Many years ago I had the opportunity to go skiing by myself.
I had a 20-minute responsibility to share a devotional at Park City Mountain Resort, but after I fulfilled my duties, I was free to ski the rest of the day.
But you know what? After a few runs I headed home.
Why? Because something was missing. I was skiing alone, and I realized that, for me, skiing is just as much a relational activity as it is a physical activity.
Bottom line, I felt lonely.
Prior to the fall loneliness didn’t exist for Adam and Eve.
- They had relationship with God
- They had relationship with each other
But the fall did a number on us when it comes to feelings of:
Sadly, there are hundreds of unhealthy ways to deal with these types of feelings, aren’t there?
Many of which can lead to greater pain and difficulty.
The truth is we were made for relationship. The great commandments of Jesus centered on two basic directives. Love God. Love others.
Now, there are times in life when it is God’s will that we be alone.
Jesus often peeled away from the crowd to spend time in solitude.
There may be seasons in our life where it’s meant to be just us and God.
But, by and large, we are meant to interact with others. The problem is that we may be tempted to salve our loneliness in some pretty unhealthy ways.
So what are to do?
God’s Word prescribes something called fellowship.
Fellowship can be defined as:
A companionable relationship that includes sharing deep personal experiences, giving and receiving love, experiencing joy with others as well as being united in times of need.
Truth be told, the concept of fellowship as defined above is not easy for most Americans.
Combating our feelings of loneliness are attitudes of independence.
As a result, we cam be surrounded by people, but our relationships are often shallow and superficial!
For example, in America if you ask someone to define success, most people would speak about careers or making money or achieving goals.
But very rarely do Americans define success in terms of relationship!
The Bible offers some great descriptions of the importance of relational fellowship. Here’s a set of verses I often include when I perform a wedding ceremony:
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! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 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 ESV)
The writer of Hebrews offered this advise to Christians who were being tempted to try and go the Christian life independently:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Let’s be honest, though. Relationships can be risky! There are a lot of reasons to avoid them.
But a lack of relationships is worse. Because we were made for relationship.
We just need to pursue our relationships in a way that honors God and His Word.