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Lonely, But Never Alone

by Chip Brogden
There are many in the Body of Christ who are in transition between “going” to church and “being” the Church. The Lord is speaking to many at once and calling them aside from the traditional church building meeting to gather together in homes.

The more in tune with the Lord we become, the more dissatisfied and uncomfortable we become with what is being said and done in His Name. Yet, there is an uncomfortable pause between where we used to be and where we are called to be. It is a lonely time in which we will be misunderstood by many that have not seen what we have seen.

What God is impressing upon many of us who are in-between the church as a building and the church as a lifestyle is how to walk ALONE. We must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together when we are able to do so; yet God would have us learn to fellowship with Christ, even it means to take the lonely path.

Many times the desire to find other “like-minded believers” is not a spiritual desire. It is rather our emotion, our soul, which longs to be with people who understand us. We must love not our life (Greek: soul life) and be willing to go for a time without the comfort and fellowship of brothers and sisters if God has called us unto Himself. If we simply MUST be in the accompaniment of other brothers and sisters in order to have any sense of Christ then we are not abiding in Him as we ought.

In many parts of the world brothers and sisters in Christ are not able to meet together because of persecution. They would certainly desire to do so if they could, but if they cannot, how will they maintain fellowship and connectivity to the Body if they are unable to gather? Why, they must know Christ as Fellowship. Abiding in Him, connected to the Head, they maintain oneness with the rest of the Body.

Someone will say, “We are not persecuted. We have the freedom to gather together. Should we not take advantage of our liberty as Christians and fellowship at every opportunity?” The answer is yes, we should thank God for our freedom and make the most of it. But my question to you is, what will your spiritual state be like when that liberty is no longer permitted? Have you resources within yourself to stay in your place of abiding in Christ, or is your usefulness to God limited by your ability to fellowship with others? Can you maintain connectivity to the Body when isolated, or will you grow faint and fall away?

Some are able to maintain a sweet spirit so long as they are in fellowship with other believers. But when God allows that fellowship to be interrupted, observe how quickly that sweet spirit turns sour. They will even acknowledge their poor state and say things like, “My temper has become awful. It is because I have been out of church. I must go back this Sunday.” Then they will go back to church, feel uplifted, and the sweet spirit returns. Sadly, this is the experience of a majority of people who have not learned to take Christ as their Life. Is this walking in the Spirit? It is not.

It is true that “whenever two or three are gathered in My Name, there I am.” Praise God for such truth. It is equally true that, “I am with YOU always (singular).” We do not want to be lone ranger Christians who do not seek fellowship with other members of Christ’s Body. At the same time, we cannot allow the absence of such fellowship to make us despondent or depressed, should we be deprived of it. If it causes us to fall away, then perhaps this is the reason God allows us to go through periods of solitude, that we may be reduced to CHRIST as our Fellowship.

When we find ourselves in such a place, let us not be too quick to seek out others until we have reaped the benefits of being alone with God. Let us remember that Christ’s Body is a spiritual Body. Being in the physical presence of other members does not make us more of a member, and being removed from the physical presence of other members does not make us any less a member. Of course the exact opposite is true for those meeting together as an institution; without their physical presence and support they lose place as a member. But not Christ’s Body, the Church. We are not more or less of a member by reason of our physical contact or lack of physical contact with one another.

And again, we may thirst for fellowship not so much to edify the Body as to be edified ourselves – a mindset carried over from when we used to go to church to “be fed” once or twice a week. If this is the case, it is no wonder that God would have us look to Him alone as our Edification and learn to draw upon Him before placing us in close proximity with others. One weakness of the institutional church is that the majority of members are coming to receive, to be edified, to be encouraged, to be fed. It is all “take”, and very little “give”. Hence, there is little Life.

When we learn to draw upon Christ as our Source we will have abundance to give away. Fellowship with others cannot replace our daily abiding in Him. If we gather together in the Name of the Lord, yet outside of Christ, we will have much religious carrying’s on but little Life to impart to one another. God would have us look to His Son as our Life, and as we do we find our need is met. Then, when we gather together, we are givers and not takers, and with all giving out of Christ, we have the blessing we sought.

Let us press into Christ with all our heart, and not be discouraged if we find ourselves temporarily without the fellowship and comfort of our brothers and sisters. Though we are lonely, we are never alone.

28 Comments

  1. Karin

    I’m surprised there are no comments here…Am I the only one who feels this way? I have grown to love the Lord with all my heart, all my strength, and with all my mind more now than ever having not gone to a building in so long….How I yearn though, to break bread with those of the Body, how I yearn to have that fellowship with one another as it was for the early Christians where everybody knew them by their love for one another and nobody had need of anything because they had all things in common. Maybe someday it will come to this again. In the meantime, I abide in Him, breath by breath, as I walk in this world alone.

