Lately, I have been on a mission to kill Christian individualism. What is Christian individualism? Generally speaking, it is the current state of Christianity in America. It is the idea that you can be a Christian and live independent of the Church. The people who have succumb to this epidemic are those who rarely, or sporadically, attend a Church service in person. Instead they are mavericks in their Christian walk. They replace the Christian community with internet sermons, Christian radio, or an email devotional. This may be a little harsh, but I have come to the conclusion that at the root of this problem are two things, ignorance and arrogance.
The Bible paints a very interesting picture for Christians. In fact, it is a publicists nightmare. It is a far cry from the prosperity that Joel Osteen loves to promote. The Christian walk as laid out in the Bible resembles more of a war than a walk in the park. Jesus himself warns the disciples that the world will hate them, and that they will face many trials and tribulations. As can be seen in Acts, His predictions come true. When reading the book of Acts you see imprisonments, beatings, stonings, and death by sword. In addition, we are told that Satan is prowling around like a lion shooting flaming darts and of the existence of ravenous spiritual wolves. On top of all of those warnings, there still remains our greatest enemy...ourselves.
With all this said, it seems spiritually reckless to attempt to go it alone as a Christian. Imagine a solider during World War I leaving the trench to take a leisurely stroll amongst the bullets. It is a death wish. However, this is exactly what Christian individualism promotes.
When Christian decide to go it alone, they are playing Russian roulette with their soul. With each morning that passes there is an opportunity for attack. When this onslaught occurs who do you turn to? Facebook? A blog? A podcast? Is this what Jesus intended when he said he was building his Church, the Internet? Of course not.
God is relational God, and his people are to be a relational people. Never once do you see a picture of a maverick Christian in the New Testament. They always live and move in groups. The Church is a prominent reality for their lives. Each day they gather together. The Church builds each other up, encourages, admonishes, teaches, cries, and rejoices as one, like you would expect a family would do. In fact, the love seen between Christians is one of the first signs of being an authentic Christian. Living independent does not display a love for others, it displays a love for self. Therefore, not only does walking alone risk your own spiritual health, it undermines your witness to the world.
On the cold and lonely night that Peter found himself chained between two prison guards the night before his scheduled execution in Acts 12, I am guessing that he was very thankful that he had a Church that was praying for Him, not just casually, but earnestly. If you are one of the maverick Christians walking around the war-zone of this world, it is time to wake up to the fact that you need the Body of Christ and the Body of Christ needs you. It is time to kill your Christian individualism.