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, and the peace that stills me. The best part of this experience – the solitude.
Unfortunately, I am seldom about to enjoy those times of absolute peace. Life happens. The hustle and bustle of our day to day gets in the way and pervades my moments of raw happiness. I currently have six college classes, a job, a wife, friends, and church. Life tends to get rather overloaded for me. In these moments the frustration of the day can weigh 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 I will consider cutting out church activity. If I could just miss one Sunday morning service, sleep in, and cook a late breakfast for my beautiful wife, then maybe I would be able to obtain the peace that I seek. Perhaps I could skip our midweek connect group to venture out on a date night and see a movie. Maybe that would free me from my weariness.
Yet, 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 emphasized 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 in this together.
There are many who would rather not embrace this truth. Some would prefer to sit at home and “study” by themselves because they believe that they’re not in need of the Body of Christ. In reality, what I hear when someone tells me that they do not have to go to church is, “I am stagnant in my faith. I don’t know what to do about it, but I refuse to let other people know about it.”
Now that may seem harsh, but rejecting the fellowship of the Church is something that absolutely blows my mind. I do readily acknowledge that some churches, perhaps many, have mistreated others. I get it, and I know it really 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 one 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 (1 Thessalonians 5:11), prays for each other (James 5:16), offers hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9), and loves one another (1 John 3:11). We need each other. We fool ourselves when we think that we can go through this 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 church.”