I’ve been studying the book of Ephesians for a series that I have been teaching for our college ministry. There has been so many things that God has taught me and challenged me with through this book. This week I’m teaching on the second half of chapter 2 and once again, the gauntlet has been thrown.
One of the things that I have been convicted of is on the whole as the church culture (myself included), we have become to individualistic in our faith. Individualism is value that we hold as Western culture in general, but is it a biblical idea? We even use language like “my personal relationship with God,” as if that was the total end goal. But it seems to me that faith and growth in Christian maturity (biblically) was always more of a joint effort. See, our faith is meant to be personal, but it isn’t meant to be private.
Here is the way that the Apostle Paul writes it:
 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:19-22 ESV)
The thing that i noticed as I read through this was that the growth that is described in this passage happens “together.” I would even submit that it is impossible to become the man/woman of God that he desires for you to be on your own. If we are going to become the people God wants us to be, that is always going to happen in the context of community – never alone. Why? Because we are “being joined together and growing”… and we are being “built together.”I don’t think the importance of this can be overstated.
So, if we are serious about being disciples of Jesus, we need to be serious about community as well. We need to have an understanding that God designed us to walk through life with other people. Those people together are called the church, and as this passage suggests, when that happens, the Spirit of God dwells there! What a great promise.