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Some writers define rugged individualism as self-reliant, self-sufficient, striving to meet one’s needs through personal effort. While this can be a noble value, others point out that unfettered freedom can lead to self-centeredness, crime, violence, and other kinds of selfish behavior. God’s servant Paul weighed in on this. In Galatians 6, he urged God’s people to carry their own load — a warning not to become a leech on others. At the same time, he urges us to recognize our duty toward each other. He said God has fashioned His people in such a way that they need each other. So he urges us to recognize our interdependence and act accordingly. He wrote this in 1 Corinthians 12: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” Paul stresses that God’s Spirit is the source of our unity and He is the source of the power to help us function this way. This principle of interdependence holds, not only within the church, but in society as well. So since God declares that we need each other, we are only deluding ourselves when we attempt to operate independent from each another.

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