    Reply
    • Daniel

      Thank you for writing this Karin, it is really encouraging for me to, read that someone else is also yearning for a genuine community of disciples. Every day I set my hope towards Jesus that he will guide me and genuine disciples together, who like you have grown to love the Lord with all their heart and would love to do nothing but ministering to Him.

      Jesus has introduced me to such a disciple here and there, and so my hope has increased and my faith that it can be possible to have such a community as you described so perfectly well: “…fellowship with one another as it was for the early Christians where everybody knew them by their love for one another and nobody had need of anything because they had all things in common.”. And I hope you start finding some people too wherever you are sister.

      Reply
  2. Seble

    Well, I must say that leaving what you refer to as ‘Organized religion’ might not be the answer. True, churches are turning away from the turth of the gospel. But I fear that cutting ourselves off the so called ‘organized religion’ is not the solution. For one thing, we have no right to take the seat of Christ and pass on judgement. Secondly, we may not know for sure how the Lord would use us to refresh his people. Thirdly, we should refrain from generalizing too much. We are dealing with God’s flock. How would you feel if some one were to speak about your child the way we speak about people? Correct me if I am wrong, but it is a fearful thing to label God’s people. I think we should be careful.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Seble:

      You said, “that cutting ourselves off from the ‘organized religion’ is not the solution… that we have no right to take the seat of Christ…”.
      Is it not true that we are indeed seated with Christ in heavenly places, and, if we are to abide in him we CANNOT be where He is not? You might ask if perhaps it is ‘another christ’ that has established himself in the institutionalized church. I too, have struggled with the desire to “not judge”, but what the Lord has shown me is that just as Peter was told not to call ‘unclean’ what the Lord has called ‘clean’, I am likewise not to call ‘clean’ what the Lord has called ‘unclean’. It is not the people to whom I refer it is the “system” that holds these people in bondage.

      Reply
  3. Chip Brogden

    Hi Seble,

    Once more, you are trying to defend something God never established. The key words you use that jump out to me are “fearful, refrain, be careful, don’t judge.” These are the words people use who are under the influence of a spirit of religion. Yes, you are wrong; because not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” really know Him as Lord. Organized Religion does not represent the Lord’s people, it represents a counterfeit. Those with spiritual discernment have an obligation to speak out against a system that keeps God’s people in bondage. To stand by and say nothing when God’s people are suffering under the yoke of bondage to Organized Religion is the most irresponsible, uncaring thing a person could do. We love the people – we hate the system that hurts people.

    Reply
    • Joy

      I totally agree Chip. My church denomination is full of apostasy, religious spirits and heresy and I am evangelical. I am treated like a periah because I have a different spirit ( the real Holy Spiti) not the false. And of course their mantra is “don’t judge.” I don’t have any genuine fellowship, not even my husband or children. I am finding out lately that Christ is my all in all. It has not been easy because I am constantly under attack from the enemy. Finding you Chip and others has been a god send. Thank you Chip for your encouragement and letting me see that I am not alone. Blessings to all of you genuinely in Christ our Savior and Lord.

      Reply
  4. Regina Rice

    I totally agree with you. The Lord told me to come out of the building called church about 7 years ago. He told me forget everything man had taught me that, HE was going to teach me now. I took Him at His word. He has made a believer out of me. When I first came out for about 4 years, some of us met in our homes. But, the Lord had to take that also. If we don’t have a personal relationship (or walk) with Him, then how can we give or recieve to or from the ones we do fellowship with at times. I know my journey with Him alone has taught me how to persevere in my storms. Without that I would not be where I am now. Don’t get me wrong I love to fellowship with true lovers of Him, but my personal relationship with Him is sweet. Thanks for allowing me to share my comment.

