They Like Jesus… But Not His Church


Picking up on some themes from my last post, I’ve been thinking about the idea of “lone wolf” Christians; folks who live the “it’s just me and Jesus” mantra.

The folks who like Jesus—but they don’t like His Church.

In thinking about it, I see the appeal to some degree.

I’m not someone who particularly enjoys spending a great deal of time in groups of people. I get drained easily. I get frustrated with other people when they don’t get it, whatever “it” happens to be.

But I look at it and what really tempts me most about it is…

It appeals to my sense of pride.

Something I’ve been continuing to learn about me is that I’m an extremely prideful person. I generally prefer to think that I’m the smartest kid on the block, and am tempted to think that I don’t need to listen to the counsel of others.

And every time I start getting into those patterns, I get a swift kick in the behind.

That is why I believe Jesus calls all of His people to be a part of His Church. From my own experience, when I’m disconnected from others, I begin acting as though the world revolves around me and I become my own functional savior.

And it’s ridiculous when I do this, because I’m a laughable “god.”

Being part of the local expression of His church, flaws and all, reminds me that it’s not just about me and my “needs” (which usually are just preferences). That there are men who are much wiser and more mature in the faith than I, to whom I would do well to listen. Indeed, Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” That there are also people who can benefit from the few experiences I’ve had as a believer, as I humble myself to actually serve them and not see them as a source of frustration.

But if I were to go it alone, I’d miss out on a crucial part of the Christian life.

And that, to me, is tragic.

Questions to consider:

If you are one who prefers to go it alone—if you like Jesus, but not His Church—how has this impacted your spiritual life? In lone-wolfing it, in what ways have you grown more like Christ?

What prevents you from joyfully being a part of a local church?

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books including the Big Truths Bible Storybook, Epic Devotions, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, and Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World. His next book, published by Lexham Press, will release in Spring 2023.