"Hi-yo Silver, away!!" That was the cry of the Lone Ranger as he would ride off into the sunset. Many of us think that our lot in life is to be that "Lone Ranger," spending life alone.
Alone defined means separated from others and while we are meant to retreat for short periods of time to be alone, we were never designed to live our life in that way. Religion has even perpetuated this isolationistic (I know that I probably just made that word up!) mindset through teaching that we are to separate ourselves from the world and singing songs like "Me and Jesus got our own thing going." And let's not forget the ever-so-popular "I have decided to follow Jesus" which declares 'Though none go with me... still I will follow."
We were never meant to live our lives alone. As a matter of fact, we will never come to know true freedom or come to full maturity in Christ outside of a loving community of faith.
In John chapter eleven, we find Jesus hearing about the death of a dear friend named Lazarus. As he arrives in town, he is confronted by the sisters of the dearly departed. He is so moved with compassion for this family that he asks to be taken to the grave site at which point he commands them to take the stone away from the opening. When they do, Jesus speaks to the dead friend telling him to get up and come out of the grave. To the surprise of the onlookers, out walks Lazarus.
Jesus treats us in much the same way. Until we entered into a committed relationship with Jesus Christ, the Bible says that we were all, like Lazarus, dead. Only we were spiritually dead. There came a time... for me when I was fourteen years old, when Jesus spoke into the grave of my life and commanded life to enter my spirit and I walked out into a brand new life.
Now this is where the story takes an interesting turn. Lazarus comes walking out of the grave but he still has the grave clothes wrapped tightly around his body so that he could hardly move. Jesus now turns to the onlookers and commands them to set him free. "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." (John 11:44)
It is like that in our lives as well! Jesus gives us life, but he delegates the process of freedom to the church. If we are alone, we have no one to assist us in taking off our grave clothes. We lack accountability. No one is there to ask the hard questions. And we have life in Christ, but we are still bound. Bound by habits. Bound by attitudes. Bound by wrong ways of thinking. Bound.
So, today I ask you, who is being the church in your life? Who has to right to speak to the areas of your life that are holding you back? Who asks you the hard questions?
And secondly, who are you helping to attain freedom? For whom are you being the church?
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