7 Billion people in the world, yet the world can feel like a lonely place. People today are growing lonelier and lonelier. A Gallup poll actually stated that, “Americans are among the loneliest people in the world.” In the midst of our crowded existence we are living lonely lives. This is an unhealthy reality in our culture, one that we should be concerned about. At work, the gym, our schools, our church, we see people everywhere. Traffic, trains and shopping lines…not to mention our Facebook…It all gives us access to people. So why the loneliness? Steam-rolling our way to “success” (whatever that means today), many people no longer have time to develop deep, meaningful relationships. The paradox is that through social media we are growing more and more connected, yet farther and farther apart. Many people have chosen to live in a bubble and live life alone. The Jesus Mind takes pride in building relationships, not being isolationists. We were created for relationships!
Jesus Mind Principle #13: Get Connected
Genesis 2:18 “It is not good for man to be alone.”
God said this before the Fall, before sin, before rebellion and the likes of evil. After forming us in perfection (His image), He still saw a void in man. It wasn’t a God-sized void either, one that He could fill. It was human sized. Man and God were perfectly aligned relationally, but God revealed His will for us to be a community…a created community that will not only need Him, but will need each other! The Jesus Mind values relationships. It values community not avoids it. So many mornings in the busy streets of NY, i walk past dozens of people in my neighborhood who say nothing to me and I say nothing to them. When I feel like it, I will say good morning and often times receive a silent & bizarre look or an uncertain hello without any eye contact. This may be the same people who can write 20,000 words via text or Facebook in a single hour, but I can barely get anything from them in person. Community is a big deal to God and if we desire to advance as a human race
, this basic fulfillment must be prioritized in our hearts again. The government is not responsible for community development…we are. An architect described how more homes are intentionally being designed to promote privacy and seclusion. In the past, the American front porch existed as a “zone between the public and the private, an area that could be shared between the sanctity of the home and the community outside.” People avoid “running into” their neighbors today. We’ll live next to someone for 10 years and not know ONE thing about them. I believe this is one of the reasons why terrorists, rapists and other blinded people slip through the cracks…the community isn’t watching. Big Brother and government surveillance has to do the job we should be doing. I’m not saying we ought to snoop around and play private eye in people’s lives. I love privacy and alone time, especially at home. But I believe we should live with a sense of responsibility to share our time, our charisma and a portion of our lives to those in our reach. Our days are harder. Our commutes are crowded and longer because of this. When I strike up a conversation with others on my way home, the trip home doesn’t feel as grudging.
Money, achievement, books…God Himself is no substitute for human relationships. We all long for it, crave for it. But our present consumer-focused, preference based “me-me-me” world trains us to forget the simple and most fulfilling things in life. You can’t love or feel loved from afar. You have to reach for people. And be courageous enough to let people in. Sure you want to stay protected but when you live authentically as yourself, people who don’t like YOU will leave you alone and those who do will stay. It’s really that simple. But if you sit on the sidelines of life and believe all you need is “Jesus” to have an abundant life, you are sadly mistaken. God Himself does nothing alone. He exists as 3 beings operating in total unity. He is a God of community! (SEE Genesis 1:26 “Let US make man in our image”; Genesis 11:7 “Let US go down and confound their language”; John 17
:1 Jesus prayed to the Father)
Even deeper, in John 17, we see Jesus’ final prayer before He went to the cross. This is one of my favorite chapters because I believe it revealed the most pressing desires on His heart. It was like His dying wish, the last thing He wanted to see happen. In this prayer to His Father He focused on us not Himself. He prayed for unified connection within His people.
“I pray that they will all be one as you and I are one…And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:21)
Jesus stated that the credibility of His life and message will be stamped in the hearts of unbelievers not through preaching, but how well we learn to connect with each other. If we learn to master being a created community, one that reflects the community of the Godhead and loves one another, a watching world will be attracted to the reality of Jesus. Jesus also mentioned that people will know we are His disciples when we have love for each other. (John 13:35)
To live with The Jesus Mind
you have to fight living a life of isolation. In his book “Creating Community,” Andy Stanley
describes 4 ways isolation negatively impacts your life.
- Lost perspective (Depending only on your POV keeps you limited in personal growth and unaware of opportunities around you)
- Fear of Intimacy (This fear causes you to reject anyone getting close to you and forces you to sabotage any good relationships when they show up.)
- Selfishness (When you’re disconnected you become self-absorbed and self-centered. God opposes the proud.)
- Poor Health (Researchers found lonely people are 3 times more likely to die faster than people who have bad health habits (smoking, drinking etc.) but have strong social ties.)
Being alone does not make you strong. In many people it leads to alcoholism, suicides, chronic depression and other serious issues. Sheeps are never attacked when they are in herds. They are attacked when they are isolated, and alone. We must do life together. People aren’t perfect, and newsflash…you aren’t to. Your community needs the Jesus in you. Become intentional about connecting to people. It’s the only true mark that you have become connected to the Father and have The Jesus Mind.
Success today will occur at the speed of connection! No one cares about you unless you care to connect with them. Start connecting today, and watch your world become enlarged with opportunities right before your eyes!
- exploring discipleship: integration (shepherds-journey.com)
- A Storm is Brewing – A Devotion (lthomason.wordpress.com)
- The Jesus’ Life (upliftingchrist.wordpress.com)