    Reply
  5. pat

    This is one of my favorite of your articles, Chip!I’ve experienced times of loneliness several times during my Christian walk. The most profound of these times occured while still in the organized church. In 2000 I moved to NC, leaving behind a NY church which was undergoing “renewal. I began attending another highly active, charasmatic church. In the new church, people kept talking about how awesome “the presence of God was today!” But I felt mothing-nothing at all. During a 4yr, 7mo period of time, I saw my husband develop a relationship with the Lord, and I experienced a wonderful time of social relationships, but in private, I cried out to the Lord, “What’s wrong with me? What did I do that You no longer show Yourself to me?” I’d determined that this was just how it was going to be, and went along, satisfied with my “different” relationship with the Lord. Then one Sunday morning, the associate pastor shared a conversation he had with a person who was experiencing the same thing I was. In the pastors reply to this person, he told him,”The Lord didn’t leave you, He’s taking the world out of you. You’ve been taking entirely too much satisfaction from a form and a fashion…” (the activities of organized religion”) I was speechless-this man read my heart. He shared with the congregation my deepest fears, pleas and cries to God. I spent the next 3 weeks wailing for many hours each day. In learning the answer to my prayers, I’d been broken. When I recovered some, I got up the nerve to call this pastor. During the last 6 years, much has changed. Many of us, including this pastor, were kicked out. The deceipt and venumous behavior of “loving, Godly people” in leadership was intensely frightening. The Lord allowed me to see behind the curtain of organized church and clergy-laity relations. It reminded me of the wizard in The Wizard of Oz… One of the things I’ve learned since then is just how our fallen nature clings for social relationship, which in itself is not bad. But just beware of confusing it with spiritual one-anothering. Don’t leave the organized church to join a home group and expect all is well. Religiosity can still follow and will often creep in unexpectedly. And the worst part of that, is we can foolishly believe we’re free from it, forever letting down our guard. Be thankful for times of loneliness, allowing the Lord’s pruning and dependence on Him only. And be willing to admit when we’ve regressed to our old ways, turning back to the Lord as often as needed. If the Lord has called you, as I believe is the ministry of The School of Christ, speak out against organized church, but examine your motives. How much of what you say comes from unresolved anger and hurt rather than a pure message from God. And understand that you cannot convince someone about this message; you can only love and support the message revealed by the Lord to a persons heart.

    Reply
  6. Roger

    I have shared before that my wife and I have been called out of mans religious system for some 20 years – during that time we have met others who have been out longer, some shorter, and others who are in the process of ‘coming out’. In every case, there has been pain, loneliness, and persecution, as we emerge, not ‘out of church’ and into the world as some would say, but out of mans religious system (Babylon), out of the world (Egypt) and into His Ekklesia and into a relationship with Jesus Christ our Saviour, Lord, Shepherd and King.

    During our 20 years IN His Ekklesia,and as I read the comments of other people after this and the other teachings of Chip’s – I recognise that most are specifically ‘Called Out’ by our God Himself. This is by revelation of who Jesus Christ is, either through the written word (Bible) or the living word (Jesus).

    At the same time there is the ’emerging church’ which seems to have as one of its doctrines the concept that we have waited so long, and Jesus hasn’t returned yet… He isnt coming, we need to save the world ourselves. 2 Peter 3:4 specifically warns of this happening. Maybe those that believe this should read further, down to verses 9-10.

    Be encouraged, Jesus Christ – our Saviour, Lord and King is in control. He loves us and always has – we only need to hear and obey His word to come out of her my people… and His promise of His continued everlasting dwelling with and in us. 2 Cor. 6: 16-18.

    Our prayers are with you Chip and Karla.. you may feel lonely, but you are not alone.

    Reply
  7. Dale

    I agree with Chip, the org. is for man by man I have found more Jesus in reading the Bible than any org. .The org. has never changed any one.THe Bible says that only Jesus can do that . the org. fight with each other ,where did Jesus say that fighting was ok. I know that read,pray more than most org. do .I Love Jesus . Jesus has changed me . I pray that Jesus will help org.to find him.

    Reply
  8. Jade Kennedy

    Its a lonely walk that’s for sure. In search for fellowship I have tried many times in the past 4 years to go back to church and every time I do how quickly I am reminded why I left.

    The trouble is, if I don’t walk closely with Jesus, the loneliness becomes unbearable and I start to indulge the World which, as you know, has a cascading effect. Trust me, it’s humiliating.

    I always thought it was a blessing and a privledge to be called out of today’s ‘church’.

    Thanks Chip for the article, it was very encouraging.

    Reply
    • June

      Well all I can say guys is that it will take more people like Chip to stand against the principalities and the powers within the church system so we need to come out from among them and be seperate
      And stop the demonic fear of what man may think within each one of us
      We are called soldiers of the Lord it’s high time we acted like one

      Reply
  9. Valerie

    Excellent points made here. Very helpful things to consider. I am recently out of the IC (for the 2nd time in 5 years). I would love to be able to say I know without a doubt that the Lord has called me out. The only thing I can say is that I know He has been working on performance related mindsets, rather intensely, in recent months. I want to believe He is trying to lead me to a place of freedom and intimacy I’ve never know. (I believe Lord, help my unbelief). Yet, we’ve heard so much of the gotta do-s that I easily question my separation from the Body. (Although I do not hesitate fellowshiping when He provides an opportunity- so in this respect I have not separated). I want to believe the enemy is relentless when it comes to telling us we will not grow in Christ on this path.

