"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching". Hebrews 10:25
The other day I read a survey that was made among Christians who were asked, "What criteria would a church have to meet in order for you to attend it?". The top four questions/answers they gave are:
1) It would have to be a place where I can find friends.
2) Is it a place where I feel free to be myself-- safe from judgment or condemnation?
3) Will being there add value to my life?
4) I want a place where my life matters because I am cared about.
I understand the concerns these people had. We all want to be acknowledged, loved, accepted and find relationships that are genuine. But I noticed there was something missing. Where was Jesus? Everything pointed to "I/Me/My". The answers were all about the individual and satisfying something in them and for them. Yet, that "something" was not of a spiritual nature.
What is our motive behind going to church? Why do we bother to make the effort to go if it is all about what we need and want? Don't get me wrong, I strongly believe in going to church. I believe that this is where we should seek out relationships. As Christians the people we associate with should be of "like precious faith" and we should be "equally yoked" with them. Church is the place for that to happen. But if that is all that church is about, or all it is to you.... then join a club, you can find that there.
The church is suppose to be a place where we can encounter God corporately. Jesus called it a "house of prayer". He called it "His Father's house". It is God's house. It is a place where He is acknowledged. It is a place where we can grow spiritually. It is a place where we can hear the preaching of the Word and be refreshed, exhorted, corrected, instructed and strengthened. It is a place where my spirit man can be ministered to so that I have what I need to be able to go back into the "battlefield" of a sin-sick world and bring hope and life to them. It is a place where I receive encouragement to keep "fighting the good fight", to keep "pressing toward the mark", to keep "running the race". It is a place where I can be embraced by others when the battle has been too hard and I have taken a "hit".
Church is designed by God to be a wonderful place of encouragement, healing and restoration. We should go to church. We should be part of a church. But we should remember that the church is not just another social club or gathering. It is God's house and we should go for the right reason-- Him.
Have a great day. Church is more than a social club.
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