These two verses jumped off the page to me today:
“Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warm each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” 10:23-24
Sometimes I don’t like going to church on Sunday mornings. Our community meets in houses during the week too, which I occasionally drag my feet to as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love my people. I have great people. But I get bored or even annoyed at the usual routine. Sitting among other Christians, singing songs I know. Hearing a message that might move me, but later that conviction turns into a blurry haze as I slip back into the routine of a new week.
There have been seasons where I’m Mad At The Church and spend Sunday mornings in my Bible, eating a large breakfast at my leisure.
I felt (inappropriately) comforted by the fact that the Hebrews, receiving this letter hundreds of years ago, needed that reminder too. Church baggage ain’t new. I don’t have a cool, edgy reason decent enough to stay home from church, and neither do you.
In other parts of the world, people are huddled together in secret, hovering over smuggled pages of the Bible. Breaking the law of their land to worship the God their country forbids.
So who cares if the music at your church doesn’t cut it for you: God is still worthy to be praised. Have a problem with your leadership? Establish a healthy, godly dialogue about it with them or move on. This is a big topic, with lots of gray area. But the text is clear: don’t neglect meeting together with other Christians. Community is the key to healthy sanctification and spiritual growth.
Attending church but not experiencing community? Invite a couple people over from church to your home for a hot meal. Read a book with a few friends and meet to talk about it. There have been seasons in life where the only spiritual community I had was a weekly phone date with a friend. We prayed, processed and held each other accountable.
We are meant for togetherness. This is where the good stuff happen; the beauty of fellowship is an intricate piece of the gospel.
Do you need to repent of self-righteousness towards a body of believers?
Do you need to ask God for community and find ways to move towards it?