No Lone Rangers
Movies featuring The Lone Ranger, Rambo, Jason Bourne, Batman, James Bond, and Indiana Jones have taught us to appreciate the guy who by himself can walk into any perilous scenario and through wits and/or fists bring order. The setting may change, but in every situation, no matter how treacherous the obstacles, or how overwhelming the odds, the lone warrior perseveres and resolves the conflict (or at least knocks the stuffing out of all the bad guys.)
“…You are a member of God’s very own family…and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.” Eph. 2:19
Unfortunately many Christians have adopted this lone wolf mentality to their faith walk. They see themselves as the hero ordained by God to single handedly accomplish whatever task or fix every problem. They lose site of the fact Jesus is the hero; it may be your life, but Christ is the central character. Because Jesus calls the shots you must recognize His desire to use you as part of His team. He calls you to radical relationship with Himself, and also to intimate communion with His team: the Church.
If you are serious about being a disciple you will find yourself in direct opposition to this (unfortunately) popular statement: “I don’t need to go to church to be a good Christian.” What a completely unbiblical idea! God has in fact designed the church to be a body of believers working toward the maturity of all members (Ephesians 4:13), also His body is organized and empowered to do His will now on Earth as a witness to an unbelieving lost world. We are Heavenly Kingdom citizens united with one another working out our salvation and striving toward sanctification (Philippians 2:12). If we cut ourselves off from relating to other Christians we eliminate one of God’s key means for accomplishing our maturity and growth, as well as robbing God of the glory due Him through the Church’s witness. Sadly many Christians because of immaturity or disobedience see the local church primarily as a once a week meeting, they go only to get their perceived spiritual wish list filled. If you fall prey to the “Lone Ranger” mentality you will succumb to the erroneous belief the Church is mainly designed to meet your personal needs or equip you for solo battle. God wishes to use you in other believers’ lives just as surely as he intends to use them in yours. God may even choose to use difficult people at church to refine your character (and remember you may be someone’s difficult person.) We obediently attach ourselves to God’s church because we seek to glorify God as His Kingdom’s visible establishment now and as a preview of His coming Kingdom when it is revealed in its fullness.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4:11-13
If you are serious about growing as a Christian you need to have the right mindset about the weightiness of the call to Discipleship. The Church exists for the glory of God, the good of his people, and His mission to the World; it exists for God’s purposes not to fulfill ours. Meeting the high call of Discipleship is an impossible task to perform without God’s power and it only can happen within a committed body of believers jointly seeking to do God’s will. The Church should never be viewed as a man made institution; it is Jesus’ plan and power which maintains the Church. The Church does not exist to meet our perceived needs or to spiritually “entertain” us; it is where we experience true relationship with God and His people.