Why Christians Should Give Up Independence for Interdependence

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God’s Spirit indeed lives in each one of us, but there is another, indispensable dimension of encountering God as a result of our having been brought together with and joined to one another. God has placed each of us in the context of the larger body—whether we conceive of this in terms of our local Christian assembly or in terms of the global body of Christ—so that we could receive the benefits of what other Christians contribute to our lives and our walk of faith and so that we might contribute beneficially to their lives and their walk of faith. If we are to know, experience, and realize God’s vision for us, we need to lay aside the value of independence and embrace the New Testament vision for interdependence, each one with each other in the body of Christ, the household of faith.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Granted that we experience God’s presence both in our times of prayer alone and in times of worship in the company of fellow believers, how would you describe the differences, if any, between these two experiences? What dimensions of worship and of encountering God have you discovered in worshiping alongside others that you might not experience in private prayer?

Think about several Christians who have exercised a personal and beneficial impact on your faith formation or your life and who you have seen exercising such impact on the lives of others in the community of believers. How would you and how would the congregation have been diminished without their presence in the body? What have been some of your own contributions to the faith journey and the lives of other believers? How important are we to one another in this life of faith?

Closing Prayer for Session One

Almighty God, your Son redeemed us not to live in splendid isolation but to become one family together in him and to love one another as dearly as our blood relations, for we are all now related by the blood of Jesus. Grant us to grasp more fully the mystery that you have been working out in Christ across centuries and continents—the building of a single, holy temple for your dwelling, the ­fashioning of a single, well-functioning body—and help us to include ever more fully in our love and care the larger whole of which you have granted us to be parts. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the firstborn of your many sons and daughters. Amen.

If you’re ready to take community life to the next level, get the foundational study that will lead you into this deeper understanding of the Christian life. One Another by David deSilva paints the New Testament vision for our relationships, interactions, and interventions with one another in a local Christian community. This vision impels us to encourage and support one another, offering reinforcement for holy living that, according to the apostles, we owe one another as the people not only welcomed into relationship with God through Jesus Christ, but given as gifts to one another for this very purpose.

Perfect for:

  • Group leader training
  • Small group studies
  • Sunday school classes
  • Discipleship bands

In these pages you’ll:

  • Gain an appreciation for how we thrive in community
  • Wrestle with our command to receive from and contribute to others’ faith
  • Understand the biblical teaching on God’s people, the body of Christ
  • Be challenged to abandon individualistic versions of the Christian faith

Get One Another: The New Testament Prescription for Transformation book study and videos from our store here.

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David A. deSilva (PhD) serves as Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary. He is the author of two dozen books, including An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, and Ministry Formation, which has nurtured thousands of Christian workers in English, Arabic, Chinese, and Korean contexts. He is an ordained elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.

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