And let us consider how we may spur one another
on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- Hebrews 10:24-25
In 2018, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey in which they asked people why they do not attend church. Less than twenty-eight percent of these participants said it was because they were nonbelievers. Most of the people replied that they practiced their religion privately or in their own ways. There was a time when I thought that this was not only possible but acceptable. However, as I became involved with a local church, I realized the truth: the Lord wants us to be a part of the church because He wants what is best for us.
The Lord created us to be social creatures, meaning we are not meant to be alone. This is why He tells us to meet together and encourage one another. I have seen people attempt to live a life without regular involvement in a Christian community, and frequently, in these situations, I witness people picking and choosing when they want to live a Christian life. When we don't have people there to speak truth to us and hold us accountable, it is easy to fall to the ways and beliefs of this world. Sometimes, we will remember the love of Jesus and forget the deadliness of sin. As believers, we are supposed to be corrected and repentant of our sins, and we are not to get used to them. When we are a part of a local church, there are others there to remind and encourage us to follow in the ways of Jesus. There are times where it can be difficult, but it is the most important thing.
Not only does the local church hold believers accountable, but it also grows us spiritually as well. When we hear the word of God, as it is being preached to us, we grow in our faith (Romans 1:14-15). The Holy Spirit works through our pastors to deliver a message. There have been so many times when I think I know a story from the Bible, but when my pastor preaches a sermon on it, I hear it in a different way than when I read it alone. We are meant to learn from each other, and the Lord uses His church to help us in this.
Friend, I want you to hear my heart in this: not only is the church meant to support us, but we are meant to support the church as well. As believers, we are called to use our spiritual gifts in service toward unifying the church. Many times in the Bible, we are told that the church is one body made up of many parts. We were all made uniquely, and therefore, we have different gifts that assist the church in different ways. You need the church, but you are also supposed to serve the Lord through caring for His church.
The church is referred to as the house of God. Of course, churches will come across problems as they are filled with humans in a broken world. We will make mistakes. However, to dismiss and neglect the local church is missing God’s best for you, as the local church is His. He uses the church to make disciples. A church community builds your knowledge of Christ while helping you to obey. He created the local church with intentionality and to be apart of it is what God meant for each of us.
Being a Christian and following Jesus in this world can be difficult, but we are here to help each other. We aren't meant to do it alone. The church I attend has been so encouraging to me. We serve together. We celebrate together. We keep each other accountable and when things get rough we lean on each other. Our worship is supposed to be united. Our prayers are supposed to be united. Our local church is meant to be our family - with God as our Father, and what a good Father He is.
Lord, I thank You for providing the local church to help me grow. I praise You for creating a family that protects my faith and holds me accountable. Your church is filled with so much love, and I am blessed to be a part of it, Amen.
1. Who is someone in your life that you could bring to church?
2. How are you using your spiritual gifts to serve the church?
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