I love keeping to myself.
My idea of a great morning is composed of one where I can go out on my front porch with a nice cup of soul cleansing coffee and read in peace. I love the cool crisp feeling of the morning air, the gentle quiet that surrounds me, the heat from my purifying life nectar (coffee to normal people), and the peace that stills me. The best part of that experience – solitude.
Unfortunately, those times of absolute peace are seldom had. Life happens. The hustle and bustle of life gets in the way and pervades into my moments of raw happiness. With six college classes, a job, a wife, friends, and church, life tends to get rather overloaded. In these moments the frustration of the day can wear down upon me. During those times, I wish to just cut something out. I ponder the question, “What can I forsake in order to obtain just a few moments of peace?” I will admit, with shame, that often times my mind will consider the thought of cutting out church activity. If I could just maybe not attend one Sunday morning service and slept in and cooked a late breakfast for my beautiful wife that I would be able to obtain the peace that I seek. Perhaps I could skip our midweek connect group. Venture out on a date night and see a movie. Maybe that will free me of my weariness.
But in those moments, I am reminded of a phrase that realigns my thoughts and keep me focused…”one another.”
The phrase “one another” appears 59 times in the New Testament. And if you know anything about studying the bible, you know that repetition is something to be taken into account when reading. 59 times the inspired writers of the bible emphasize the need for the body of believers, the church, to do something or be something for each other. It is apparent that there is a need for us to be together.
There are many who would rather not embrace this truth. Some would prefer to sit at home and “study” for themselves because they believe that they’re not in need of the body of Christ. But in reality, what I hear when someone tells me that they do not have to go to church what I hear is this, “I am stagnant in my faith and I don’t know what to do about it but I refuse to let other people know about it because I am afraid to get over myself because I don’t want to ask for help.” Now that seems harsh. But rejecting the fellowship of the church is something that absolutely blows my mind. And I do acknowledge that some churches, probably many actually, have mistreated others. I get that. I know it is a real thing that happens. But brothers and sisters do not let that be the standard and the expectation that you have of the church.
When the church takes up its intended purpose and embraces what it is meant to be it is something of pure beauty. It is a family that is devoted to one another (Romans 12:10), accepts one another (Romans 15:7), has concern for each other (Romans 15:7), serves another (Galatians 5:13), carries one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), forgives one another (Ephesians 4:32), put one another before themselves (Philippians 2:3), encourages and builds up one another (I Thessalonians 5:11), prays for each other (James 5:16), offers hospitality to one another (I Peter 4:9), and loves one another (I John 3:11).
We need each other. We fool ourselves when we think that we can go through life on our own. God never intended for us to be alone. If you are not connected to a church, find one. Make sure it is a gospel-centered church. You will benefit. The kingdom of God will benefit.
“The church is always ready for you, even when you’re not ready for it.”