Q. I’m naturally introverted and independent, and enjoy my own company. I am a Christian, but why should I go out of my way to make friends?
A. Many people feel like you do, and resent being “forced” by well-intentioned attempts to get them into friendships or social activities. I can’t pretend to understand your situation but, amongst the many reasons for people being withdrawn, are feelings of insecurity or unworthiness. Add to this the inevitable hurts we all suffer at the hands of others, and you have a case for opting out of the Human Race. Was it Oscar Wilde who said, “The more I know of man, the more I love dogs,”?
Because I feel you’re missing out on aspects of God’s reason for having created you, I offer a few thoughts on your question.
When the Lord saved you, He placed you into the Body of Christ under Jesus’ headship so that you could grow to perform a vital function in His plans. Eph 4:15-16 says that He wants you to be “fitly joined together and compacted” in His Body, the Church, by (your) interaction with every other part of the Body. It goes on to talk about the need of every joint and every part working together effectually to build each other, and the whole Body, up “in love”.
That last phrase brings me to another essential part of God and His plan. God is love and He wants His children to live and operate in love. In John 18:34-35 Jesus commands us to love one another. This, He says, is the distinguishing characteristic of a Christian. Of course, it is not at all possible to either give love, or receive love, from a distance. Loving means adding to, caring for and holding precious another – and a lot more. You need love, I need love, the Church needs love and so does the world. And God has designed you to be a conduit of His love to others and a recipient of His love through others!
When we first come to Christ, our concerns are for ourselves; our needs, our wants, our problems. But as we begin to mature in Him, our focus turns outwards to others. That’s when friendship and fellowship become significant in our lives, the lives of others and the Lord’s heart!
Naturally, this all takes time and effort, and it runs risks. But it’s all more than worth it. Ask the Lord Jesus, Who loved Judas to the very end, even in the face of betrayal. You see, loving others doesn’t only benefit them; it grows you, too – and it thrills the heart of our Father!
Take the risk; slowly if necessary. Break out of the old mould and into God’s purposes for your life. Jesus will be with you all the way!