God who created him. And yet God said it was not good for him to be alone and so He made Eve. 
Our first parents were a prototype of a much grander theme that God had in mind when he sent his Son to redeem His Bride. Though God does not will everyone to be married, He has given us a beautiful picture through the institution of marriage between a man and a woman that reflects His relationship with His people (Eph. 5:22-27). This ought to encourage every Christian  as we remember that God did not intend for us to live in isolation regardless of whether we live alone or with others. As believers we  have corporately become part of His Bride, thus we are also members of one another. (I Cor. 12:12;  Rom. 12:5).  We were created so that we might enjoy companionship with God and also with His family. 

 I realized this in a fresh way recently when my husband was away for two months working in South Africa and  at the last minute I was unable to join him because of health problems. In 42 years of marriage we had never been apart for more than 3 days. I hadn’t anticipated how lonely I would be rattling around the house all by myself and was thankful for the  kindness and encouragement I received  from family and friends who were sensitive to my situation. In turn, the experience gave me more compassion for those who are truly alone or unable to get out due to infirmity.
I have known professing Christians who say they don’t need to go to church or to be around other Christians to maintain a vibrant faith, but this is contrary to Scripture (Heb. 10:25).  We are all like sheep and we need to stick together. Regardless of how discouraged we may become with the church when conflicts or disappointments arise,  it is imperative that we worship together and enjoy the mutual encouragement of our faith that  can only be found within the community of  believers.

Some Christians try to go to heaven alone, in solitude. But believers are not compared to bears or lions or other animals that wander alone. Those who belong to Christ are sheep in this respect, that they love to get together. Sheep go in flocks, and so do God’s people.” 1 ~ Charles Spurgeon

“We are all called to initiate involvement in each other’s lives… We covenant together to work and pray for unity, to walk together in love, to exercise care and watchfulness over each other, to faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require, to assemble together, to pray for each other, to rejoice and to bear with each other, and to pray for God’s help in all this. 2 ~ Mark Dever

Ah! were their souls fully assured that God had loved them freely, and received them graciously, and justified them perfectly, and pardoned them absolutely, and would glorify them everlastingly—they could not but love where God loves, and own where God owns, and embrace where God embraces, and be one with everyone who is one with Jesus. 2 ~ Thomas Brooks

1,  With the Word; Warren W. Weirsbe;  Thomas Nelson Publishers; 1991; pg 162
2,  Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Crossway, 2000, p. 221.
3. Heaven on Earth, Thomas Brooks, 1667  Ch.4. Grace Gems

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