Devotional Series: Can't Do It Alone

A happy woman holding a happy toddler in a flower garden

No More Weeping

Revelation 21 gives us a glimpse of the age to come in which God wipes away every tear. In that age, there will be no more sorrow or weeping. Yet we will not be isolated on some heavenly cloud for all eternity. Rather, we will experience community with God and people in an altogether new way. We won’t even be inclined to “do it alone” because we will be free to flourish in and through our relationships with God and others.

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Two people sitting on a couch holding hands and praying or crying together

Weeping Together

Romans 12:15 urges us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” This verse encourages us to share all of life with our sisters and brothers in Christ. When wonderful things happen in our lives, we need to let others know. And when sad things come upon us, we need to share them as well. As we do, we will experience the extraordinary unity we have in Christ, a unity that is not just theologically essential, but also experientially heartfelt and transformational.

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Three young people jumping up and down on a snow-covered sidewalk

Rejoicing Together

As we experience genuine community with our sisters and brothers in Christ, we’ll share with them in the best times and the worst times. Thus it says in Romans, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” If we’re going to rejoice with others, we need to focus on them, not ourselves. When we have walked with someone through hard times, the joy we feel when good things happen to them is even stronger. 

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A country church with a sunrise in the background

The Danger of Idealizing Christian Community

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once observed that idealism about church can actually hurt real churches. When we value our ideal of Christian community more than Christian community itself, we can miss the gift God wants to give to us. The New Testament reveals many times how hard it can be to get along with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet, God intends for us to live the Christian life in a genuine, committed relationship with others. Often this takes work!

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A number of people's hands linked in a circle

Not Doing It Alone Isn’t Easy

Being part of a gracious, loving Christian community is wonderful. But sometimes it’s also hard to be in relationship with others, even as it’s hard for them to be in relationship with me. We need God’s grace to be patient, to put up with each other, and, when we are wronged, to forgive. 

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A person being baptized in a lake or baptistry by a church leader

The Holy Spirit Brings Us Together, Part 2

When we receive God’s grace through faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit connects us in a deep, lasting way to the community of other Christians. Our unity as Christians isn’t something we create, but rather something created by the Spirit of God in which we live.

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People eating dinner together at a restaurant

The Holy Spirit Brings Us Together, Part 1

A few weeks after the death and resurrection of Jesus, during the Jewish holiday of Pentecost, God filled the followers of Jesus with the Holy Spirit. Because of their witness, over 3,000 people joined the fellowship of Jesus-followers. They didn’t just believe new things and go to church on Sunday. Rather, they became deeply engaged with their sisters and brothers in Christ. Their example of deep and extensive community teaches and challenges us. How might we be more connected to our sisters and brothers in Christ? 

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Scrabble tiles spelling out "I AM WITH YOU"

You’re Never Alone

Before he ascended to Heaven, Jesus promised that he would always be with his disciples. This promise is given to us as well. Jesus is with us always, now through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. This means that no matter how it feels to us, we are never alone. God is with us always, no matter what.

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A closeup of a sculpture of Jesus on the cross

The Aloneness of Jesus

In a way we will never fully understand, Jesus experienced profound aloneness on the cross. Most of his followers had left him alone. And even his Heavenly Father turned his back as Jesus bore the penalty for our sin. Because of what Jesus endured for us, we will not be forsaken by God. We will never be left alone. 

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A crucifix with statues of women at the bottom

Jesus Crucified But Not Completely Alone

As Jesus was crucified, he experienced profound aloneness. But he wasn’t completely alone. Several of his followers – mainly a number of women – stayed with him and even drew near to him as he was daying. This reminds us that we need others with us when we suffer. It also encourages us to be with people in their pain. As it says in Romans, “Weep with those who weep.”

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Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane

Sometimes Jesus Did Not Want to Pray Alone

The example of Jesus teaches us that there are times when it’s good to be alone with the Lord as we pray. His example also reminds us that sometimes we need others with us when we pray. If Jesus wanted to have his friends with him when he prayed in Gethsemane, surely you need similar support when you face great challenges and deep suffering.

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A woman praying in the middle of a field

Praying When You’re Alone

When it comes to discerning God’s guidance for our lives, Scripture teaches us to value corporate discernment as well as times of solitude. Indeed, we need the input and perspective of our sisters and brothers in Christ. And we need times when we can quiet our hearts to hear from the Lord. Both experiences are essential for a full, fruitful, and faithful Christian life.

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People holding hands in prayer

Jesus Prayed That We Don’t Do It Alone

Jesus’s prayer in John 17, with its striking request that all disciples of Jesus be unified, underscores the truth of the “can’t do it alone” principle. It also challenges us to examine our own lives. Are we experiencing in our relationships the unity for which Jesus prayed? Are we helping our church to be more united and less divided? Are we living each day in the reality of the oneness we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ?

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A mom and daughter walking down the road

Jesus Sent Out His Disciples In Pairs, Not Alone

Jesus reinforces the “can’t do it alone” truth of Christian life and work by sending out his disciples “two by two.” He knew that their ministry would be stronger if they served in teams. Thus, as we think about our life and work, we would do well to imitate the “two by two” approach of Jesus, sharing in life and work with partners who will help us to be more effective and resilient in all we do.

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Four people standing with their arms linked watching a sunset

Jesus Didn’t Do Life and Work Alone

As Jesus began his messianic ministry, one of the first things he did was to call people to follow him as his disciples. His example reminds us that we are not meant to do life and work alone. Like Jesus, we need companions and coworkers. 

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