    Reply
  10. Aging Well

    I wouldjust like to thank you, Chip, for your rather refreshing comments and view on organized reigion. I am involved in it, yet, so many times call those who are in it wrong. Is it wrong to correct those that you know are not doing what the Word says? No.
    As G.J. says above, this is no way to win friends but I am not here to win friends but souls for Christ.
    Your commentaries are encouraging and speak the Truth in love.
    Praying for you.

    Reply
  11. Mike

    Chip

    I have been following your articles and email updates for a while and have enjoyed the articles and have been encouraged. We still are not in any local fellowship, how to know when to go back to a church? We have no fellowship still, the only option seems to go back…Its much different here, there is a church on every corner and you are expected to go on Sundays. Welcome to the bible belt.

    Reply
  12. BlancaV

    I am right here -> “The more in tune with the Lord we become, the more dissatisfied and uncomfortable we become with what is being said and done in His Name. Yet, there is an uncomfortable pause between where we used to be and where we are called to be.”

    Reply
    • Beth

      Im right there also!

      Reply
  13. Nkechi Tina Owosekun

    When God called me out, I was always accused of “forsaking the assembling together…..”. But God always told me to give them this reply “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under Law”…Gal 5:18 I am having a beautiful relationship with God outside the church building; Christ has set me free!

    Reply
  14. Beth

    Come out from among them and be seperate …forsake all to follow christ..a lonley road at times but how true, these moments deepen our dependency on christ…

    Reply
  15. Kendall

    Chip, Peace be with you, Like you and Karla, I have not been part of the system for many years. But I am part of Him and it is so great to know The Truth and be made free. The Path is narrow but the company is great. Thanks for all the encouragement.

    Reply
  16. Herold Probert

    What an awe inspiring piece this is. My family and I have been lonely now for the past 4ti 5yrs, But never alone. Getting alone with Christ is the same as finding the narrow way or having experienced the Wilderness. All these have one common trait and that is for us to come to the fullness of who Christ is. And when we escape churchianity and becoming a place for The Lord , “”I in Him,and Him in me”” is when we will perfectly emulate and demonstrate who He is, and what His purpetual purpose actually is. Then He will draw people to you knowing you have one thing in mind and that is that He (Christ) might be glorified, and the fellowship that is born out of this, will be for the better. This s authentic fellowship in The Lord .
    Agape

    Reply
  17. Ruth

    I just LOVE your articles Chip !! You write meat that is needed for spiritual growth and I am pretty much almost in all your articles in some form or another. I left “Church” end of 2011 and my walk with God has grown by leaps and bounds and has been BRUTAL to say the least but I have grown profusely in Jesus Christ and He has become MORE DEAR to me then anything else in this world. I can honestly say with confidence Galatians 2:20…..It is NO LONGER I who lives but Christ who lives in me. What I have walked through would kill a horse. Brutal is an understatement. I KNOW JESUS’ POWER IN MY VESSEL OF CLAY. I HAVE GONE THROUGH HELL THAT I FEEL IN MANY WAYS THE ENEMY HAS TRIED TO TAKE ME OUT…….IT IS A MIRACLE THAT I AM STILL HERE AFTER THE LAST 7 YEARS.

    Reply
    • Chip Brogden

      Keep standing! Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  18. Julianne

    My husband and I never intended to not go to church regularly. After 35 years of consistance involvement of our entire family, then going through very tough things in our family, and getting zero support from our church of 30 years, we clung to Christ, are walking strong with him, and only one daughter is attending and serving at our former church. The rest of us just do not want to be going where there is not basic love and caring. The Word is being well taught, but the behavior and attitudes there are not in line with anything that we understand our Jesus to be. We are home, loving Jesus, loving our family back to health through Christ, with no interest in whatever the church we went to thinks we ought to be going for. “Are you fellowshipping anywhere?” is all they ever ask us when they see us in public. No depth of caring besides, ‘Are we keeping the rules?’ so to speak. It is sad. It would be nice to gather with loving people who want to be Jesus with each other through thick and thin. We have that to offer. But it was and is not being reciprocated, and I find that very hurtful, unhealthy, and not the best place to be placing so much of our family, and personal treasure.
    We are not bitter. There are people we miss. But there is much we don’t miss. I do not want to be anywhere that much with people who are not caring, but are gossiping, judging, and frankly, they do not even seem like we are hearing and walking with the same Jesus. It is odd to me. But we have to live this sweeter walk with Jesus. He was there with and for us. I think those that are His should be too. Or it is best to not invest there.

    Reply
  19. der

    The truth is this, though difficult to swallow for those who wants to follow their their egos.
    Chip, grace be with you.

    Reply
  20. Kenneth E Dawson

    Go into the land that I promised you—But its filled with giants and I am just a grsshopper

    Reply

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