We live in the middle of a most beautiful mountain meadow. There are more elk, deer and blue birds than there are neighbors. The neighbors we do have are really great, kind of like neighbors back in the ‘50s, helpful, concerned but not overbearing and making one feel like part of the community.
There are many out this way who love Jesus. There are also many who don’t gather to corporately worship Him. Oh, they have their reasons – they are too drained from being with many people all the work week and need their time off to relax, hike or go off by themselves where they can worship God in His creation.
“Well, the preacher preached something that I don’t think is in the Bible…”
“Did you go and speak with him to see what scripture he was referring to….?”
“No, I am finding a church that is more traditional…”
Then soon this person is not in any fellowship….
Our skies are exceptionally blue, scrolled with puffy white clouds against a backdrop of dark green pines etching the horizon with their ragged beauty. The mountains are snow capped and you will find them in any direction you turn. Wild flowers pop up, a planting of the Lord, in their season. Little critters are born and raised in the ponds, valleys, hillsides and skies. You couldn’t find a more beautiful place to live but the enemy is working in so many out this way.
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (NKJV)
The above scripture is misquoted, rearranged, disregarded. Why would someone choose to avoid the Body of Christ?
There is something so special about corporate worship. Being together and all lifting praises to our King Jesus. What do we miss when we choose not to come to the gathering? We miss refreshment – being refilled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing. We miss renewal – being quickened, challenged and restored. We miss thought provoking questions posed by the speaker, other members of the Body and the Spirit of our Living God giving us things to ponder and help us grow. We miss being used of Him to encouraged or love on someone else who desperately needs a touch that day, using you as His arms extended and His hands reached out. We miss a chance to learn, grow and become more like our most incredible Lord Jesus. We miss seeing the Lord move in powerful, tangible ways to heal, touch and restore individual members of the Body. We miss seeing forgiveness in action through those being made new in Jesus and in the Body as they operate in forgiveness one to another. And I have barely begun to make this list, with the Lord’s help, off the top of my recollected memory.
If you truly love Jesus, why wouldn’t you love His family? No, that family isn’t perfect. This alone should give us all hope, we are learning and growing and we aren’t alone on this pathway. We are not expected to be perfect.
There is freedom in knowing that we are growing along with this family to become more like our older brother. We haven’t arrived yet but are in process, pilgrims on the way. None has arrived, yet. No one expects us to be perfected, nor do we need to have that expectation of any other. There is room to learn and grow and still be loved/loving.
It seems lately that so many have fallen away. The enemy seems to gloat over being able to divide and conquer. Get someone isolated and pretty soon they begin to believe those thoughts that are dropped into their hearts “you are weird, no one else who claims Christ struggles with THAT….” “Boy, are you still battling THIS?” “You can’t go back to the Body until you straighten up in those areas….”
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Which sounds like a better choice?
This is not to chastise anyone but to give a word picture of what it is you are missing, giving up by not “gathering together” with other believers.
You are losing the preciousness of sharing each others laughter, joy and victories and having others step up to help you carry your sorrows when they come. There is a scripture which I cannot find about sharing sorrow cuts it in half and sharing joy doubles that joy. We can only have this when we are around the Body to be able to do that sharing.
It is not that God sits there shaking His finger at those who choose not to meet. It is that He is grieved because He sees how much you are missing that could make your life so much more full, so much less burdensome. When you aren’t fellowshipping Satan basically has your ear and can lay anything on you he would like to. There is no voice of reason to counter balance that voice of condemnation. There is no sanity of sound Body balance to straighten things out for you and give you HOPE. There is no brother or sister saying “I can relate, I went through that myself and this is what our Lord did for me….”
No, this isn’t just living in a mountain meadow surrounded by all God’s beauty. This is warfare AND we can be more than conquerors. We can, but we need to remember to gather with the Body. Our very worship and praise is an integral part of bringing down that stronghold. The question remains, do we want to walk crippled and half able or upright and in VICTORY?
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