"Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment." (Proverbs 18:1, ESV).
Dave hated being at church. It wasn’t the music or even the preaching; it was the people.
His wife always wanted him to know other men, but if just shaking their hands in the lobby was awkward, how painful would it be trying to force a friendship? And what good would come of it anyhow? Dave had his experiences and insights he'd gained through time, his code, to guide him through life. So, week after week, small group after small group, Dave avoided believers.
Dave, like many, isolated himself, which the proverb tells us is breaking out against all sound judgment.
The proverb isn’t talking about an introverted or shy person, but a person who willfully withdraws from others. They disengage from community because they do not believe in community. The motive for their withdrawal is clear: to seek their own desire. In other words, when we purposefully withdraw from community we often do so to live by our own code, but this is unwise.
It is precisely in community with other believers we come up against the perspectives and experiences which will challenge us.
It is there, in service or fellowship or worship, that we have a chance to meet and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). If the “average” western Christian engages in a church community — in a worship gathering or small group — twenty or thirty times a year, let us not be average, for we need the community and the community needs us.