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Treasure Digest: God Is Not Creating a Race of Hermits

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Treasure Digest

God Is Not Creating a Race of Hermits

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God is in the process of building a loving family—not a scattered race of hermits. We were made to have deep, caring friendships with our physical and spiritual family members. God designed us to have the feeling of loneliness as a warning signal that we are insufficiently connected to our fellow human beings. It’s not sinful to feel lonely—but it’s meant to motivate us to change, not something that must be sacrificially endured.

We were not made for isolation from human contact, but for deep, intimate relationships (Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
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).

As Christians, we are to love one another as family (Romans 12:10 Romans 12:10Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;
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; 1 Thessalonians 4:9 1 Thessalonians 4:9But as touching brotherly love you need not that I write to you: for you yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
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; 1 Peter 1:22 1 Peter 1:22Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently:
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; 3:8; 1 John 4:7 1 John 4:7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.
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, 11). Our connectedness to Christ and each other is likened to being various parts of one human body (Ephesians 4:16 Ephesians 4:16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
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; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 No, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked. 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.
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), and Paul specifically points out that we need each other (1 Corinthians 12:21 1 Corinthians 12:21And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
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).

The notion that we should be isolated from human relationships and relate only to God comes from the gnostic notion that the physical universe is evil and that to attain a higher spirituality we have to disconnect from the material world and concentrate purely on God. This idea prevents healing in Christians who desperately need to grow in their ability to relate to others.

Christ lived among us, and suffered as a human being, so that He could experience firsthand what it is like for us. He gained a deeper dimension of compassion for us through this experience (Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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; 5:8). By learning to deeply love others and have compassion for them, we grow in one of God’s most important character traits. This is one reason for the existence of the Church (Romans 1:12 Romans 1:12That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
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; 2 Corinthians 1:4 2 Corinthians 1:4Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.
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).

God does not do everything Himself. He gives us opportunities to participate in what He is doing and to grow in His ways—by working through us (2 Corinthians 7:6 2 Corinthians 7:6Nevertheless God, that comforts those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
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Learning to love others is part of learning to love God (1 John 4:20 1 John 4:20If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
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).

We were made for deep, satisfying friendships—with God and our fellow human beings.

— Jay Turner
San Jose, California, congregation

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