In 2007, a platoon of soldiers left for a 15-month deployment in Afghanistan. They were headed to outpost Restrepo in the remote Korengal Valley. Named after a brave Army medic who had given his life defending the outpost, Restrepo was considered one of the most dangerous outposts in the entire country. The soldiers stationed there faced constant fire from every side of the base, and due to its location, supplies and ammunition could only be brought in by helicopter. Though the surrounding area was filled with natural beauty, this platoon of men faced horrors on all sides. More than 50 brave soldiers lost their lives defending the outpost.
Would you want to be a part of that? Probably not. “I’d go back there if I could,” said one of the surviving soldiers. What? Go back? While deployed, these soldiers felt a sense of community; they belonged to something larger than themselves. Citizens of the most comfortable society in world history long to be back in the war zone, not for the conditions, but for the community.
Individuals 3,000 miles apart can instantly communicate and share ideas. We are surrounded by each other more now than ever before, yet we face an epidemic of loneliness. Striving for individuality, people believe the lie that association with others isn’t necessary like it used to be. With greater opportunity for connection than ever before, we as a body of believers are unprecedentedly disconnected. Having a strong Biblical community is not a perk of Christianity; it is an essential aspect of our walk. It is true that our walk with Christ is personal and should not be fully reliant on others; however, the community around us must keep us accountable to the faith. Biblical community provides support in times of need and equips Christians to live out the Great Commission.
A wonderful story displaying a biblical community can be found in the book of Job. After Job had all of his comfort taken away, he found himself in a place of great despair. In his darkest time, Job’s community came around him to provide him support. Job’s three friends left their homes and journeyed to him. Job 2:12-13 says,
“When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”
Job had a community around him that was willing to reach out to him in his despair. This passage forces a question on the reader; do you have others in your life that are willing to walk with you and pull you up in times of need? The battles we fight during our time on earth are not meant to be faced alone. Encouragement is fundamental to motivating our brothers and sisters in Christ. Hebrews 10:24-25 states:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Let us strive to establish biblical community. The encouragement and motivation we receive from the Body of Christ practically enables us to live a life according to the Gospel. Like the soldiers at Restrepo, a united force who take on one another’s burdens will stand strong. As David said in Psalms 131:1, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
In a time when community is being devalued, the body of Christ should unite together and display the importance of relationships. The epidemic of loneliness can be combated with the love of Christ that is found in biblical community. Rather than doing this life alone, do it with brothers and sister in Christ who are also in the pursuit of Him.