Isolation Killed in Community

Isolation Killed in Community

In John 17 Jesus prays that we may be one as He and the Father are one. I am utterly amazed at how religion and the world system isolates and separates us while Christ calls us to be ONE. I simply refuse to submit and surrender any longer to further isolation. 

Isolated by Isolation

Isolated by Isolation
As men, I know that one of the most common shared realities is our isolation. We are isolated on so many levels. Isolated from one another and isolated from our world. We may have interaction but connection eludes us. Is this relegated to only men? No, I believe women experience this reality too but today I want to talk about the men. 

If you ask most men whether they have a close trusted friend they will say no. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule but as I have walked through this world I have witnessed this more than not. I have had men come to me and say they are alone and lonely. They say, “I don’t have anyone I can go to nor do I have a constant source of brotherhood.” This to me is tragic. Most male friendships are based only on work events or tasks rather than our person. This makes the reality of isolation a living fact. 

Long story short, isolation doesn’t usually lead to health. In actuality being isolated leads to chaos. I watched a quick video the other day from a doctor who discussed his observation that when a human cell is taken out of the body it experiences chaos. The cells of our body thrive in their own connected ecosystem. Each part functions and flourishes in community. One part speaks to another part and this leads to health and without it there is chaos. 

Community and Connection

Community and Connection
In the same way, we individually thrive in community and with connection. Chaos and addiction usually result in separation and isolation. While Christ must be the center and leader of our interactions, isolation typically leads to dysfunction. 

In the last year I have sought to destroy isolation in my life. I have purposed to crush it and seek community. While my solitude is an amazing source of strength and connection with my Savior, this solace is not my only reality. I have learned to seek true connection and unity in a tribe of like-minded believers. It has been life changing and life giving. 

Isolated men simply don’t flourish, they wilt. Addiction and heartache follow men separated from the flock. I have experienced a number of years when I simply got the job done and served as I should but now I am looking to fulfill our calling in John 17—oneness. 

ONE

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
John 17:20-23 NLT

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    • Isolation is my go to word for describing the Pacific NW where I have lived all my life. Relationships seem to exist only in context of organization, i.e., a church friend or neighbor who sees you out on and about scurries away rather than acknowledge the friendship and talk awhile in an unfamiliar surrounding. I’ve locked eyes with a friend in an unfamiliar surrounding, like a grocery store, who when asked about it once back in the familiar place, denied seeing me – despite the clear recognition on their face when we ran into one another, unexpectedly. The PNW tends more that way, than the rural Midwest where we have a 2nd home near family. You can’t cross the street there without someone recognizing you and waving and shouting.

      The Lord impressed me with the scripture “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32). Lift up anything other than Christ, it’s been my experience that it repels because men can’t agree on it. Lift up Christ, we can agree on Him and the small stuff doesn’t matter. With that in mind, sometimes we can keep a relationship on track a little longer by simply redirecting someone who is going off on a tangent – “let’s keep it Jesus focused, please”. But sooner or later someone will have a favorite old bone they just have to gnaw and the fellowship goes off the rails.

      Years ago there was a man who thought he’d found a real friend in me after reading one of my articles on another web site – which because it was presented along with articles from a number of authors on a variety of popular Christian topics, he thought they were all my articles and web site and that I believed all those things. He wrote a lengthy email filled with ‘brother’ and ‘friend’ which were coupled with a number of false assumptions about my beliefs – and in reply I asked “where did you get that idea” because some of what he wrote was very odorous to me (2 Cor. 2:16). A few more emails were exchanged after that and he went from calling me “brother” to “heretic” and “oh you’re one of those!” when I suggested the Lord was continuing to write His Word in the lives of His people (2 Cor. 3:3).

      Sadly, such has been my experience with most Christian men. They are drawn to and gather around something other than Christ. Most of my Christian friends are women which I figure has to do with them knowing how to be a wife where the the ekklesia is the Bride of Christ. Also there are more women than men who are wired like me as feeling, intuitive and perceptive temperament types (Myers-Briggs), and most are comfortable with simply BEing and don’t have to be DOing something all the time like men require. I do have one life-long male friend who is a brother, but we are a thousand miles apart and our relationship is expressed through an occasional phone call and emails. We’ve been friends since our early 20’s – for over 45 years now – and still pick up where we left off whenever we meet.

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