Odd title, don’t you think? Odd, yet strange. I ask you to stick with me through the end…I want you to get what I’m saying, not stopping halfway and filling in blanks on your own. My hope is this will all make sense by the end…
Let me start with the premise…as followers of Christ…we use “we” way too often, to the point it damages our walk with Him. This is something that has bubbled, wobbled, darted, and fermented in my brain for several months. I thought it’d make it to a post long before now. God, however, had other ideas. The last few weeks, though, it’s a topic that keeps popping up…and seems the time has come to touch on this now.
What do I mean by using “we” too much? I’m referring to the corporate use of we:
We surrender to God
We love the Lord
We witness to others
We serve Him
We need to pray
…and so on.
I can almost hear you wondering what’s wrong with what I just wrote…not much, maybe. See, the problem I’ve noticed…and I’ve been watching a while. Is it’s easy for us to say all of those things…and all of them are okay…except we don’t go deeper. We feel safe in the crowd of “we”…because it doesn’t get personal…it doesn’t get down to “I.” It’s easy to say “we” because there doesn’t have to be a personal commitment behind it, it doesn’t require a personal investment. We can say “we” and not feel the guilt of it not being entirely accurate…for our self individually.
“We” allows for us to keep a distance from getting too up close and personal with our Savior. It allows us to keep Him domesticated, safe, made in our image. That distance allows us to “Kleenex” the Creator…keeping Him on the shelf until we need to pull out one tissue to take care of a problem. In other words, “we” surrender…but “I” keep Him on the back burner. “We witness”, but “I” don’t have to let anyone at work/school know what “I” believe. “We” serve, but “I” don’t have to – or do it at “my” convenience.
Not only does “we” allow that “safe” distance, it also makes the jump to “them” easier. “I’m” okay because “I’m” better than “them”…”we love the Lord”…”they don’t have any fruit.” Somewhere in there the accountability of “I” gets lost in all of the comparisons to “them.” We lose track that it’s not a comparison with each other, it’s measuring up to God’s standard…”them” don’t matter, as far as determining where we’re “at.”
Our walk needs to be “I” focused on Him. Be careful here, it’s not about “me” it’s about Him…but “I” have to be working on it…not “we.” “I” need to be in prayer, listening to Him, learning about Him…not relying on the “we.”
Now, there are times “we” does fit…”we” do get together to pray, to learn, to fellowship. There is a “we” to our walk with Christ…but the health of “we” depends on the health of “I.” When “we” can sing “we love you Lord” and there isn’t a stir at the “I” level, you are at risk of growing distant. Most praise and worship songs have a “we” vibe about them…partly because “we” sing them together…but there’s nothing wrong with changing the “we” to an “I’ or “me” if it fits better from time to time. Maybe not verbally, but in our hearts and heads.
So the point to this is…we do need “we,” I’m not saying to get rid of the word. What I am pointing out is don’t be guilty of the “we” hiding “I.”
Notice in John 15 how Jesus talks about the we (branches) and the I (branch). We are to abide in Him, He in me…”I in him.” That’s up close and personal…the way it should be for all of “us.”
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5, ESV)