Faith is a “We” Thing - Reflections
November 7, 2018 | Chris Van Huss
As a young kid growing up in the early 80s, long before the age of political correctness, the image of a masked man on a white horse riding across the western plains with his trusty American Indian "blood-brother" and sidekick captivated my imagination. The Legend of the Lone Ranger (an admittedly terrible film adaptation of a much better tale) reverberated deeply within the heart of a young and impressionable young boy. (I don't fully remember, but I probably wanted the metal lunchbox and plastic thermos that went with the movie as well.)
The thought that someone could come out of the wilderness and challenge all evil-doers and win single-handedly had me mesmerized. It matched up well with the U.S. culture of the day, one who advocated making the most out of every opportunity and becoming a self-made person. This story better than perhaps no other represented the pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstrap mentality that had made the U.S. great. America was the land of opportunity, and the ability to overcome all obstacles was within reach of all who worked hard enough or smart enough within their private worlds.
Then what happened? Simply put, I grew up. The older I got, the wiser I became (at least in theory). I soon learned that the world was not as simple as the movies made it out to be. I learned quickly that most lone rangers don't last very long in this world. More importantly, I learned that as a sinner, I was in need of God's grace and mercy. The Bible makes this very clear when it says in Romans Chapter 3 verse 23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (NIV) God knew that we could never make it on our own, so He sent Christ to die on the cross so that we wouldn't have too! Through the shedding of His blood, Christ became our "blood brother" so to speak and even sent the Holy Spirit to guide, comfort, and direct us until His return.
Sadly, too often in the Church, we forget that we were never meant to walk this faith thing alone. We forget that Jesus' Spirit is with us always. We forget that our faith is designed to be lived out in a relationship with other believers. We refuse to model our ministries and discipleship after New Testament examples and instead isolate ourselves from others. This can happen on an individual basis or church-wide basis as well. We get so caught up in "doing our own thing" that we forget that the Church is supposed to be one Body, adhering to one Faith, united in one Baptism, serving one LORD.
So how do we respond? How do I as a Bible-believing Christian respond to this challenge? The answer lies in obedience. We obey the words of scripture and practice the unity in the faith that Christ demands. We pay attention to what our brothers and sisters are doing around the world - reading their newsletters, writing to them, providing financial support, praying for them, and taking time to fellowship with them. We visit them in the field or when they are in areas near us at events such as ICOM (International Conference On Missions) www.theicom.org. We remember them, partner with them and encourage them so that, as Paul writes in II Timothy:
"the proclamation [of the Gospel] might be fully accomplished and that all the Gentiles might hear." (4:17 NASB).
Lastly, we respond to the admonishment of the writer of Hebrews who exhorts us to:
"hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who is promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near." (10:23-25, NASB)
"Hi Ho Silver - Away," but not alone.