If you read 1 Corinthians 12, you’ll see Paul describe believers as individual members of a single body. That’s why we commonly refer to the Church as the Body of Christ. The smooth operation of the whole depends not only on each part operating smoothly but on all its parts cooperating with each other.
The freedom Christ bought us doesn’t include living independently from other believers. (Feet don’t thrive hopping around without their torso and other body parts.) Neither are we to live so intertwined as to be codependent. (A body functions poorly when some of its appendages are glued together.)
We are, rather, to live inter-dependently.
God expressed some of this plan in His creation of the first human. As soon as He created Adam, God split him in two (Genesis 2:18-25). This created a potentially fatal situation. (Imagine splitting someone down the middle!) Neither half would survive unless they agreed to hold fast to each other. Which is exactly what God commanded them to do in Genesis 2:24.
Why didn’t God just keep His human in one piece?
I will make him a helper
In Genesis 2:18 God expressed His purpose: to create help. We’re made in the image of God, after all, and He is the greatest Helper of all. Starting with male and female, God built on the idea of having a family with interdependent members who would help each other.
He established Israel as a single nation built of many clans. He had Moses cover the Tabernacle in the Wilderness with many linen curtains sewn into one giant tent. He commanded its holy interior rooms to be framed with many gilded planks joined into single walls, its illumination to come from many lamps atop a single Menorah.
Many curtains—one tent. Many planks—one wall. Many lamps—one light.
In the New Testament, God’s family is described as a Vine with many branches, a building with many stones, and a body with many members. Together we form a living tabernacle, a living building, a living body that becomes a dwelling place for the Lord.
Simply being connected to Jesus joins us by default to the other members of His body. There is, however, an element of relationship-building that is left up to us.
I am a writer, for example. God has fashioned me to work well alone. I can go a long time without connecting unless I do it intentionally. Whether this feels “natural” to me or not, God has made it clear I must attend to relationships. I will not reach my full potential without being as vitally connected to the other branches as I am to the Vine, as attached to the other members of this Body as I am to its Head.
Some of us find relationship building easier than others, but that’s where some of our help is. He wants to live with a family, after all, not a bunch of unrelated strangers.
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV).
How easy do you find it to connect with other believers? What can you do to develop better relationships?