Others are unavoidable. For better or for worse, others are integral to life through relationships and activities requiring engagement in numerous ways and with differing levels of commitment. Christians especially need others! Obviously, the most significant other is Jesus Christ, and it is Jesus who determines the priority of the others in your life. Therefore, the New Testament has many exhortations in relation to “one another.”
Sadly, when others hurt us, the wounds can go deep, and healing can be slow. Trust is crushed, and in a weird twist of human sinfulness, we often become guilty of the painful things we hate the most. Nevertheless, Hebrews 10:23-25 explains why others in your local Church are so important, and especially during those times of deepest pain. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Christians who meet are an expression of God oriented faith, hope, and expectation of Christ’s return, because togetherness is of God.
Therefore, in our meeting together, regardless of format or location, we should give thought to how we encourage one another to honour God through our fellowship. It takes only a little thought to humbly show love and goodness to others. Take note though, sin will entice you to withdraw from God’s appointed others while Christ exhorts you to lean into those others to experience His resources of grace through them. Humility does not look for perfection in others, but for opportunities to serve, and to be as Christ to others (2Co 5:20).
It’s ironic, often those who neglect Christian others, can become quick to complain, gossip, slander, and falsely accuse those who are more faithful than themselves. This is Satan’s work and brings much shame to the testimony of the Church and Christ.
Even with these unpleasant realities, the Holy Spirit continues to dispense His gifts, not for the building up of self, but for the common good of others (1Co 12:4-7). Hebrews 13:16 exhorts us not to neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Your enemy will tell you that you don’t possess enough to share, and you cannot financially afford to share. But he is a liar. Believers have many resources in Christ to share which are unrelated to money. And it is humility that compels the loving desire to share kindness and faith, to share compassion and forgiveness, and to share the riches of God’s Word sacrificially, because this pleases God.
Make no mistake, whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire… (Proverbs 18:1) and is working in opposition to God. Selfishness withdraws, choosing to ignore that we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another (Romans 12:5). While technology is great for distant fellowship, person on person togetherness surpasses technology every time. God has designed us for face-to-face togetherness. Encouragement is so much richer when done in person, and it is humility that looks to create those times of closeness.
As we know so well from Paul’s words in Philippians 2:3, Christ inspired believers are not motivated by selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than themselves. Christ’s humility becomes our humility. Because Christ’s humility is other minded, God gets the glory, others get the blessing, and we get the assurance of faith.