One of the most dangerous things a Christian can do is neglect the body of Christ. No army wins a battle with just one soldier. No team wins a game with just one athlete, no matter how skilled he or she is. Yet it seems so easy for us to think that we can function properly as Christians on our own. Christianity is certainly personal. We must repent and believe as individuals. We must pursue a deep personal relationship with Christ on a regular basis through private prayer and the Word. But Christianity is never merely personal. According to the New Testament, Christian spirituality cannot be separated from corporate reality.
In Sound Doctrine: How A Church Grows in The Love and Holiness of God Bobby Jamieson reflects on the 1 Corinthians 12, one of clearest pictures of Christian growth as a “team effort”:
As members of the same body, we can’t separate ourselves from the body, as if the body doesn’t need us: “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body” (v.15).
As members of the same body, we can’t live autonomously, independent of the other members: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you'” (v.21).
As members of the same body, we must care for all the other members: “But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another” (vv.24-25).
As members of the same body, our lives are tightly interwoven. We rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep: “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (v.26).
Maybe you (like me) are prone to individualism in your Christian walk. If so, fight against the tendency toward a merely individual Christianity. Pursue community in the local church “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood” (Ephesians 4:13).