On Our Own
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."– John 3:16
There is great comfort in knowing that we are not alone. As kids, our parents give us comfort by keeping us near to them as the thunder roars and the lightning flashes in a summer thunderstorm. Our teammates are right beside us as we dig down deep to find the guts to push through that last lap after a challenging workout. Our friends and family surround us with love when we deal with the disappointments and trials of life. We often say that there is strength in numbers. One of my favorite sayings is “for the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” There is so much truth in that statement. Each individual member of any team offers some measure of strength to the group. In the same way, we as individuals are made stronger by our teammates around us. This is the same with any group of people, it does not just pertain to a team.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12 we see this same thing in God’s Word, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” We are individual members of the greatest team - God’s team. We know that we are never alone when we are with God. He is always with us - Matthew 28:20 "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Knowing that God is with us through our highest of highs and our lowest of lows should give us great comfort. Just as our parents provide comfort as the stormy winds blow outside the walls of our childhood home, our Heavenly Father shelters us and keeps us safe as we face the fierce storms that sometimes rage through our lives. We are not on our own when we have a relationship with our Father.
Most all of us have experienced the feeling of being a part of some group or team in which we draw strength from our peers. Oftentimes, we share a closer connection with some members of these groups than others. The friend that lives in our neighborhood or likes the same kind of music that we do may become one of our closest “team” members. Regardless of the size of the group or who we feel closest to in the group, we can find comfort in knowing we have those around us who support us in good times and bad. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us the advantage of having such a teammate(s) - “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” There is something special about belonging to this kind of relationship or team. When we belong to such a team, we are not on our own.
It is said that the average adult makes as many as 35,000 conscious decisions each day. Each decision has its consequences, either good or bad. Think about how that translates over the course of a lifetime on earth. Using that number as a basis, an adult will make over 2 million conscious decisions over his (her) adult life. Many of those decisions will be influenced by those around us - which food to order, which movie to go see, or what school to attend. Those closest to us will have a great impact on the things we choose in our daily lives. Unfortunately, we sometimes make decisions solely based on what we think others want us to choose rather than what we really want or what we know is right for us. While many of those 35,000 daily decisions may not have a life-changing impact in the grand scheme of things, sometimes our decisions have long-lasting consequences. It is nice to know we have help from those around us when we need it the most.
The greatest decision we will ever make in our lives will have eternal consequences. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."– John 3:16 Our Creator and Heavenly Father sent His son to Earth to be a living sacrifice for you and me. Because He allowed the blood of Jesus to be shed on the cross at Calvary, our sins are washed away. The salvation we have through the blood of Christ is only ours if we choose to follow Him. He has paid the price for us.
Our personal path to God most likely will not be the same path that our friends or family took. Some give their lives to God in their youth, while others surrender to Him after hundreds of thousands of daily choices are behind them. Regardless of when the decision to accept Christ into our lives as our personal Lord and Savior is made, it is a decision that only we can make - on our own. Friends and family may influence us and show us what a life in Christ looks like, but only as individuals can we confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord. Maybe that is why we are reluctant to take that final step toward Jesus - we know that it is a step we must take on our own. Those who love us and care for us the most will be there beside me, but it is only me who can take that last step to Him.
Lori and I have been married for nearly twenty-three years. Like most couples, I know we will never forget the friends and family who shared that special day with us. Such occasions are made even more special when we are surrounded by loved ones. God brought Lori and I together to share the life He has made possible for us. Yet there was one decision that summer which surpasses even our decision to live our lives together. Earlier that summer, I was baptized into Christ by my soon-to-be father-in-law. I remember so clearly the evening I made the decision to take that final step to Jesus. No one, including me, went to the church building for Bible study that evening expecting me to make the decision I did at that time. But, once I was there, I knew it was time for me to give my life to Him. I could name a list of people who influenced me by the way I saw them living life in such a way that I could see Christ reflected in their daily life. Lori had a profound impact on my walk toward Christ and that influence has continued each day in the twenty-three years since. However, I had to find the courage to take that final step - on my own.
As difficult as it may be to make the decision to surrender our lives to Christ, it is the only decision we will ever make that will save us for eternity. So much is at stake when we consider eternity. Choosing to give our (broken) life to Christ will never be a decision we regret. When living in Him, we can rest easy in the comfort of knowing that we never again have to endure the storms of life on our own.
Father in Heaven, thank you for the comfort we have in knowing that You are always with us. Thank You for blessing us with loved ones who give us strength and help us make the decisions that make our lives better. Help us each and every day to live our lives in such a way that others can see You living in us. Above all, Father, thank You for giving us Your Son as our only hope for an eternity in Heaven with You. In Jesus name,