Wednesday
Apr082009

It Is Not Good That Man Should Be Alone

After observing creation a while, God looked at Adam last of all and decided, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18).

God crowned creation with Eve, a companion perfectly suited to Adam, who like most men, craved and thrived upon the company of others. Man is a social beast, a creature made unhappy when left to himself. Where he finds romantic and procreative companionship in the opposite sex, he finds friendship and solace in people of all sorts.

It is not good that man should be alone. When it came time for the cross, God saw fit to add the redeemed daily to a church – a universal body of believers, but also a local collection of those who shared a common, precious faith (see Acts 2:41-47, Second Peter 1:1). “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common” (Acts 4:32). Friends thus became brothers: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). 

Churches became communities within communities as the faithful assembled for worship and grew to depend upon one another for assistance and encouragement. From Christ, “the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).

Sometimes a Christian today prefers to go it alone, to eschew the church and worship privately, never to identify himself with any local group. Some know they are living in some sin and hope to avoid detection and censure. Others are simply bashful. Whatever the reason, a vital part of God’s plan for sustaining the believer is tragically dismissed. In the local church, one finds companions who can help bear life’s burdens – and who need others to help them as well (see Galatians 6:1-5). “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 … 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).

Involvement in the local church promises encouragement, consolation, and, yes, occasionally, when necessary, correction. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend … Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:6, 17). God did not design man for solitude: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment” (Proverbs 18:1). Involvement in the local church is a necessary part of discipleship by which one both gives and receives edification. There is no substitute.